Asia Argento was born in Rome, Italy, into a family of actors and filmmakers, both occupations which she has herself pursued. She made her debut when she was only nine years old in Sergio Citti’s Sogni e bisogni (1985). In 1988 she had the leading role in Cristina Comencini’s first film, Zoo (1988), and was part of the cast of The Church (1989), directed by Michele Soavi. The following year she played Nanni Moretti’s daughter in Palombella rossa (1989) (also directed by Moretti).
It was with Le amiche del cuore (1992), written and directed by Michele Placido, that Asia’s career really took off and she was able to move on from playing very young girls to more mature, complex roles. The movie was well-received at the Cannes International Film Festival. In Trauma (1993), she worked for the first time with her father, famed Italian horror director Dario Argento (her mother is one of Argento’s favorite actresses, Daria Nicolodi, playing an anorexic girl in search of her parents’ killer. The Phantom of the Opera (1998) is the third film she has made with her father, the others being Trauma (1993) (filmed in the US) and The Stendhal Syndrome (1996).
Asia’s absorbed, intense style of acting was well-used in Giuseppe Piccioni’s Condannato a nozze (1993). In 1993 she co-starred in Carlo Verdone’s Perdiamoci di vista (1994) in which she played Arianna, a physically disabled girl–an intricate, difficult role that won her the David di Donatello for best actress (1993-1994). She also had a featured role in the international cast of Queen Margot (1994), directed by Patrice Chéreau. In 1995 she worked with Michel Piccoli in Peter Del Monte’s Traveling Companion (1996), which again won her a David di Donatello and a Grolla d’oro.
In 1994 Asia turned her hand to directing and turned out two short films: “Prospettive” (an episode of the film De Generazione (1994)) and “A ritroso”. In 1996 she directed a documentary on her father and, in 1998, one on cult director Abel Ferrara, Abel/Asia (1998), which won an award at the Rome Film Festival. In 1999 Asia made her feature-directing debut with Scarlet Diva (2000), in which she was the leading actress and author of the screenplay. The film was released in May 2000 in Italy and the rest of the world. It won an award at the Williamsburg Film Festival in Brooklyn, New York. In 2001, after directing a number of music videos, she gave birth to her first daughter, Anna Lou. In 2002 she starred in The Red Siren (2002) by Olivier Megaton with Jean-Marc Barr and the action thriller xXx (2002), directed by Rob Cohen, with Vin Diesel.
Asia is also the author of a number of short stories published in many prestigious magazines such as “Dynamo,” “L’Espresso,” “Sette,” and “Village,” Her first novel, “I Love You, Kirk,” was published in Italy by Frassinelli Editrice in October 1999 and in France by Florent Massot in 2001.
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