Like many Spaniards, Elena Anaya is familiar with the work of famed director and compatriot Pedro Almodóvar. Born in Palencia, Spain, the 36-year-old actress is more familiar than most because she starred in his 2006 film Hable con Ella, which garnered multiple awards, including an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
To date, Anaya is best known for her role in 2001’s sexually explicit film Lucía y el sexo (Sex and Lucía), which earned her the Best Supporting Actress award from the Union de Actores and a Goya nomination for the same award title. Now, Anaya has returned to Almodóvar as the lead actress in his highly anticipated film La Piel Que Habito (The Skin I Live In). The eccentric horror film, which also stars Antonio Banderas, is based on Tarantula, a novel by late French writer Thierry Jonquet. Anaya plays Banderas’ young captive in the film, which premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. About her role as Vera Cruz in the film, Anaya told Toronto.com that it's difficult to find interesting roles for female characters. "I didn't have to think about it," she said. "I was just so proud and happy to be involved in this story."
The only girl among three brothers, Anaya’s childhood hobbies included karate, and attending concerts. She studied acting in Spain and was later cast in several dramatic films, including 1998's Lágrimas negras (Black Tears), and La Huellas Borradas (The Wiped-Out Footprints). But now, Anaya’s years as a supporting actress may finally be over for now—she takes center stage alongside Antonio Banderas in The Skin I Live In—and if Pedro Almodovar believes in her, then so do we.
Watch the trailer for The Skin I Live In below: