Mia Sara: A Biography / By Chris Davis
Mia Sara: A Biography / Jude
Date of birth (location): 1967 or 1968 (Brooklyn, NY)
In an interview that occurred shortly after the release of the movie Timecop, Mia told the reporter
that her true surname is Sara. However, I received information from Andrew Chen, who grew up
in Brooklyn, which indicates Mia actually shortened her last name. Her true name was Mia
Sarapochiello, according to Marj Kleinman, who also noted that Mia has a younger sister named Cassie. Mia attended St. Ann's School in Brooklyn for elementary and high school. She graduated from high school there in 1985. Mia's father is a photographer and her mother is a stylist. Her parents separated around the time she began acting professionally.
Mia began her professional acting career by appearing in commercials at the age of 13 or 14. While
she was attending high school, she also did some acting. Mia appeared in a school production of A
Midsummer Night's Dream, playing the part of Helena. Andrew Rogers provided me with
information that Mia was accepted for admission to Barnard College, part of Columbia University,
after she graduated from high school. She deferred her acceptance, presumably to continue
pursuing her acting career.
Around the end of 1994, Mia was living in Los Angeles with her then fiance, actor-producer
Clayton Rohner. Rohner also had a role in the film Caroline at Midnight and I would guess
that they met during the filming of this movie. Mia is now married, but not to Clayton Rohner. She
recently married actor Jason Connery, who appeared in the big screen film Robin of Sherwood.
It must be interesting having Sean Connery for a father-in-law.
Mia has two Wheaton terriers. Her hobbies include reading and flying. Sometime around the
filming of Timecop (probably after), Mia took flight training and received her private pilot's
license. Everyone who'd like to go for a ride, raise your hand!
Mia Sara: A Biography / By Jude.
MIA SARA (nee Sarapocciello) was born in the spring of 1968 to a photographer father and a stylist mother. Her parents divorced several years later, shortly after the birth of her younger sister, Cassie. The girls were raised by their mother in Brooklyn Heights, NY. In an attempt to cure her childhood shyness ("I was always 'foot-in-mouth-Mia,'") and also to earn pocket money, Mia began acting professionally at the age of fourteen. Television commercials, and a summer stint on ALL MY CHILDREN soon followed.
While attending the prestigious St Ann's High School, she found time to act in school productions as well, starring as 'Helena' in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, and as 'Juliet' in ROMEO AND JULIET. She even tried her hand at singing, for a tribute to Noel Coward entitled DEAR NOEL. These experiences with live theatre were fun, but marred by a nasty side effect: "I have terrible stage fright," she admitted in a 1985 interview. "Really horrible stage fright. That's something I have to overcome."
At sixteen, Mia won her first feature starring role, debuting as 'Princess Lili' in Ridley Scott's fairy tale adventure, LEGEND. According to Mia's own account, "I read half a poem for Ridley Scott and that was my audition." If only production could have been that simple. Due to the usual problems and delays that arise when making a special effects film, as well as a fire that destroyed most of the huge forest set, Mia spent nearly eight months in London filming LEGEND. "I haven't had any formal education as an actress," she told Harper's Bazaar in 1986. "So to make up for it I've had to work tremendously hard. The eight months we spent filming LEGEND were grueling for me -- I was still just a high school kid."
Once she returned home, readjusting to school life after almost a year of being treated as a working adult was difficult. Equally hard was the process of applying to colleges -- her classmates were in the middle of applications and interviews, and Mia had only two weeks to get everything done. She was accepted to Barnard University, but deferred matriculation for a year to make FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, which she called in the film's presskit "one of the best scripts" she had ever read. The biggest comedy hit of 1986, FERRIS BUELLER remains her most popular and succesful film to date, and by her own admission, 'Sloane Peterson' is the role for which she is best remembered.
Despite already starring in two big budget films before the age of eighteen, Mia's choice of a career was by no means decided. "Writing is my ultimate ambition," she said at the time. "I respect it above all. I didn't strive to be a performer. It's come so easily for me. In some ways I feel guilty about that. On the other hand, I enjoy it precisely because I'm not consumed by it." Explaining away her quick success with the modest "I'm just very very very very lucky," she also allowed that "I don't know whether I'm enjoying being an actress or not. I worry all the time. I worry about not getting work."
Her worries were quickly alleviated, and the following year she shelved college plans permanently, after beating out 75 other hopefuls to win the title role in the 5-hour miniseries QUEENIE. Loosely based on the life of Merle Oberon, QUEENIE also starred Kirk Douglas and Claire Bloom. Shooting on location in Europe and India for five months, the workload was grueling, and Mia appeared in nearly every scene of the film. Stress led to migraine headaches and stomach problems, but she was never less than professional on the set. "The pressure on her is terrible," director Larry Peerce told TV Guide during production. "She's a very fragile girl. Yet she seems to take it all in her stride."
Unfortunately, although QUEENIE was a ratings success, it didn't lead to substantial movie offers. She continued to work steadily, but the roles she was getting (often in straight-to-video fare) mostly required her to play "the girl." In other words, look pretty and say little. But better roles were hard to come by, particularly for an actress based on the east coast -- three thousand miles from Hollywood. Although Mia had always steadfastly maintained that she would never abandon New York for California ("I detest it," she told Elle Magazine in 1987. "It's the ugliest place in the world. It has no sould, no character and no class."), she ultimately packed her bags, sold her apartment and headed west in 1989.
Soon after relocating, her second miniseries, Judith Krantz's TILL WE MEET AGAIN, aired on CBS. Another splashy soaper, this time Mia played a supporting part, working with future "friend" Courtenay Cox, and the up and coming Hugh Grant. Although she did the best she could with the somewhat over the top role of 'Delphine,' reviews for her work were similar to this quote from Variety: "Mia Sara, looking smashing, poses nicely." Determined to hold out for a role she could really sink her teeth into, Mia took up tennis, did some traveling, and bided her time waiting for a good script. Her goal, she told a reporter in 1988, was to work with "very established, very respected directors... I'd like to play someone realistic for once ... A smaller scope, but more defined."
She found just what she was looking for in Sidney Lumet's A STRANGER AMONG US. Set in Mia's hometown of Brooklyn, STRANGER starred Melanie Griffith as a tough-as-nails cop working undercover to solve the murder of a Hassidic diamond merchant. Mia, in a real departure for her, played a sheltered young Jewish woman who befriends Griffith. Mia admits that she had to campaign hard for the part of 'Leah,' but felt it was more than worth it. Despite its failure at the boxoffice, Mia has said more than once that it is the film of which she is the most proud.
Around this time, Mia began studying with famed acting teacher Roy London, who prior to his death several years ago, included among his clients Michelle Pfeiffer and Sharon Stone. As Mia told The Los Angeles Times in 1995, "I've been really studyiong hard these past few years, trying to learn more about acting, and I've been getting better. I've been getting looser."
She got a chance to test her new found acting chops in a two episode arc on the popular CBS television series CHICAGO HOPE. Starring as 'Annie,' a post-operative transsexual, Mia struggled to build a relationship with resident 'Dr. Billy Kronk.' His inability to forget that she had once been a man (and the high scorer in their pee-wee hockey league) ended the love affair. Her character returned the next season, suffering from physical problems associated with her hormone therapy. Told that she faced death if she continued to take estrogen, 'Annie' committed suicide.
Of Mia's more recent theatrical efforts, Peter Hyam's TIMECOP, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, has been the most successful, debuting at the top of the boxoffice the week it was released. Working in an action movie apparently gave Mia some added confidence in her own physical abilities, and she took up flying, earning her pilot's license shortly after the movie wrapped. In interviews given during that time, Mia was always quick to mention her fiancee, actor/producer Clayton Rohner (whom she had met during production if the straight-to-video flick CAROLINE AT MIDNIGHT), as well as flash the sizable rock on the third finger of her left hand. The Los Angeles Times described theirs as a "very un-Hollywood lifestyle," living in a Hancock Park fixer-upper with two wheaton terriers. This homelife situation changed drastically, however, during the filming of BULLET TO BEIJING in Russia. Mia, who once described herself as a "raging Anglophile," had fallen for her co-star, Englishman Jason Connery (son of Sean). The two were married in Las Vegas in early 1996.*
*Mia Sara fan, Andrew Rogers would like to add that while searching the usenet on Alta Vista he found a posting on soc.culture.scottish noting that Jason Connery has been selected to play the lead in (yet another remake of) Hamlet. The string said Connery's major regret was that he'd be away from his new wife Mia, "whom he married at a drive-in chapel in Las Vegas in March.