“I play a companion. This is in a time when prostitution is legal. There are not so many taboos to it. She's very classy, more along the lines of a geisha. She's very trained in the arts, in languages and the instruments. She can sword fight and everything. It's just incredible. She's a great character. I learn things every day with her. She's very versatile in languages.” Morena Baccarin (on her character Inara in “Firefly”)
Morena Baccarin was popular among TV viewers as the high-class call girl Inara Serra in the Joss Whedon cult favorite, short-lived sci-fi TV series “Firefly” (Fox; 2002-2003) and its movie spin-off, “Serenity" (2005). She played roles in the films "Perfume" (2001) and "Way Off Broadway," as well as appeared in such show as "Justice League Unlimited," "The O.C.," "Stargate SG-1" (played the adult version of Adria), and the short-lived medical drama "Heartland."
The 5' 7½" screen star with exotic beauty, captivating eyes and a regal yet sensual presence, is the daughter of well known Brazilian stage and TV actress Vera Setta. She was born in Brazil and was raised in Greenwich Village, in New York.
"I would love to work with a really great director. I've been blessed because every project I've done has been fun and pretty challenging so far. I'd like to do something like a movie version of a Shakespearean play, something I could really sink my teeth into." Morena Baccarin
Born in Brazil
Childhood and Family:
“My mom is an actress in Brazil. She’s pretty famous now, especially with 'The Vagina Monologues,' which she’s been doing there for two years now. It’s huge there. My dad is a news editor for Brazilian television. I have a younger brother who’s not an actor, thank God. He’s in college right now in New York, studying graphic design, graphic arts and sculpting. He’s quite an artist.” Morena Baccarin
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 2, 1979, Morena Baccarin (Morena means "brunette" or "tawny" in Portuguese) moved with her family at age 10 to Greenwich Village, New York, in the United States. Her father works as a news editor for a television company and her mother is well known Brazilian stage and TV actress Vera Setta. She has a younger brother who lives in New York.
Morena attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, in New York, and was accepted to the prestigious Juilliard School where she became one of the subjects of the PBS American Masters series on the school.
Morena enjoys cooking and loves reading Shakespeare and watching older movies such as “Casablanca.” She splits her time between New York and Los Angeles, depending where she is working.
“I love reading. I’m an avid reader; poetry, fiction, non-fiction. I just finished reading 'Guns, Germs, and Steel,' which is basically the history of the world the past 13,000 years. It was so interesting. I love movies, especially old movies because it seems those old movies you can learn so much, not only about generations, but about acting also.” Morena Baccarin
Way Off Broadway
“My mom acts, as does my uncle, so I've always been around the theater. I thought that was what everybody did for a living! I considered being a photographer, but when we moved from Brazil to New York, I went to [New York City's] LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts. I got accepted to study for drama and got bitten by the bug. My family was super encouraging. It's usually the opposite. Whenever kids tell their parents they want to go into acting their parents are like, 'No.' My mom was like, 'Yay!'” Morena Baccarin
Born into a family working in show business, Morena Baccarin initially planned to be a professional photographer but later followed in her family tracks after being bitten by the acting bug while studying at the LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts. She was then accepted at the prestigious Juilliard School, where she became one of the subjects of the PBS American Masters series on the school.
While studying at Juilliard, Baccarin also appeared in various stage productions, including William Shakespeare's comedy "Love's Labours Lost" and Oscar Wilde's comedy "The Importance of Being Earnest." Additionally, she was Natalie Portman's understudy in the acclaimed Central Park production of Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull," with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. On working with Portman, Baccarin recalled, “We chatted some. She’s a very, very nice, very smart girl. She’s got a great heart. She’s a foster mom for dogs before they get adopted, so sometimes I would baby-sit the dogs while she was on stage.”
The newcomer made her feature debut in directors Michael Rymer and Hunter Carson’s comedy “Perfume” (2001), alongside Paul Sorvino, Jeff Goldblum and Carmen Electra. That same year, she played a lead role as an aspiring actress in writer/director Daniel Kay's film festival hit ensemble “Way Off-Broadway” (2001; opposite Brad Beyer), which won her the Best Actress award at the Wine Country Film Festival.
After playing a tiny part as a girl in a bar in writer/director Dylan Kidd's comedy "Roger Dodger" (2002; starring Campbell Scott and Jesse Eisenberg), Baccarin landed her first ongoing television role in “Firefly,” in which she played the beautiful Inara Serra. She recalled, “I was here in L.A. looking desperately for a job. I was sick of being unemployed in New York. I'd been here a week when my agents called me and said that Rebecca Gayheart just dropped out of this pilot. The producers were desperate to find somebody since they had already started shooting. It didn't sound like something I'd want to do, but my agents said to take a look at the script because Joss Whedon is a great guy. So I went in, auditioned that very day, and met Joss. I thought, 'Wow, this guy is really, really cool. I would work with him doing anything.' From there, I tested the next day and I started working the day after. It was so fast.”
Premiering on the FOX network on September 20, 2002, “Firefly” was canceled after eleven of the fourteen produced episodes were aired. Despite its relatively short life span, “Firefly” received strong DVD sales and had impressive fan support campaigns. It also won an Emmy in 2003 for "Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series." This led the series' creator, Joss Whedon, to produce a film based on the series titled “Serenity,” in which Baccarin reprised her role as Inara. The film was released in North America on September 30, 2005, by Universal Pictures.
Baccarin also co-starred with Jensen Ackles on Fox's drama series “Still Life,” which unfortunately was canceled before it even aired. She also appeared in multiple episodes of Cartoon Network's animated series "Justice League" (she provided the voice for Black Canary) and Fox's teen drama series "The O.C."
From 2006 to 2007, Baccarin played the adult version of Adria in the tenth season of the sci-fi series “Stargate SG-1.” She will also reprise her role in the upcoming movie, “Stargate: The Ark of Truth.” Baccarin said, “I had heard of 'Stargate' the movie and heard of both 'Stargate” series, but never had watched them. So when they offered me the part, I had to do a little bit of homework.”
During her “Stargate” stint, Baccarin was spotted as a guest in an episode of Fox's short-lived sitcom based on the book of the same name, “Kitchen Confidential,” CBS’ sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” Fox's legal-themed show “Justice,” and NBC’s dramatic comedy series “Las Vegas.”
Recently, in 2007, Baccarin co-starred with Adam Baldwin in the made-for-television movie “Sands of Oblivion.” She also played Nurse Jessica Kivala on TNT’s medical drama “Heartland,” alongside Treat Williams. Premiering on June 18, 2007, the show was canceled on August 31, 2007, because of disappointing ratings.
When asked about what drew her to do “Heartland,” Baccarin revealed, “The hunger in my belly from not working. [Laughs] No, that wasn’t it. I had read the script and I was a big fan of David Hollander’s from 'The Guardian.' The script was so beautiful and I was so excited to go audition for it, and then I was lucky enough to get the job.”
Wine Country Film Festival: Best Actress, "Way Off Broadway," 2001