“Most often in Hollywood, actors play parts that represent their own personalities wonderfully. My roles try to reach outside my own personalities and my own projects to better define my acting career as a whole. As my career is better defined, the roles I take on as an actress lead to bigger and better projects.” Carla Gugino
Following a brief attempt at modeling as a teenager, Carla Gugino switched to acting and has since enjoyed a fruitful career. Starting out on television in 1988 with guest spots in “Who's the Boss” and “Good Morning, Miss Bliss,” the Florida native went on to play regular roles on “Falcon Crest” (1989-1990), “Spin City” (1996-1998, as Ashley Schaeffer) and “Chicago Hope” (as Dr. Gina Simon, 1999-2000) before starring in the failed shows “Karen Sisco” (2003) and “Threshold” (2005, as Dr. Molly Anne Caffrey). More recently, she portrayed agent Amanda Daniels in the HBO hit “Entourage” (9 episodes, 2007-2008). The actress, however, is probably best known for her portrayal of Ingrid Cortez in the successful movies: “Spy Kids” (2001), “Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams” (2002) and “Spy Kids 3D: Game Over” (2003). She picked up a Blockbuster Entertainment nomination for her supporting role of Julia Costello in Brian De Palma's “Snake Eyes” (1998) and a Screen Actors Guild nomination in Ridley Scott's “American Gangster” (2007). Other notable film credits include “Son in Law” (1993), “Jaded” (1996), “Lovelife” (1997), “Judas Kiss” (1998), “The One” (2001), “Sin City” (2005), “Night at the Museum” (2006), “Righteous Kill” (2008), “The Unborn” (2009), “Watchmen” (2009), “Race to Witch Mountain” (2009), “Women in Trouble” (2009) and its sequel “Elektra Luxx” (2010). On stage, she won a Theater World Award and an Outer Critics' Circle nomination for her Broadway debut performance in Arthur Miller's “After the Fall” (2004).
One of Maxim magazine's “100 Sexiest Women of 2002,” Gugino is currently in a relationship with writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez (born on September 10, 1974), with whom she has worked with on several projects, including “Karen Sisco” and “Rise: Blood Hunter.” They reside in Los Angeles. In her spare time, Gugino enjoys traveling, spending time with her friends and practicing yoga. Martin Scorsese and the Coen Brothers are among her favorite directors. Gugino is of English, Italian and Irish lineage.
Childhood and Family:
Carla Gugino was born on August 29, 1971, in Sarasota, Florida, to Carl Gugino, an orthodontist, and Susan. Her parents divorced when she was two years old. Her mother moved the family to Paradise, California, when Carla was around 4 or 5 and they would move often over the next several years. For a period of time, she and her mother lived in a teepee in northern California and Carla enjoyed the experience. Carla underwent surgery on her kidney when she was a child.
Despite her nomadic life, Carla remained an excellent student throughout high school and graduated valedictorian. After high school, she and her mom relocated to San Diego. It was not long before she was discovered by a major modeling agency and moved to New York at age 15 to pursue modeling. Her dreams were cut short when the 5 feet 5 inches tall girl found out she was too short for runway work. Disenchanted and overwhelmed, she moved back to California and enrolled in an acting class thanks to the suggestion of her aunt, actress Carol Merrill. She then decided to pursue her newfound interest professionally.
Carla Gugino made her television acting debut at age 17 when she landed guest spots in the comedy series “Who's the Boss” and “Good Morning, Miss Bliss.” Within a year, she had scored her first regular gig on the CBS primetime soap opera “Falcon Crest” (1981-1990), where she played Sydney St. James from 1989 to 1990.
Gugino branched out to the big screen with the supporting role of Chica Barnfell in “Troop Beverly Hills” (1989), a comedy starring Shelley Long and Craig T. Nelson that was directed by Jeff Kanew. She followed it up playing a young Roxy in Jim Abrahams' “Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael” (1990), which starred Winona Ryder and Jeff Daniels. She returned to television with one episode roles in “Ferris Bueller,” (1990) “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” (1991) “The Wonder Years,” (1991) “Quantum Leap” (1992) and a two episode role in “Davis Rules” (1992). She made her TV movie debut in the based on true story “Murder Without Motive: The Edmund Perry Story” (1992), where she played Allison Connors. Later that same year, she portrayed Mary Beth in the HBO film “A Private Matter,” starring Sissy Spacek as Sherri Finkbine.
In 1993, Gugino was cast as South Dakota farm girl Rebecca Warner in Steve Rash's drama “Son in Law,” her first starring role in a movie. The cast of the film also included Pauly Shore, Lane Smith, Cindy Pickett, Tiffani Thiessen and Brendan Fraser. The same year, she also played Norma Hansen in the big screen adaptation of Tobias Wolff's memoir “This Boy's Life,” which starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Tobias Wolff, Robert De Niro as Dwight Hansen, and Ellen Barkin as Caroline. She then costarred with Balthazar Getty in the independent drama “Red Hot,” directed and co-written by Paul Haggis.
After supporting Gerald McRaney, Jake Busey and John Cassini in the made for television action film “Motorcycle Gang” (1994), for director John Milius, Gugino was cast as Gwyn’s (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) younger sister Leslie Marcus in “Miami Rhapsody” (1995), a romantic comedy directed, written and produced by David Frankel. The film earned primarily negative reviews from critics and was a box office disappointment. Costars of the film included Gil Bellows, Antonio Banderas, Mia Farrow, Paul Mazursky and Kevin Pollak. Later that same year, she starred in the British TV miniseries “The Buccaneers,” along side Mira Sorvino, Rya Kihlstedt and Ronan Vibert.
In 1996, Gugino starred as the raped victim Megan Harris in Caryn Krooth's drama “Jaded,” which was nominated for a Rosebud for Best Film at the 1998 Verzaubert - International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, provided the voice of Delilah in David R. Ellis' family film “Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco,” a sequel to the 1993 successful remake “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey,” and supported Emilio Estevez, Kathy Bates, Martin Sheen and Kimberly Williams in the family drama “The War at Home,” which was helmed and co-produced by Estevez. She also portrayed Violet in “Wedding Bell Blues,” an award winning comedy directed by Dana Lustig. She next worked with John Travolta, Andie MacDowell, William Hurt and Bob Hoskins in Nora Ephron's “Michael.” On the small screen, the actress landed the high profile role of reporter Ashley Schaeffer in the first season of the ABC comedy “Spin City.” She, however, quickly left the show but would return later to reprise her role in the 1998 episode “It Happened One Night.”
Gugino delivered a memorable performance as Amy in Jon Harmon Feldman's romantic comedy “Lovelife” (1997), whose cast included Matt Letscher, Sherilyn Fenn, Saffron Burrows, Bruce Davison, Jon Tenney and Peter Krause. The following year, she was cast as Julia Costello in the Brian De Palma thriller “Snake Eyes” (1998) and was nominated for a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress - Suspense for her performance. Also in 1998, she portrayed a small time criminal named Coco Chavez in the thriller “Judas Kiss,” which was directed and co-written by her boyfriend Sebastian Gutierrez. She also served as a co-producer for “Judas Kiss.”
In 1999, Gugino joined the cast of “Chicago Hope.” Playing neurosurgeon Dr. Gina Simon, she remained with the show until it came to an end in May 2000. Also in 1999, she portrayed Emilie Thompson in the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie “A Season for Miracles,” starring Kathy Baker, Laura Dern and Lynn Redgrave.
Back to features in 2001, Gugino began her role of Ingrid Cortez, the wife of Antonio Banderas and the mother of Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara, in the movie “Spy Kids,” which was written and directed by Robert Rodriguez. A box office hit, the film grossed over $312 million in the U.S. against its estimated budget of $50 million. It also received generally positive reviews from critics. She went on to have a small role in Wayne Wang's “The Center of the World” (2001), which was screened out of competition at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, costar with Frank Whaley and Ethan Hawke in Whaley's adaptation of Jonathan Marc Sherman's play, “The Jimmy Show” (2001), and appear in the Jet Li vehicle “The One” (2001) for director James Wong. The same year, she also portrayed Lily, opposite Rufus Sewell as Angus in the TV movie “Mermaid Chronicles Part 1: She Creature,” written and directed by Gutierrez.
Gugino reprised her role of Ingrid Cortez in the sequel “Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams,” again written and directed by Robert Rodriguez. Released on August 2, 2002, the second film earned good reviews from critics and was a big commercial success. Budgeted at $38 million, it grossed $90 million in the domestic market and over $119 million internationally. She was again reunited with the “Spy Kids” crew for the last film of the trilogy, “Spy Kids 3D: Game Over” (2003). The film received mixed to positive reviews and grossed $111 million in North America. The film fared better in the international market. “Spy Kids 3” became the highest grossing film in the series. 2003 also saw Gugino play Betty Dark/Hooker in the Keith Gordon comedy film “Singing Detective,” starring Robert Downey Jr., Robin Wright Penn and Mel Gibson, and star in the ABC series “Karen Sisco,” costarring Robert Forster and Bill Duke. The Elmore Leonard created show was canceled after seven episodes.
In 2004, Gugino made her Broadway debut in a revival of Arthur Miller's “After the Fall” at the Roundabout Theater. She earned praise for her acting and a Theater World for Outstanding Broadway Debut award and an Outer Critics' Circle nomination.
The next year, Gugino appeared in Josh Stolberg’s “The Life Coach” and was reunited with Robert Rodriguez in the Rodriguez and Frank Miller project “Sin City,” where she was cast as a parole officer named Lucille. An adaptation of Miller's graphic novel of the same name, “Sin City” opened to sufficient critical and commercial success and won the Technical Grand Prize for the film's visual shaping at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. Still in 2005, she returned to series television in the CBS science fiction series “Threshold” (2005), where she starred as Dr. Molly Anne Caffrey. Despite positive reviews, the series suffered poor ratings and was axed.
Following the cancellation of “Threshold,” Gugino worked with Kim Basinger, Kelsey Grammer, Forest Whitaker and Nick Cannon in Mark Rydell's crime movie “Even Money” (2006). She also appeared with Ben Stiller in the blockbuster “Night at the Museum” (2006), playing Rebecca Hutman. She next supported Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode and Isla Fisher in the crime film “The Lookout” (2007, helmed by Scott Frank), was reunited with her boyfriend Sebastian Gutierrez for the horror film “Rise: Blood Hunter” (2007, starred Lucy Liu and Michael Chiklis) and was cast as the alienated wife of Russell Crowe, Laurie Roberts, in Ridley Scott's “American Gangster” (2007), from which she shared a 2008 Screen Actors Guild nomination in the category of Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. She then played Karen Corelli in Jon Avnet's “Righteous Kill” (2008), where she costarred with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, 50 Cent, John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg. She resurfaced on television playing sexy agent Amanda in several episodes of the HBO popular series “Entourage” during 2007 to 2008.
Gugino next portrayed Janet Beldon in David S. Goyer's horror film “The Unborn” (2009), starred as Robin in the short film “Spark” (2009), was cast as a retired super heroine in the Zack Snyder directed film “Watchmen” (2009, opposite Malin Åkerman, Billy Crudup and Matthew Goode) and worked with Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig and Ciarán Hinds in Andy Fickman's “Race to Witch Mountain” (2009), a remake of the 1975 fantasy film “Escape to Witch Mountain.” Still in 2009, she also played Elektra Luxx in the comedy film “Women in Trouble,” which was produced, written and directed by her boyfriend Sebastian Gutierrez, reprised her role of Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre in the direct to video sequel “Under the Hood” and starred as basketball coach Cathy Rush in “The Mighty Macs,” which premiered at the Heartland Film Festival on October 17, 2009.
Recently, in 2010, Gugino recreated the role of Elektra Luxx in the sequel of the same name. The film opened at the South by Southwest Film Festival on March 14, 2010. She also starred with Helen Hunt and Liev Schreiber in the Richard Levine drama “Every Day.” As for her upcoming movie projects, Gugino will play roles in George Tillman, Jr.'s “Faster,” slated to be released on November 19, 2010, J.C. Chandor's “Margin Call” (2010, with Kevin Spacey, Zachary Quinto and Stanley Tucci) and Zack Snyder's “Sucker Punch” (as Mrs. Schultz), which is scheduled to be released on March 25, 2011.
Theater World: Outstanding Broadway Debut, “After the Fall,” 2004