Sex and Lucia
Gorgeous and very talented Spanish actress Elena Anaya has become one of the most exceptional actresses of her generation. She won both the hearts of critics and audience alike with her role as a young seducer in the 2001 erotic drama Sex and Lucía. For her luminous performance, the young actress picked up a Spanish Actors Union award and a Goya nomination. One of European films’ Shooting Stars (2004), Anaya attracted the attention of international audience after playing Dracula’s bride, Aleera, in Van Helsing (2004). Her more recent and upcoming credits include Alatriste (2006, opposite Viggo Mortensen), Stage Kiss (2006), In the Land of Women (2007, with Meg Ryan), Miguel and William (2007), Savage Grace (2007, along side Julianne Moore) and The Floating World (2007).
In addition to films, Anaya also starred in Justin Timberlake’s new music video for his 2006 single, “SexyBack.”
Childhood and Family:
In Palencia, Palencia, Castilla y León, Spain, Elena Anaya was born on July 17, 1975. Her parents separated when she was a child. As a young girl, she had a number of hobbies, including practicing karate at the Okinawa Gymnasium, climbing mountains, submarinism or to attend the concerts of Mecano, one of Elena’s favorite groups. However, she never displayed much interest for the studies. So, after working cooking and cleaning in the annuity for students, she opted out of Cadiz School in 1996 to join the Real Superior School of Dramatic Art of Madrid (RESAD) and study under actor Manuel Morón and later with actor Juan Carlos Corazza.
A native of Palencia, Spain, Elena Anaya decided to leave school to try her hands in acting and in 1996 made her film debut in Alfonso Ungria’s Africa. She went on to have notable supporting roles in such films as the comedy Family (1996), which was directed by the Goya winner Fernando León de Aranoa, the drama/romance Black Tears (1998), director Xavier Villaverde’s drama Finisterre (1998) and the Enrique Gabriel-helmed/written Wiped-Out Footprints (1999).
After a costarring role opposite handsome Spanish leading man Eduardo Noriega in the romantic drama El Invierno de las Anajanas (2000), Anaya’s career gained momentum when she was cast in the erotic drama Sex and Lucia/Lucia y el sexo (2001), for director Julio Medem. As young seducer Belen, she was so impressive that she was handed a 2002 Spanish Actors Union and a Goya nomination, for Best Supporting Actress. The role also won the burgeoning actress her first international recognition.
Still in 2001, Anaya found herself acting with Victoria Abril and Penelope Cruz in the comedy Sin noticias de Dios. Her growing status was further confirmed in the next year with supporting roles in Pedro Almodovar’s Talk to Her (Hable con Ella), the Walter Doehner-directed romance drama The Blue Room (Habitación azul, La) and Miguel Albaladejo’s Rencor. A turn opposite Antonio Resine in the 2003 comedy/action Dos Tipos duros (Two Tough Guys) even led to a gig along side Gary Oldman in the UK-Germany co-production Dead Fish (2004). It was also in 2004 that Anaya’s fame went international thanks to her role as Dracula’s bride, Aleera, in the mainstream film Van Helsing, a horror feature directed by Stephen Sommers and starring Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale. After this, she supported Calista Flockhart and Richard Roxburgh in the thriller Frágiles (2005).
In 2006, Anaya was cast opposite Viggo Mortensen in the period adventure Alatriste, adapted from a novel by Arturo Perez Reverte, and has recently completed an American production, Stage Kiss (2006), a comedy/drama directed and written by Eduardo Carrillo. She will soon star in writer/director Jon Kasdan’s comedy In the Land of Women (2007), with Meg Ryan, Ginnifer Goodwin and Adam Brody. The actress is also set to star in the forthcoming features Miguel and William (2007, as Leonor), the Julianne Moore starring vehicle Savage Grace (2007) and John Winter’s The Floating World (2007).
- Spanish Actors Union: Supporting Performance (Secundario Cine), Sex and Lucia, 2002