Álex de la Iglesia

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Álex de la Iglesia
MJK34833 Álex de la Iglesia (El Bar, Berlinale 2017).jpg
Iglesia at the Berlinale 2017
Alejandro de la Iglesia Mendoza

(1965-12-04) 4 December 1965 (age 54)
Alma materUniversity of Deusto
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter
Amaya Díez (m. 1997⁠–⁠2010)

Carolina Bang (m. 2014)
WebsiteOfficial website

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.[1] 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),[1] 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 Accion mutante (Mutant Action).[1] 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 directors chair for the film.

Also in 1997, Iglesia wrote Payasos en la lavadora (English: 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 & 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.[2][3] The unproduced film was scrapped due to escalating budget.[4]

800 Bullets (2002), a homage to spaghetti westerns, got 4 Goya nominations, 1 win. Crimen ferpecto (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 The Baby's Room.

In 2008, de la Iglesia directed the science-fiction comedy TV series Plutón B.R.B. Nero.

He has directed Elijah Wood and John Hurt in The Oxford Murders, which is his second movie in English, released in Spain in January 2008.


His first feature film Accion mutante received two prizes at the Montreal Fantasia Festival, and three Goya's.[citation needed] For The Day of the Beast (1995), de la Iglesia won the Goya Award for Best Director.[citation needed]

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 was part of the Álex de la Iglesia: Dancing with the Devil at the Toronto International Film Festival 2015.[5]

On November 17, 2017, Álex de la Iglesia received the star on Almeria Walk of Fame.[6][7][8]


As producer[edit]

As actor[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Kercher, Dona (17 February 2015). Latin Hitchcock: How Almodóvar, Amenábar, De la Iglesia, Del Toro, and Campanella became Notorious. Columbia University Press. p. 137. ISBN 9780231850735.
  2. ^ Green, Willow (November 27, 2000). "Banderas Fights Fu Manchu". Empire.
  3. ^ "Banderas Circles Role in Fu Manchu". Variety. November 26, 2000.
  4. ^ "The Fu Manchu That Almost Was". Black Gate. June 3, 2016.
  5. ^ "Toronto: Álex de la Iglesia Series Opens Today at TIFF Bell Lightbox". Fangoria. January 30, 2015. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  6. ^ Rodríguez, Marta; Arellano, María de los Ángeles (17 November 2017). "Álex de la Iglesia: "Almería era la tierra prometida a la que se venía a hacer cine"". La Voz de Almería (in Spanish). Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  7. ^ Cárceles, Miguel (17 November 2017). "Álex de la Iglesia se hace eterno en el 'paseo de la fama' de Almería". Ideal (in Spanish). Corporación de Medios de Andalucía, Sociedad Anónima. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Alex de la Iglesia recibe la estrella en el Paseo de la Fama de Almería". Interalmería TV (in Spanish). 17 November 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2017.

External links[edit]