In the flesh

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES -

ELENA Anaya wasn’t Span­ish di­rec­tor Pe­dro Almod­ovar’s first choice to play the fe­male lead in his film The Skin I Live In.

But the 36- year- old beauty ( pic­tured) in­hab­its Vera Cruz’s skin- coloured body suit with such dra­matic con­vic­tion, it’s now im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine any other ac­tor in the role.

Part melo­drama, part hor­ror story, Almod­ovar’s re­work­ing of the Franken­stein myth fea­tures his long- time col­lab­o­ra­tor An­to­nio Ban­deras as an un­hinged plas­tic sur­geon who metic­u­lously re­makes Vera in the im­age of his late wife.

The di­rec­tor ini­tially en­vis­aged an­other of his reg­u­lars, Pene­lope Cruz, as Vera but she was un­avail­able.

The role of Vera re­quired a big leap of faith for all con­cerned, Anaya says.

‘‘ I was very ner­vous. There was a lot of pres­sure. The char­ac­ter was so com­plex,’’ she says. ‘‘ I like the dark side. I like to make peo­ple think. It’s not my job just to en­ter­tain.’’

The Skin I Live In sees Ban­deras work­ing with Almod­ovar for the first time since 1990’ s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! af­ter which the Latin heart- throb opted to try his luck in the US.

Almod­ovar’s films pro­vided a plat­form for Ban­deras and Cruz to make the leap to Hol­ly­wood and it’s not hard to imag­ine Anaya fol­low­ing a sim­i­lar path. She doesn’t rule it out, even though a 2004 flir­ta­tion as one of Drac­ula’s brides in

Van Hels­ing failed to set the world on fire. ‘‘ Hol­ly­wood does not just make en­ter­tain­ment,’’ she says.

‘‘ A lot of ac­tors play re­ally in­ter­est­ing and fab­u­lous roles at least a few times in their life.

‘‘ I’ll go any­where to work if it’s worth it. I don’t want to bore peo­ple in the cine­mas and I don’t want to bore my­self.’’

Yet it has been dif­fi­cult to find a sat­is­fac­tory fol­low- up to Vera who, like many Almod­ovar women, hides a tough core be­neath a frag­ile ex­te­rior.

But what­ever project Anaya chooses, one thing’s for cer­tain: she won’t be play­ing it safe.

‘‘ I do this job like a way of liv­ing, it’s my way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing, the way I love to be alive,’’ she says.

‘‘ And when Pe­dro or any other di­rec­tor calls you, it could be the last time, the last op­por­tu­nity, the last chance.’’

THE SKIN I LIVE IN

Now show­ing State Cinema

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