Personal Velocity: Three Portraits
“I hope that as I build a body of work, that tendency to connect me with my father in particular will diminish. Already, it varies from country to country. In Britain, my father was very important. Not that he wasn't in the States, but somehow, it seems to matter more here.” Rebecca Miller
American film director and screenwriter Rebecca Miller is best known for her work in “Personal Velocity: Three Portraits” (2002), for which she picked up the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award and the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, among other awards and nominations. Miller's other film credits include “Angela” (1995), “The Ballad of Jack and Rose” (2005) and “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee” (2009). She also wrote the film adaptation of David Auburn's “Proof” (2005). Miller began her career as a painter and sculptor after graduating from Yale and transformed to become an actress in the late 1980s, with performances in such films as “Regarding Henry” (1991), “Wind” (1992), “Consenting Adults” (1992), “Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle” (1994) and “Love Affair” (1994). Since 1995, she has focused on directing and writing.
Miller is married to actor Daniel Day-Lewis and has two sons.
Childhood and Family:
Rebecca Augusta Miller was born on September 15, 1962, in Roxbury, Connecticut, to playwright Arthur Miller (died in 2005), famous for writing the awards winning plays like “All My Sons,” “Death of a Salesman” and “The Crucible,” and photographer Inge Morath (died in 2002). Her younger brother Daniel was born in 1966 with Down Syndrome and was placed in an institution shortly after his birth. She also has two older half siblings, Robert Arthur Miller and Jane Ellen Miller, from his father's first marriage to Mary Slattery. Rebecca attended Choate Rosemary Hall. In 1984, she graduated from Yale University with a BA in Art.
On November 13, 1996, Rebecca married British actor Daniel Day-Lewis (born April 29, 1957), whom she met at her father's house while the two men were preparing the film adaptation of Miller's play “The Crucible.” The couple welcomed their first child, son Ronan Cal, on June 14, 1998. Their second son, Cashel Blake Day-Lewis, was born in May 2002.
Rebecca Miller started her career as a painter and sculptor at Yale and exhibited her outputs in several galleries before she was bitten by the acting bug. In 1988, she made her professional acting debut as Lucille Frank in the NBC television miniseries “The Murder of Mary Phagan,” starring Jack Lemmon, Richard Jordan and Robert Prosky. The same year, she also performed in the Brooklyn Academy of Music production of Chekhov's “The Cherry Orchard.”
Miller made her feature films bow in the award winning drama/thriller “Seven Minutes” (1989), where she starred as Anneliese. Co-stars in the film included Klaus Maria Brandauer and Brian Dennehy. In 1991, she resurfaced as Linda in the Mike Nichols directed drama “Regarding Henry,” starring Harrison Ford and Annette Bening. It was followed by a supporting role in “Wind” (1992), a drama film directed by Carroll Ballard and starring Matthew Modine, Jennifer Grey, and Cliff Robertson, and a significant turn as Kevin Spacey’s wife on the thriller film “Consenting Adults” (1992), by director/producer Alan J. Pakula. She also played Carrie in Paul Mazursky's “The Pickle” (1993), starring Danny Aiello, Dyan Cannon and Clotilde Courau, Edie in the television movie version of her father's play “ The American Clock” (TNT, 1993), starring Darren McGavin, David Strathairn and Felton Perry, Neysa McMein in Alan Rudolph's “Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle” (1994), and a receptionist in Glenn Gordon Caron's “Love Affair” (1994), starring Warren Beatty, Annette Bening and Katharine Hepburn, before she quit acting to focus on directing and writing.
Miller made her debut as director and writer with the short film “Florence” (1990), about a woman with amnesia, starring Marcia Gay Harden in the title role. The film attracted the attention of the Cincinatti Ensemble Theater, who then hired her to helm a revival of her father's play, “After the Fall” (1992).
Eventually, Miller branched out to features with “ Angela,” which she wrote and directed. Starring Miranda Rhyne, Charlotte Eve Blythe and Anna Levine, the drama won Filmmakers Trophyfor Dramatic and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. It also brought Miller the Open Palm Award from the 1995 Gotham Awards and the Silver Raven from the 1996 Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film.
In 2002, Miller helmed and wrote the independent film “Personal Velocity: Three Portraits,” which is adapted from her short stories. Starring Kyra Sedgwick, Parker Posey and Fairuza Balk, the drama/romance won Grand Jury Prize at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, the John Cassavetes Award at the 2003 Independent Spirit Awards as well as the People's Choice Award and Special Prize of the Jury at the 2003 Istanbul International Film Festival. It grossed $811,299 against a budget of $125,000.
In 2005, Miller directed and wrote the drama film “The Ballad of Jack and Rose,” starring husband Daniel Day-Lewis, Camilla Belle, Catherine Keener and Paul Dano. The film earned her a Golden Star nomination at the 2005 Marrakech International Film Festival and a Grand Special Prize nomination at the 2005 Deauville Film Festival. “The Ballad of Jack and Rose” grossed $712,275 domestically and merely $916,051 worldwide. The same year, Miller also scripted the film adaptation of David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize winning play “Proof.” The film was directed by John Madden and starred Anthony Hopkins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Hope Davis.
In 2009, Miller wrote and directed the drama film “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee,” which is based on her novel of the same name. It starred Robin Wright Penn, Blake Lively, Keanu Reeves, Monica Bellucci, Julianne Moore, Maria Bello, Alan Arkin and Winona Ryder.
Independent Spirit: John Cassavetes Award, “Personal Velocity: Three Portraits,” 2003
Istanbul International Film Festival: People's Choice Award, International Competition, “Personal Velocity: Three Portraits,” 2003
Istanbul International Film Festival: Special Prize of the Jury, International Competition, “Personal Velocity: Three Portraits,” 2003
Sundance Film Festival: Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic, “Personal Velocity: Three Portraits,” 2002
Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film: Silver Raven, “ Angela,” 1996
Gotham: Open Palm Award, “Angela,” 1995
Sundance Film Festival: Filmmakers Trophy, Dramatic, “Angela,” 1995