Spanish actress Elena Anaya impressed the critics with her performance in Sex and Lucía (2001).
Elena was born in Palencia, Spain, on July 17th, 1975. An active child, she excelled in karate and mountain climbing. By the time she was 17 Elena knew that she wanted to channel her energy into being an actress and enrolled in a drama course being given in her local town by actor Manuel Moron. More determined than ever, she then opted out of school, choosing instead to audition for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in Madrid.
Moron mentioned Elena’s exceptional talent to his agent, Katrina Bayonas, who was looking for a young girl to star in the film, “Africa”. Elena auditioned and the role was hers.
Elena was obliged to leave the Royal Academy when Fernando Leon de Aranoa called her to work in his comedy, “Familia”. But, aware of the importance of studying, Elena her formation at the Juan Carlos Corazza school of acting.
Following her feature debut in the 1996 drama “África”(Alfonso Ungría) Anaya continued to impress with supporting roles in such features as “Lagrimas negras” (Fernando Bauluz y Ricardo Franco, 1998) “Finisterre” (Xavier Villaverde, 1998), “Las Huellas borradas” (Enrique Gabriel, 1999) and the romantic drama “El Invierno de las Anjanas”(Pedro Telechea). In 2000, director Julio Medem cast her as the seductive baby sitter, Belen, in the erotic drama “Lucia y el sexo” (2001). The explosive mixture of innocence and provocation earned her a Goya (Spanish Academy Award) nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She also received the Spanish Actors Union Award for Best Supporting Actress. That same year she was featured in the comedy “Sin noticias de Dios” (Agustín Díaz Yanes 2001) with Penelope Cruz and Victoria Abril.
As her star continued to rise thanks to roles in “Dos Tipos duros” (Juan Martínez Moreno 2003) and Pedro Almodóvar’s “Talk to Her”, it was only a matter of time before she caught the attention of international directors and she was offered the role of Dracula’s most possessive bride in 2004’s “Van Helsing” (Stephen Sommers). Then, in 2004, came the action comedy “Dead Fish” (Charley Stadler) with Gary Oldman, in 2005 the thriller “Fragile” (Jaume Balagueró), and the period adventure “Capitán Alatriste “(Agustín Díaz Yanes). In 2007 she starred in “Miguel & William” (Inés París) and “Savage Grace” (Tom Kalin) with Julianne Moore.
In 2008 she was introduced to French audiences in “L’instinct de Mort” (Jean-François Richet) with Vincent Cassel and Gerard Depardieu. She then travelled to Cairo to work in the romantic drama “Cairo Time” (Ruba Nadda). Agustín Díaz Yanes called her again for his film “I only want to walk” and she then starred in Gaby Ibanez’s thriller “Hierro”.
2009 brought Elena and Julio Medem together again to make “Room in Rome”. The role of Alba earned her Best Actress nominations for both the Spanish Actors Guild and the Goya Awards. She then returned to France to shoot Fred Cavaye’s “A Bout Portant”.
In 2010 Pedro Almodovar offered her the leading role of Vera in his new film “The Skin I live in” with Antonio Banderas. This role won her the 2011 Best Actress Goya (Spanish Academy Award).
In 2012 she received the honorary Málaga Sur Award at the yearly Film festival in Málaga.
This same year took Elena to Argentina to make “Pensé que iba haber fiesta”. In 2013 she starred as Lupe in “Todos están muertos”, directed by Beatriz Sanchis. This role won her six Best Actress nominations, the only actress to be nominated for all the awards in the 2015 Spanish Award season. She received the Spanish SAG Best Actress Award.
In 2013 Elena also starred in the Scottish film “Swung”. In 2014 she shot Chilean director Matias Bize’s “La memoria del Agua” and has recently finished filming Imanol Uribe’s “Lejos del mar”.
2015 started for Elena with a cameo role in Brad Furman’s “The Infiltrator” working alongside Bryan Cranston and John Leguizamo.