Birthdate: September 30, 1964
Birthplace: Città di Castello, Umbria, Italy
An international star who stands as a throwback to the classic Italian model-turned-actors of the 1950s and 1960s like Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, Monica Bellucci (birthname: Monica Anna Maria Bellucci) is one of the quintessential glamour faces of international cinema. Her career choices have tended to steer away from European auteurs—with rare, but striking exceptions, such as in Gaspar Noé’s intensely controversial Irreversible (2002)--and toward wide-audience, mainstream entertainments. For instance, Monica Bellucci can claim the honor of being the oldest “Bond Girl,” a testament to her classic beauty.
After a very successful modeling career that made Bellucci’s face ubiquitous in the haute couture and luxury goods worlds, she landed a steady string of roles in Italian movies and TV through the 1990s (her first English-language movie during this period was a small role in Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) until her international breakthroughs co-starring with future husband Vincent Cassel in The Apartment (1996), Jan Kounen’s stylish crime thriller, Dobermann (1997), and Unruly (1999). The bold marketing of Miramax (and an ad campaign boosting Monica Bellucci’s sex appeal) helped boost her image further in Giuseppe Tornatore’s Malena (2000), her first major international hit as a star.
She joined a starry French cast (including, again, Cassel) for Christophe Gans’ hit, The Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001), and launched a high-profile phase with several headline-grabbing movies. These included Irreversible, Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (2002), Antoine Fuqua’s Tears of the Sun with Bruce Willis (2003), The Wachowski’s Matrix sequels Reloaded and Revolutions (both in 2003), and Mary Magdalene in Mel Gibson’s controversial The Passion of the Christ (2004).
Monica Bellucci’s American profile reached a level where she joined forces with Spike Lee for his 2004 comedy-drama, She Hate Me with Anthony Mackie, Kerry Washington, and Ellen Barkin; Matt Damon and Heath Ledger for Terry Gilliam’s overlooked adventure, Brothers Grimm (2005); Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti for Shoot ‘Em Up (2007); and Robin Wright, Keanu Reeves, Blake Lively, Alan Arkin and Winona Ryder for Rebecca Miller’s drama, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009).
Bellucci tended to her European following in such vehicles as Bertrand Blier’s sex comedy with Gerard Depardieu, How Much Do You Love Me? (2005); The Stone Council (2006) with Catherine Deneuve; and Marco Tullio Giordana’s 2008 epic, Wild Blood. Monica Bellucci’s rare forays into auteur cinema include Philippe Garrel’s A Burning Hot Summer (2011) with Louis Garrel; Bahman Ghobadi’s Rhino Season (2012), in which she performs in Farsi; Alice Rohrwacher’s superb drama which scored the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, The Wonders (2014); and Emir Kusturica’s On the Milky Road (2016).
Bellucci landed her Bond Girl role in the Daniel Craig-starring Spectre (2015). She had fun with her celebrity when David Lynch cast her as a version of herself in his remarkable limited series, Twin Peaks (2017), while she continued to expand her international profile in the Israeli-themed Spider in the Web (2019) with Ben Kingsley.
Monica Bellucci has shifted toward streaming TV work but appears opposite Liam Neeson in Martin Campbell’s action film, Memory (2022). Bellucci appeared as the revolutionary artist TinaModotti in Paula Alvarez’s limited series, Radical Eye, and co-starred opposite Toni Collette in Catherine Hardwicke’s Mafia Mamma (2023).
The only child of Pasquale and Brunella Bellucci, Monica Bellucci grew up in the Perugia community of San Giustino. While studying law at the University of Perugia, she did modeling on the side, until it became her full-time profession. Her first marriage in 1990, to photographer Claudio Carlos Basso, ended in divorce two years later.
Bellucci’s second marriage in 1999, to actor Vincent Cassel, also ended in divorce after their 2013 separation. The couple has two daughters, Léonie and Deva. She is a self-declared agnostic. Monica Bellucci is fluent in Italian, English, Persian, Spanish, and French. Her height is 5’ 7 ¼”.
Calendar Gal: Monica Bellucci has posed for two nudes calendar spreads, in Italian Max magazine and Italian GQ magazine.
Most Beautiful: Bellucci was selected “the most beautiful woman in the world” by French TV viewers in 2004.
Jury Member: Monica Bellucci was a member of the Cannes Film Festival Competition jury in 2006.