More Monica Bellucci Bios & Profiles
Biography #2 (for The Passion of the Christ)Monica Bellucci first attracted international attention in the US with her sizzling performance as Malena, the beautiful young widow who turns a small Italian village upside down in the 2000 film Malena by Giuseppe Tomatore. But at that point Bellucci had already been a major star in Europe for several years, a great beauty whose depth as a performer was well known. In fact she was celebrated as a female icon years before she began performing, launching a successful career as a model while still a pre-law student at the University of Perugia. Her slinky black & white TV commercial for Dolce & Gabbana stimulated pulse rates around the world.
In 1990, director/producer Dino Risi offered Bellucci a leading role in the Italian television series Vita Coi Figh (Life With Sons), opposite Giancarlo Giannini. She made her feature film debut in Francesco Laudadio's La Rya (1991), and from then on she was rarely referred to as a model turned actress. Her performance in the 1996 French thriller The Apartment (1996) established her as a full-fledged film star and earned her a nomination for a Cesar award, the French equivalent of the Oscar.
Almost from the beginning Monica Bellucci has attracted the attention of international filmmakers. Francis Ford Coppola gave her a small role as one of the seductive Brides of Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), and she appeared with Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman in Stephen Hopkins's Under Suspicion (2000) and in the French martial arts/horror sensation Le Pacte des Loups (Brotherhood of the Wolo, produced by Luc Besson. She has made a point of ignoring traditional distinctions between the art house and commercial career tracks for performers, appearing in 2003 in both Gaspar Noes transgressive shocker Irreversible (2003) and opposite Bruce Willis in Antoine Fuqua's action adventure film Tears of the Sun.
Monica Bellucci's iconic significance increased exponentially in 2003 with her back-to-back appearances as the cyber goddess Persephone in the Wachowski Brothers's The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.
Biography #3 (for Tears of the Sun)Monica Bellucci is the alluring European star now commanding attention on the international scene for her work in such films as Giuseppe Tornatore's Oscar-nominated Malena and Christophe Gans' French boxoffice sensation The Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte des Loups), the latter opposite her husband, French actor Vincent Cassel.
Bellucci grew up in the Umbrian town of Citta di Castello, idolizing such global cinema icons as Sophia Loren, Anna Magnani, Gina Lollabrigida and Claudia Cardinale. Her own ascent to stardom began in Milan, where she was studying law when a friend urged her to try modeling. The vocation proved lucrative for Bellucci and took her from her university studies to work as an actress in the telefilm Vita Coi Figli, a role she won after director Dino Risi saw her photo in a magazine.
She also captured the attention of director Francis Ford Coppola who cast Bellucci in her first American role, as one of Dracula's brides, in his 1992 adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula. She returned to Italy and appeared in numerous films (IL Cielo è Sempre Più Blu, Palla di Neve and I Mitici, among others).
In her first French-language project, the 1996 thriller L'Appartement, Bellucci immediately garnered acclaim. She won a Cesar (the French equivalent of the Oscar), as well as the heart of her future husband Cassel. She has since worked with Cassel on seven projects, most recently in Irreversible, an official competition selection at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. Other motion picture credits include Under Suspicion, Franck Spadone, Le Plaisir and Mediterranees.
She will next be seen starring opposite Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne in the Wachowski Brothers' dual sequels The Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions, as well as Mel Gibson's next directorial effort The Passion, as Mary Magdalene.
Bio courtesy Columbia Pictures for "Tears of the Sun" (01-Jan-2000)