Ana de Armas: 3 things to know about the heroine of The Gray Man and Blonde

Havana-born Cuban-Spanish actress Ana de Armas is carving out a place for herself in the Hollywood sun. After starting her career in Cuba and Madrid, the one who made an impression with her sexy and muscular appearances in blade runner 2049 (2017) and Dying can wait (2021) is, at 34, one of the most popular names on the small and big screen. Overview of what you need to know about the heroine of The Gray ManNetflix’s new action blockbuster, which will soon be starring in the long-awaited and sulphurous fictionalized biopic dedicated to Marilyn Monroe, Blonde hairstill on the streaming platform.

Ana de Armas at the screening of The Gray Man in London on July 19, 2022 @ Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty Images

Ana de Armas at the screening of The Gray Man in London on July 19, 2022 @ Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty Images

1. A childhood far from the glitz of Hollywood

Born in Havana, Cuba, Ana Celia de Armas Caso led a childhood far removed from the glow and glitter of Hollywood. Unlike many up-and-coming actors and actresses who are child stars or have famous parents, cinema did not run through her veins. Her father, who studied philosophy at a Soviet university, was in turn a teacher, bank director, school director and deputy mayor, while her mother held a position in human resources at the Ministry of Education. As a child, Ana de Armas lived for many years with her grandparents in Havana, while her parents and her brother who lived in the seaside town of Santa Cruz del Norte only came to visit her once a week.

Due to the economic crisis (known as the “Special Period in Peacetime”) that raged in Cuba in the 1990s, following the fall of the USSR and the cessation of commercial support from the socialist bloc, her childhood, Spartan but happy, was marked by food rationing and power cuts, which could last until 4 p.m. She thus remembers Havana in the media Men’s Journal : “I grew up in nature, at the beach and playing in the streets with friends. I felt very free. We would go wild here and there before heading home to dinner and watching cartoons.

As a teenager, Ana de Armas does not have internet access, no DVD player and no knowledge of international (pop) culture. She is only allowed to watch a few minutes of cartoons on Saturdays and a movie on Sunday mornings. She makes up for it by going to see American feature films at her neighbor’s, in which she discovers Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks. Fascinated by these glamorous works full of action and romance, she learned the dialogues by heart and replayed the scenes in front of her mirror. A vocation was born. At only 12 years old, the little girl with the face of a doll knows that she wants to become an actress.

Ana de Armas in "Dying can wait" (2021)
Ana de Armas in "Dying can wait" (2021)

Ana de Armas in “Dying Can Wait” (2021)

2. An (inconclusive) acting career in Cuba and Madrid

From the age of 14, Ana de Armas hitchhiked to classes at the National Theater of Cuba.. Still a student, she is already shooting in films before flying away, four years later, for Madrid, with 200 euros in her pocket. The first feature films and the first series of the actress are forgettable, even if they allow her to be recognized on the street in Spain. She plays in particular in the drama with rose water A rosa from France (2006), in the show for teenagers which takes place in a Spanish boarding school El Internado (2007-2010) or in a coming-of-age comedy: Mentras y gordas (2009).

After a trip to New York to try to learn EnglishAna de Armas changes register with a dramatico-historical series (Hispania, the leyendain 2010 and 2011) and a handful of horror films such asAnabel (2015). She then doubts the future of her career, takes part in plays for a theater company in Madrid and ends up finding a Hollywood agent before moving to Los Angeles. While she speaks the language of Shakespeare very badly, she lands a first role in an American film, alongside Keanu Reeves (who becomes her first guardian angel in the United States) in Eli Roth’s horrifying erotic thriller Knock-Knock (2015). We will find this sensual dimension in the (bad) erotic thriller Deep Waters alongside his companion at the time: Ben Affleck.

Ana de Armas in "Blonde hair" (2022)
Ana de Armas in "Blonde hair" (2022)

Ana de Armas in “Blonde” (2022)

3. An explosive Hollywood rise

In Hollywood, the one who first learns her texts phonetically is first of all the femme fatale or the often romantic or sexy devoted wife. Even if she turns out to be both radiant and charismatic, the good roles are not immediately at the rendezvous for Ana de Armas. But the Cuban-Spanish is determined not to let herself be imprisoned in the roles of a Latin bombshell with the appearance of an object woman. We have to wait for Denis Villeneuve’s metaphysical futuristic thriller blade runner 2049 (2017), for the actress to shine in a secondary role. She plays Ryan Gosling’s girlfriend, Joi. Even if Joi is only a hologram born from artificial intelligence, Ana de Armas brings a very carnal and magnetic dimension to her character.

Nothing now stops the star in the making who dreams of a career like that of Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep or Penélope Cruz. She proves she has depth with her role as an immigrant nurse in the film At loggerheads (2019), starring Daniel Craig, and exudes a bewitching charm in Olivier Assayas’ spy thriller, Cuban Network (2019). But it’s in James Bond girl in Dying can wait let it explode. In a low-cut evening dress, she plays Paloma, a secret CIA agent whose stunts have nothing to envy to the male heroes of the film. The intensive sports training she engages in for this blockbuster will serve the actress for her athletic and badass role in the new big-budget Netflix blockbuster: The Gray Man alongside Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans.

Now all eyes are on who landed the role of Marilyn Monroe in the fictionalized biopic and already controversial (due to its sex scenes deemed shocking) Blonde hair, based on the best-selling book of the same name written by Joyce Carol Oates. We will have to wait until September 28, 2022 to find out if, despite the lack of obvious resemblance between the two actresses, the new Hollywood darling who worked for a year with a voice coach managed to capture the essence, sublime and innocent , from the 50s icon.

The Gray Man (2022) by Mark Greaney and Joe Russo, available on Netflix. Blonde hair by Andrew Dominik, available September 28, 2022.

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Ana de Armas: 3 things to know about the heroine of The Gray Man and Blonde