One of Italy’s most popular actresses, Asia Argento has been labeled on more than one occasion in her native country as “the face of the new generation.” The daughter of legendary horror director Dario Argento and stage actress Daria Nicolodi, Argento was born in Rome on September 20, 1975. She broke into film at the tender age of nine and has gone on to enjoy an illustrious and acclaimed career. Although the actress’ early prospects were undoubtedly aided by her father’s famous name — she has appeared in a number of his films — she has become known as an actress in her own right, winning two David di Donatello awards (the Italian Oscar) and two Ciacks (the Italian Golden Globe), among other honors. Argento has acted for a number of non-Italian directors, most notably Patrice Chéreau in La Reine Margot (1994) and Michael Radford in B. Monkey (1998). The latter film, which starred Argento as a master thief alongside Rupert Everett and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, succeeded in giving her an initial introduction to American art house audiences. In addition to acting, Argento is also a screenwriter and director with a growing number of credits to her name. The handover to then new millennium found the now-established actress following in the footsteps of her father with the release of her directorial debut, Scarlet Diva (2000). A semi-autobiographical tale that journied into the frenzied mind of an actress fueled by excess, Scarlet Diva combined the garish visuals of her father’s cinematic heyday with the sensory overload that defined cinema of the millennial crossover.
With B. Monkey and Abel Ferrara’s New Rose Hotel failing to gain Argento as much stateside exposure as may have been anticipated and Scarlett Diva still not having found suitable distribution in the U.S., the release of numerous articles and photo spreads in such magazines as Bizarre, Maxim and Entertainment Weekly began to generate a substantial buzz surrounding the release of what would be her biggest American film to date, XXX. As the mysterious love interest of Vin Diesel, Argento seemed poised for the elusive international success that, though she had no doubt gained a reputation as a desirable dark goddess on the glossy pages of men’s magazines nationwide, had yet to cement itself in celluliod form.