Who is Elena Anaya, the actress cast as a villain in 'Wonder Woman' movie?
From a bride of Dracula to Wonder Woman's nemesis, here's everything we know about this rising Spanish star.
Who could possibly go toe-to-toe with Wonder Woman? After witnessing this summer's first full trailer for the superhero movie, featuring Israeli actress Gal Gadot in the titular role, the 5,000-year-old daughter of Zeus appears virtually unstoppable.
Enter Elena Anaya, a Spanish actress who last week revealed herself as something of a foil to Wonder Woman and her human sidekick Steve Trevor. While Anaya is staying quiet about the particulars, her Hollywood background is rich in a variety of characters that make us excited for her role in the new DC Comics franchise. Below are just a few highlights for the actress quickly becoming known to Wonder Woman fans as "the villain behind the mask."
A former bride of Dracula
While her first international brush with fame came from a starring role in the 2001 Spanish drama "Sex and Lucia," Anaya's break into Hollywood came as a seductive bride of Dracula in 2004's "Van Helsing." In an interview with Horror.com, she explained her professional approach to playing one of the blood-thirsty undead.
"When I'm working on a character, I don't look at other movies, like to see 'I like this, I don't like this,'" she said. "Now, I saw a lot of vampire movies, like everyone. But I tried to make this character like two different states; one is really human, and the other is a monster. Half a bat, half a human. Because we are bats, we're flying. I tried to do the humanity, the human feeling and the heart that this bride has inside."
She helped bring 'sexy back'
In the summer of 2006, you couldn't go more than three or four radio stations without catching a snippet of American artist Justin Timberlake's "Sexyback." But did you know the woman who co-starred with Timberlake in the critically acclaimed video was none other than Anaya? The actress, who played a spy in the sexually charged short, said the four-day shoot in Barcelona was a consistent dance party.
"When we moved [into] the interior locations, Justin started dancing," she told Entertainment Weekly. "He’s the best dancer on Earth, and even though I loved the video clip, he danced even better than what we see. When you’re acting, it’s tiring, and if you have to dance 17 hours a day, oh my goodness! But he has an energy that pulls everyone’s energy up."
She plays a masked villain in 'Wonder Woman'
Anaya was briefly glimpsed in the "Wonder Woman" Comic-Con trailer wearing a mask and looking quite villainous. In a recent interview with the Spanish film website SensaCine, it appears our assumptions as to her character's moral leanings may be correct.
“Well, it was a small role in this big ensemble, but it is an important character in the story," she said. "It’s directed by Patty Jenkins, then there’s Gal Gadot as our main lead, Chris Pine as her co-lead and I’m going to be… a big nightmare for the two of them."
As for the villain's identity, current fan speculation is rife that Anaya is playing a character called Doctor Poison. The villain, who battled Wonder Woman during WWII in the comics, uses chemical attacks and mind-altering drugs to cause chaos. While the "Wonder Woman" film reportedly takes place during World War I, we wouldn't be surprised if Doctor Poison is rewritten to cause trouble for Pine and Gadot.
She is extremely private
Elena Anaya, arriving in 2011 for the premiere of 'The Skin I Live In,' has always maintained strict privacy over her personal life. (Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock)
If you're interested in learning about Anaya's life outside of film, good luck. The actress is extremely adamant about keeping her personal life under lock and key. Unfortunately, keeping prying eyes away has only become more difficult as the spotlight surrounding her has grown wider.
"It’s difficult to deal with that," she told After Ellen, "but people who [have known] me since my career starting years ago and people who know me for my projects know that I like my work and I’m also very private and I want to be known for my work, for my career and that’s what matters."
Her script intuition signals good things for the 'Wonder Woman' film
Known for carefully choosing her roles, Anaya's decision to sign up for "Wonder Woman" denotes good things for fans worried about the film's story. As she explained in an interview from 2011, her participation in a film is not just about the character she'll play.
"When I choose a project, I don’t just think about the character that I would be playing," she said. "That’s not the most important thing for me. The most important thing is the story. I want to work on films that I myself want to watch. Sometimes I choose the project, and other times, the project chooses me. Sometimes a script comes across the table and it’s all about intuition. There are times when a script feels perfect as if it was meant just for you. I don’t like to ask myself why things happen. I just try to remain open-minded and alert."
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