Verena Ruth Papadakis (born May 18, 1988) is a Canadian American actress. She is known for starring in the critically acclaimed independent film Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), for which she was nominated for a number of film festival awards, as well as for playing complex characters in psychological thrillers such as Red Lights (2012), Stoker (2013), and The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015), and for her role as Wanda Maximoff in Avengers: Age of Ultron and the upcoming Captain America: Civil War.EARLY LIFE
Papadakis was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to Anthony Papadakis (b. 1958), an endocrinologist, and Diane Papadakis Mitchell (née Moreau, b. 1961), an art historian. She has an older sister, Tara Papadakis, an emergency medicine physician in Toronto. Her parents are divorced. She has an older step-sister, Kate Mitchell, from her mother's second marriage to Alastair Mitchell (b. 1955), and a younger half-brother, Nicholas Papadakis, from her father's second marriage to Isabelle Thompson (b. 1967). Papadakis has Greek ancestry on her father's side and French, Romanian, and Ukrainian ancestry on her mother's side.
As a child, Papadakis was raised in Winnipeg until the age of 7 when her parents divorced. Papadakis and her sister moved with their mother to Woodbury, Minnesota, but often spent holidays and summers visiting their father in Winnipeg. During her childhood, she trained in ballet starting from the age of three to fifteen and modeled as a teen, appearing in catalogs for Macy's, J.C. Penney, and Eddie Bauer. She also appeared in commercials and attended the Harand Camp of the Theatre Arts at Lake Michigan, Wisconson. In 2001, she moved with her family to Palo Alto, California following her mother's marriage to Alastair Mitchell, an attorney.
She attended Palo Alto High School. Following graduation in 2006, she enrolled at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts to pursue a career as a professional actor. While attending NYU, she spent a semester studying in Berlin through a program NYU offers in partnership with the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Berlin University of the Arts, and Berlin Schaubuhne. Papadakis graduated with a B.A. in Drama in 2011.CAREER
Papadakis became interested in acting at a young age and auditioned for roles in such films as Annie (1999), How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Spy Kids. When she was 11, she cast in her first role in the second part of the three-part season 7 premiere of the Canadian children's horror anthology television series Are You Afraid of the Dark?. Her character had one scene and spoke no lines of dialogue. She also provided various voices for the Canadian animated series Mattimeo: A Tale of Redwall.
While in high school, Papadakis made her feature film debut playing the role of Nicole Carol Miller in the 2006 film United 93. She was later offered a role in 2007's The Secret, a remake of the Japanese film Himitsu, about a mother who wakes up after being injured in a car accident to find that her spirit has migrated to the body of her unconscious daughter, and a role in David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises (2007) playing Tatiana, a teenager who dies during childbirth before the film begins and narrates the story through her diary.
Her breakout role was in the 2011 independent film Martha Marcy May Marlene, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Papadakis plays a young woman who escapes from a cult in the Catskill Mountains and struggles to adjust to normal life while battling delusions and paranoia after returning to her family. The film and her performance were critically acclaimed. She won a Best Actress Award from the Vancouver Film Critics Circle, a New Generation Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the Most Promising Performer Award from the Chicago Film Critics Association, and was nominated for a number of other awards.
Papadakis has stated that she is drawn to psychologically complex and troubled characters and enjoys films that make the audience feel unnerved and uncomfortable. She continued to work with Canadian director David Cronenberg, whom she credits as a mentor and the person to whom she owes her career, appearing in supporting roles in A Dangerous Method (2011), Cosmopolis (2012), and Maps to the Stars (2014). In November 2013, it was announced that she was cast in the role of Scarlet Witch in Marvel's Avengers franchise.PERSONAL LIFE
Papadakis was raised Jewish by her mother, who is French by birth and became a Canadian citizen as an adult but is of Romanian and Ukrainian ancestry. Her father belongs to the Greek Orthodox church. She describes herself as culturally Jewish but more spiritual than religious, and has stated that she observes both traditionally Jewish and Christian holidays but views them as a way to celebrate community and togetherness rather than as an expression of religious belief.
Her mother Diane was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 but is in complete remission as of September 2010. Papadakis has participated in the annual Revlon Run/Walk since 2009 and has worked with the charity Stand Up to Cancer to raise funds for cancer research. She has said that the experience has made her more health-conscious and better at taking care of herself.
She practices Ashtanga yoga and lives in Greenwich Village, New York City.
FILMOGRAPHY 2016 / hhhh ... Mia Wasikowska's role 2016 / captain america: civil war ... Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch 2015 / the stanford prison experiment ... Dr. Christina Maslach 2015 / avengers: age of ultron ... Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch 2014 / maps to the stars ... Agatha Weiss 2014 / captain america: the winter soldier ... Wanda Maximoff (uncredited) 2013 / oldboy ... Marie Sebastian 2013 / the east ... Izzy 2013 / stoker ... India Stoker 2012 / cosmopolis ... Elise Shifrin 2012 / red lights ... Sally Owen 2011 / a dangerous method ... Emma Jung 2011 / martha marcy may marlene ... Martha 2010 / the social network ... Amelia Ritter 2008 / new york, i love you ... Actress (Segment "Brett Ratner") 2007 / eastern promises ... Tatiana (voice) 2007 / the secret ... Samantha Marris 2006 / united 93 ... Nicole Carol Miller 2000 / "mattimeo: a tale of redwall" (TV) ... Cynthia Vole / Tess Churchmouse / mouse slave (voice, 13 episodes) 2000 / "are you afraid of the dark?" (TV) ... Peggy Gregory (1 episode)