"Beauty becomes alive and interesting when it's habited."

I wanted to write a nice normal objective biography of Ms. Bellucci, but after starting it, I ran into a bit of a problem. See, I am absolutely enthralled by her. I found her to be some kind of feminine ideal, like the expression of the beauty in all women. She is like some sort of succubus, designed to melt my brain and make me do crazy things in the name of passion. Right off the bat, objectivity suffered. Therefore, consider this writer as a biased source, dreamily staring at a divine work in the form of an majestic Italian woman. I feel all Renaissancesque.

Monica Anna Maria Bellucci was born on September 30th, 1964, in the village of Citta di Castello, in Umbria, Italy. At 18, she enrolled in the Law program at the University of Perugia, but found herself struggling to pay her tuition. Monica was encouraged to try her luck at modeling, which quickly lured her away from the world of academia. In 1988, she left Perugia and moved to Milan to pursue her modeling career. There, she was quickly signed by the Elite Model Management and began a hectic schedule of modeling work.

By 1989, Monica was modeling on the runways of Paris and New York. She had achieved huge success in very little time as a model, finding herself posing for Dolce & Gabbana and French Elle. Monica was soon offered television work, appearing in a black & white TV commercial for Dolce & Gabbana. Giuseppe Tornatore, who directed the commercial, recommended that Monica should pursue an acting career, and would later hire her to star in his film Malèna. She began taking acting classes, and soon found work on Italian television when Dino Risi cast her for the Italian television series Vita Coi Figli (Life with the Sons). After several other roles in Italian features, including starring as Francesca in the film La Riffa, she made her North American film debut with the role of one of the three brides of Dracula that seduce Keanu Reeves in 1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula, co-starring Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder.

This small part began a landslide of offers for Monica in her native Italy. She returned home to appear in the heist film I Mitici (The Heroes) in 1994 and the children's movie Palla di Neve (Snowball) in 1995. Monica felt that she was taking a step backwards in her career, increasingly frustrated with the limited market for Italian films, so she took a role playing the wife of Ben Kingsley's Pharaoh in the made for television movie Joseph in 1995, before looking for work in the French film industry. Speaking fluent French, she soon found challenging roles.

Monica's first French-language film was 1996's award-winning romance L'Appartement (The Apartment). She found instant success, earning a coveted César nomination in the "Most Promising Young Actress" category for her performance. It was on the set of L'Appartement that she met actor Vincent Cassel, son of famous French comedic actor Jean-Pierre Cassel, whom she would marry in 1999. Monica had been previously engaged to actor Nicola Farron from 1989 to 1995. Monica and Vincent would re-team on screen as both comically troubled lovers, and later, as vicious killers in Come mi vuoi (As You Want Me) and Dobermann. Monica enjoyed a flourishing career, and soon found her way back into North American theaters.

Director Stephen Hopkins, while casting for the Gene Hackman thriller, Under Suspicion (2000), had seen L'Appartement on a transatlantic flight and requested Monica be tapped for the role of Hackman's trophy wife. 2000 also saw the Monica receive worldwide critical acclaim for her starring role in Malèna, in which she plays a vulnerable young Sicilian bride during World War II. The movie was nominated for 14 awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, and continues to be one her most acclaimed roles. Seemingly gifted with a nose for finding roles in sleeper films, Bellucci would followed up Malèna's success with another international hit, Christophe Gans' Le Pacte des Loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf) in 2001, in which her husband Vincent starred. It was the fourth most successful film of the year in France and did brisk international business. For her role, Bellucci received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress from the U.S. Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films.

In 2002, Monica starred as a seductive Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile in the comic book adaptation Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre, the highest grossing film in France that year, and the gritty Irreversible in which she portrays a rape victim. She was handpicked by actor Bruce Willis to co-star with him in Antoine Fuqua's Tears of the Sun (2003), but would find household name recognition with her most famous role later in the year with her performance as Persephone, wife of the conniving Merovingian, a role she would play in both The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions (2003). Her sizzling sex appeal won her instant fame with the geeky. She was also originally cast as Mina Harker in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) but had to drop out because she was pregnant with her first child. The part in the critically bashed film then went to ex-model Peta Wilson. Her first child, a daughter named Deva Cassel, was born on September 12, 2004 in Rome, Italy.

2004 saw Monica tackle the role of Magdalene in Mel Gibson's controversial blockbuster, The Passion of the Christ, and a role in the French film Agents secrets. She also provided voice-overs for several Matrix video games, as well as the "Empress of Time" in 2004's Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. She also has upcoming roles in The Brothers Grimm, Spike Lee's She Hate Me, and 2005's Lord of War. She says her dream job would be working alongside Robert De Niro.

Now for the true stalker types, Monica's lovely lovely vitals:

She's 5' 10" (1.78 m) tall, wears a size 10 shoe, and measures 35C-24-35. Her favourite poem is "A Silvia" by Giacomo Leopardi.

Sigh... so dreamy...

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