Monica Belluci has become of the most successful international crossover stars in cinema. With over three decades and over 80 titles to her credit, she's come a long way in her career since her debut in 1991. One of her earliest roles was in Bram Stoker's Dracula in 1992 as one of the brides of Dracula (Gary Oldman). She also landed memorable roles in The Matrix franchise as Persephone and the Clive Owen-starred Shoot 'Em Up (2007). I spoke to the actress about the chance to work on Martin Campbell's Memory, playing a corporate antagonist, and how it's a break from her usual roles.
"I wanted to work with Martin Campbell because I respect him so much," Bellucci said. "He knows how to create suspense and when he steps behind the camera and to work with Liam Neeson, an amazing actor, and beautiful human being. It really was a beautiful experience to work with him, and Davana Sealman was a new character for me. This woman, the CEO of a hedge fund that invests in many different businesses, asked her lawyer to hire a hitman to kill the witnesses that could prove that our son is a sexual deviant. She doesn't want this information to come out to protect her son and herself, and her business. So she's described as a natural sociopath, intelligent, charming, but at the same time, cold and manipulative."
Memory follows Alex Lewis (Neeson), an expert assassin with a reputation for discreet precision. Caught in a moral quagmire, Alex refuses to complete a job that violates his code and must quickly hunt down and kill the people who hired him before they and FBI agent Vincent Serra (Guy Pearce) find him first. Alex is built for revenge, but with a memory that is beginning to falter, he is forced to question his every action, blurring the line between right and wrong.
When it came to Davana, Bellucci wanted to infuse some empathy to allow the audience to understand her motivations and how she was able to mold herself for the role. "In some aspects, she's a monster; in others, she's a human being, and playing this duality is what interested me. With this role, I wanted to break the mold in which I have been cast many times in my life. So I gained some weight, and the makeup contributed to creating a totally new character for me. Also, aging contributes to opening new possibilities as well. For example, right now, I'm in a play called 'Maria Callas: Letters and Memoirs', and aging really helps because It really helps to understand the complexity of a character as Maria Callas because she was a diva and immense talent at the same time, she was a woman with a simple heart. She died of sadness. She died of a broken heart. We can see that today, actresses, they have the possibility to have a long career. I'm in Europe, so in Europe, we have all those actresses as Isabella Baer, Natalie Baye, Charlotte Rampling, Catherine Deneuve, Judi Dench..they all had amazing long careers."