Álex de la Iglesia
Iglesia at the Berlinale 2017
Alejandro de la Iglesia Mendoza
4 December 1965
|Alma mater||University of Deusto|
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter|
Alejandro "Álex" de la Iglesia Mendoza (born 4 December 1965) is a Spanish film director, screenwriter, producer and former comic book artist.
De la Iglesia's films combines grotesque and very dark elements such as death and murder: most of his work is considered dark comedies, but are also often considered to have horror and/or drama elements. All his films, with the notable exceptions of The Last Circus (2010) and As Luck Would Have It (2011), were written together with Jorge Guerricaechevarría.
Álex de la Iglesia was born in Bilbao, Spain, in 1965. He is a philosophy graduate of the University of Deusto who ended up working in the comic book field at a young age. He had a brief stint in television before finding work as production designer on Pablo Berger's Mamá. This little seen short film focuses on a family forced to live in a basement after a nuclear war and features a little boy who wears a Batman costume.
Enrique Urbizu came calling for his production designer services in 1991 for Todo por la pasta (Anything for money), a Basque crime thriller which was nominated for 4 Goya Awards, and won 1 (best supporting actress).
He then met José Guerricaechevarria, and together they made the short film Mirindas Asesinas (1991), in which a boring man, whose mind is gradually degenerating, is on the verge of becoming a psychotic killer. The two men became fast friends and have worked together ever since, with José writing the screenplays to many of De La Iglesia's films.
In 1993, de la Iglesia received a big break when Spain's most famous director, Pedro Almodóvar, produced his debut feature Acción mutante (Mutant Action). This tale of a group of crippled and handicapped outcasts in the future taking arms against handsome oppressors, became an independent success globally.
The next step he took was El día de la Bestia (The Day Of The Beast) (1995). It won 6 Goyas, the Best Director award amongst them. It also marked his first collaboration with producer Andrés Vicente Gómez.
Wanting to build on the success of The Day Of The Beast, Gómez hired Iglesia to direct Perdita Durango based on novelist Barry Gifford's 59 Degrees and Raining; The Story of Perdita Durango. Barry Gifford helped out on the script also. Isabella Rossellini played Perdita Durango in David Lynch's Wild At Heart, also based on a Gifford work. The film was in English, but did not prove as great a success as hoped; for some it felt too post-Tarantino. The film was also more nasty in its violence, and its confrontational style (though laced with typically dark humour), resulted in cuts and running times around the globe varying from 95 minutes in South Korea to 126 minutes in Spain. It was rumoured Bigas Luna was originally offered the director's chair for the film.
Also in 1997, Iglesia wrote Payasos en la lavadora (Clowns in the Washing Machine), a satirical novel.
Back in Spain, in 1999 de la Iglesia had success with Dying of Laughter, a dark comedy about a Martin and Lewis-style comic duo with no love for each other, nominated for 3 Goyas, winning 2. La comunidad (2000), a dark comedy/thriller set in an apartment block with a money scram, got 15 Goya nominations, won 3.
In 2000, Iglesia was developing an English language Fu Manchu reboot film, which would have starred Antonio Banderas as an FBI agent on Manchu's trail. The unproduced film was scrapped due to escalating budget.
800 balas (800 Bullets) (2002), a homage to spaghetti westerns, got 4 Goya nominations, 1 win. De la Iglesia's next film, Crimen Ferpecto (The Ferpect Crime) (2004), a dark comedy thriller with a man aspiring to perfection, winning 6 Goya prizes as a result.
De la Iglesia himself also provided the voice of the Underminer in the Spanish language dubbing of The Incredibles (2004).
In 2006, he directed an episode of the TV series Películas para no dormir (Films To Keep You Awake) titled La habitación del niño (The Baby's Room).
In 2008, de la Iglesia directed the science-fiction comedy TV series Plutón B.R.B. Nero.
The films El día de la Bestia, Muertos de risa, Perdita Durango, The Oxford Murders, La comunidad, 800 balas, Crimen Ferpecto, La chispa de la vida, Las brujas de Zugarramurdi and Balada triste de trompeta were part of the Álex de la Iglesia: Dancing with the Devil at the Toronto International Film Festival 2015.