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Monica Bellucci is set to be the next Bond Girl, and at age 50, this wife and mother has broken Hollywood barriers.
Born in Umbria in 1964, Monica Bellucci is one of the most recognizable Italian faces in international cinema today. But Bellucci didn't always have her sights set on the spotlight. She went to college to study law and modeled to pay her tuition. Her success in the fashion world coupled with the offers that were pouring in to appear on the big screen eventually turned her head, forever altering her course.
Bellucci made her on-screen debut in the 1990 television movie, Vita coi figli. Just two years later, she scored her first American role in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. Since then, she has been working virtually non-stop on both continents.
In addition to her native language of Italian, she speaks fluent English and French, which has made for a smooth transition from Italian to international cinema. Stateside, she has acted in blockbusters such as The Matrix-Reloaded, The Passion of the Christ and The Sorcerer's Apprentice. She has also appeared in several French films, and is married to French actor Vincent Cassel.
The role that really called on Bellucci's acting skills and proved that she was more than just another pretty face was Giuseppe Tornatore's 2000 film, Malèna. In it, she took on the title role of a beautiful widow in small town Sicily during World War II. Her character contends with the men of the village constantly chasing her while the women torment her out of jealousy.
Although she loves her craft, these days she is content with skipping red carpet appearances to stay home with her family. She was recently quoted as saying, "I am at a stage in my life where, if I don't go out, I don't feel I'm missing something. I get bored surrounded by people smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol. And I'm not so interested now in going to premieres or being photographed on the red carpet. I want to be with my daughter."
Motherhood hasn't slowed Bellucci down professionally, as she continues to advance her career on both sides of the Atlantic. Due to her international appeal, many of her films are available in the United States.