It’s an honor for this site to host a family combo. We’re not talking about Kentucky Fried Chicken, but of Daria Nicolodi, who is already a guest here, and her daughter Asia Argento, whom we welcome in this page. I can only shed an emotional tear on the very fact that the honor of being a Cult Siren can be transferred from one generation to another. Asia is our “baby”, having been born in 1975. We’ll take good care of her…
Yes, let’s confirm her birth date: September 20th, 1975, in Rome, where she grew up. Her real name is actually Aria, as can be seen on her birth registry, but her parents insisted on naming her Asia, which was refused by the authorities! No continent names for toddlers! Having for parents celebrities of the cinema scene (actress Daria Nicolodi and director Dario Argento), Asia inevitably chose an artistic vocation, making her movie debut at a young age, while studying in a Roman college favoring the English language.
At the tender age of 12, she could be seen in Demons 2, produced by her dad and directed by Lamberto Bava, another kid having a famous director as a father (Mario Bava). This early credit already can be perceived as things to come, as Asia will be known for rebellious and/or macabre roles (coming from her parents’ influence, perhaps, and considering her own confession that her favorite horror movie is The Texas Chain Saw Massacre!). All this will be confirmed with her next project, The Church in 1988, often perceived as the last in the Demons trilogy. The next year, Asia would be seen in a comedy, Palombra Rossa, having for subject the exciting world of water-polo.
At 17 years of age, Asia (having already developed a fiery temper) parts with her studies for a full-time career in motion pictures, probably another way of rebelling after her parents’ separation. In 1992, she’s in Le amiche del cuore, where she plays a teenage victim of sexual abuse. Soon after, she finds herself directed by her famous father in the United States for the suspense Trauma, playing the young daughter of Romanian immigrants struggling against an homicidal maniac. Like all of Dario’s work of the last 15 years, critics loathed it altogether or proclaimed it a masterpiece.
In 1994, Asia became a baroness in a big European production that would find universal acclaim, La reine Margot, a movie that is as violent as any directed by her dad. The young actress’ beauty and sensuality is now in full bloom, Asia having often being perceived as an ugly duckling in her youth. The same year, she worked with another legend of Napolitan cinema, the great comedian Aldo Maccione, in Perdiamoci di vista.
Asia made her directing debut with an episode from the movie DeGenerazione. Another anthology film followed, this time with Il cielo e sempre piu blu, proposing short stories in a 24-hours period in Rome. Asia’s father is an actor here, confessing some sins to a Franciscan monk. The two will again be reunited in 1996 for Dario’s The Stendhal Syndrome with Asia playing her most difficult role to date, a policewoman tracking a particularly nasty serial rapist/killer. Even at a young age for this part, Asia is still convincing. Oddly, there’s something perversely voyeuristic in imagining a father directing his daughter in such nasty rape scenes… but I will not be the one to proclaim that the Argento family is a conservative one.
In 1997, Asia worked on screen with her mother for the first time in Viola bacia tutti. The next year, she made a return to the U.S.A. for New Rose Hotel, for complex director Abel Ferrera, with Christopher Walken and Willem Dafoe, acting out a script taking place in the near future. Then came B. Monkey, an Italian/English/American co-production directed by Michael Radford with Rupert Everett and Asia in the title role. More than anything, these two last projects would able her to be discovered by an international public and Asia rapidly became a cult-figure in North America, like her parents. During numerous shootings, Asia began to write and would eventually sell these stories for magazines, and she even composed a novel.
1998 was also the year of Dario Argento’s Phantom of the Opera. If Asia isn’t all that bad under the circumstances, the picture would be sunk by the international press and proclaimed a total embarrassment, as it is a real disaster. Asia will continue to appear on the cover of Italian magazines, sometimes more or less clothed, as she became an idol in her country. In 2000, she directed her first full-time feature, Scarlet Diva, sometimes with experimental tones, proposing the story of a young actress directing her first film.
Asia could be then seen in another version of the venerable Victor Hugo classic Les Misérables, this time for French TV, with Gérard Depardieu in the immortal role of Jean Valjean, alongside John Malkovich, Jeanne Moreau and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Still in France the same year, Asia becomes an alluring gothic vampire for the horror movie Les morsures de l’aube. Very enticing! She then appeared on a documentary on her father, Dario Argento: An Eye for Horror, which includes among its guests John Carpenter, Alice Cooper… and Fiore Argento, the big sister (who had a small role in Trauma). In 2001, Asia gave birth to a daughter (a future Cult Siren for a third Argento generation? Everyone on their knees and pray! Her page is already reserved here!).
In 2002, we have seen Asia in the box-office hit xXx with Vin Diesel and Samuel L. Jackson (for which she graced the cover of many American magazines, Rolling Stone among them) and a French movie titled La sirène rouge. It seems that Asia Argento will pursue a higher profile career and it will surely be interesting to see her progress as an actress, director and author. Just over 30 years old and a great fighting spirit, she remains a fascinating artist with a future even more promising than any lame-ass young American actress of the moment. And she has an angel tattooed around her navel, so how can we be wrong?
1986 Demons 2 1989 Zoo; The Church; Palombella rossa 1992 Close Friends 1993 Condemned to Wed; Trauma 1994 DeGenerazione; Let’s Not Keep in Touch; La reine Margot 1995 Bits and Pieces 1996 Traveling Companion; The Stendhal Syndrome 1998 Viola Kisses Everybody; New Rose Hotel; B. Monkey; The Phantom of the Opera 2000 Scarlet Diva 2001 L’assenzio; Les morsures de l’aube 2002 La sirène rouge; xXx; Ginostra 2004 The Keeper; The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things 2005 Last Days; Land of the Dead 2006 Marie Antoinette; Transylvania 2007 Une vieille maîtresse; Boarding Gate; Go Go Tales; Mother of Tears 2008 De la guerre 2009 Diamond 13 2011 Cavalli; Isole; Baciato dalla fortuna; Drifters 2012 Dracula; Do Not Disturb