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Leonor Varela Biography 1972-

With her exotic, alluring good looks, fluid multilingual abilities, and genre-hopping sensibilities, it would seem that there is little holding comely Chilean from conquering cinema screens worldwide; and with memorable turns in such features as The Tailor of Panama (2001) and Blade II (2002), she seems poised to do just that. Born in Santiago, Chile, in 1972, Varela’s family fled to Costa Rica in her early childhood when her homeland was overtaken by the military regime. Subsequently residing in Germany, the U.S.A., and France, the worldly youngster received the majority of her later education in France. Though her family returned to Santiago following the occupation, Varela developed a passion for French culture and continued her studies abroad. Refered to a French filmmaker by her dentist (who, enamored by her exotic beauty created a role specifically designed for the burgeoning actress in The Shooting Stars [1997]), Varela found her popularity on the rise when she was cast in the Chilean TV series Tic Tac. After appearing in a few more television productions in the late ’90s, the actress was cast in a small role in The Man in the Iron Mask before being ideally cast opposite future fiancé Billy Zane. Though the couple’s relationship floundered, they remained on good terms and Varela’s career continued to thrive. Roles in The Tailor of Panama and Texas Rangers (both 2001) followed shortly thereafter, though it wasn’t until 2002 that Varela received enough screen time to truly ignite the silver screen. As the fanged love interest of Wesley Snipes in the exhausting vampire/action extravaganza Blade II, Varela showed her sensitive side between scenes of blasting Reapers to ash, and showed further proof of her versatility by tackling an extremely physical role head-on.

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