Asia Argento

Asia Argento (Italian: [ˈaːzja arˈdʒento];[1][2] born Aria Maria Vittoria Rossa Argento, 20 September 1975)[3] is an Italian actress and director. The daughter of filmmaker Dario Argento, she had roles in the films XXX (2002), Land of the Dead (2005) and Marie Antoinette (2006). She has won two David di Donatello awards for Best Actress for Let's Not Keep in Touch (1994) and Traveling Companion (1996).[4]

Asia Argento
Aria Maria Vittoria Rossa Argento

(1975-09-20) 20 September 1975
Rome, Italy
Other namesAria Argento
OccupationActress, director, singer, model, DJ, writer
Years active1985–present
Michele Civetta
(m. 2008; div. 2013)
Partner(s)Marco Castoldi (2000–2006)
Anthony Bourdain (2017–2018, his death)

After the Weinstein scandal in 2017, she became a leader of the "#MeToo" women's rights movement.[5] In August 2018, The New York Times detailed allegations that Argento sexually assaulted actor Jimmy Bennett in 2013 when he was 17 and she was 37;[6] Argento denied the allegations.[7]

Early life

Her father is Dario Argento, an Italian film director, producer and screenwriter, well known for his work in the Italian giallo genre and for his influence on modern horror and slasher movies.[8] Her mother is actress Daria Nicolodi and her maternal great-grandfather was composer Alfredo Casella.[3]

When Argento was born in Rome, the city registry office refused to acknowledge "Asia" as an appropriate name, and instead officially inscribed her as "Aria" (a name accepted by the city registry). She nonetheless always went by the name Asia, which she later used professionally.[9] She pronounces her name as "AH-zee-ah," which friends sometimes abbreviate to sound like "Ozzie." Argento has said that as a child she was lonely and depressed, owing in part to her parents' work.[10] Her father used to read her his horror scripts as bedtime stories.[11] At age eight, Argento published a book of poems.[11] At the age of 14, she ran away from home.[10]

Argento has mentioned in interviews that she does not have a close relationship with her father.[12][13] She has mentioned that he was absent when she was a child, and has also mentioned that, because of this, she did not have a happy childhood.[14] Regarding her relationship with her father and her reason for acting, she has stated that:

I never acted out of ambition; I acted to gain my father's attention. It took a long time for him to notice me – I started when I was nine, and he only cast me when I was 16. And he only became my father when he was my director. I always thought it was sick to choose looking at yourself on a big screen as your job. There has to be something crooked in your mind to want to be loved by everybody. It's like being a prostitute, to share that intimacy with all those people.

In an interview with Filmmaker magazine, she stated that, at one time, "I was sick for a while; I was agoraphobic. I was afraid to go out of my apartment for a long time, I could only go out to work." [14]


Asia Argento began to act at the age of nine,[15] when she was cast in a small role in a film by Sergio Citti.[12] When she was 18, she starred in her father's film Trauma (1993).[14] She received the David di Donatello[16] (Italy's version of the Academy Award) for Best Actress in 1994 for her performance in Perdiamoci di vista, and again in 1996 for Compagna di viaggio, which also earned her a Grolla d'oro award. Argento subsequently began to appear in English-language movies, such as B. Monkey and New Rose Hotel (both 1998). Argento also performed in French-language roles, beginning with Charlotte de Sauve La Reine Margot (1994).[14]

Around the same time, she made her first foray into directing with the short films Prospettive and A ritroso (both 1994) and a documentary about her father (in 1996) and Abel Ferrara (in 1998).[14] In 2000, Argento directed and wrote her first fiction feature film, Scarlet Diva (2000),[14] which her father co-produced.[14] In a review, Filmmaker magazine called the film "riotously funny" and dubbed Argento "a filmmaker with a great degree of promise."[14]

She achieved wider recognition when she portrayed Russian undercover spy Yelena in the Hollywood action film XXX (2002),[17] alongside Vin Diesel.[18] The film grossed $277.4 million and launched Argento to international fame. She directed her second feature film, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (2004), based on a book by JT LeRoy.[13]

In addition to her cinematic accomplishments, Argento has written a number of stories for magazines such as Dynamo and L'Espresso, while her first novel, titled I Love You Kirk, was published in Italy in 1999. She has modeled for the denim jeans brand Miss Sixty.[19] She became a fan of the band Hondo Maclean when they wrote a track named after her and liked the track so much that she sent them pictures which they used as the cover of their 2003 album Plans for a Better Day.[20]

She appeared in Placebo's music video for "This Picture", and appeared on Placebo frontman Brian Molko's cover version of "Je t'aime... moi non plus". Argento has also starred in Catherine Breillat's period drama The Last Mistress.[21][22] She dubbed the Italian version of the video game Mirror's Edge in the role of the runner Faith Connors, from 2008 to 2009.

Argento has been part of the Legendary Tiger Man's project Femina, which was released on 14 September 2009. She is featured on the song "Life Ain't Enough for You", which was released as a single along with the B-side "My stomach is the most violent of all Italy", in which she also contributes vocals.[23]

In May 2013, Argento's debut album, entitled Total Entropy, was released by Nuun Music.[24]

In 2014, Argento played supporting role in the British film Shongram, a fictional romantic drama based around the factual and historical events of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.[25][26]

Also in 2014, she directed her third feature film, titled Misunderstood (2014), was selected to compete in the Un Certain Regard section at that year's Cannes Film Festival.[27] That year, while promoting the film, Argento stated that she was through with acting and that she had made the decision to focus her energies on writing and directing.[28]

Personal life

Besides Italian, Argento speaks English and French, which she learned for her role in Les Morsures de L'Aube.[14]

Her first child, Anna Lou, was born in 2001.[29] Italian rock and roll musician Marco Castoldi (lead singer of Bluvertigo), also known as Morgan, is the father.[11] She named her daughter after her half-sister Anna Ceroli, who died in a motorcycle accident.

Argento married film director Michele Civetta on 27 August 2008 in Arezzo. Her second child, Nicola Giovanni, was born in 2008 in Rome. The couple divorced in 2013.[10] She and her children live in Vigna Clara neighborhood of Rome.[15]

In early 2017, it was reported by several Italian news sources that Argento was in a relationship with celebrity chef and host of Parts Unknown Anthony Bourdain.[30][31][32] Bourdain died by suicide in Kaysersberg-Vignoble, Haut-Rhin, France, on 8 June 2018.[33]

Sexual assault allegation by Argento against Harvey Weinstein

Argento alleged in an October 2017 New Yorker article by Ronan Farrow that she had been sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein in the 1990s. She also said that she had consensual sexual relations with him multiple times over the course of the next five years. She confirmed that a scene in Scarlet Diva where her character is accosted by a movie executive was indeed a reference to Weinstein.[34] Later, Argento stated that the "article did a huge disservice to me and to my truth by simplifying all this," and accused Farrow of "misrepresenting" what happened to her.[35]

After being criticised for her account in Italian media and politics, Argento moved to Germany to escape what she described as a culture of "victim blaming" in Italy.[36]

Argento delivered a speech on 20 May 2018, following the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, calling the festival Weinstein's "hunting ground", alleging that she was raped by Weinstein in Cannes when she was 21. She added, "And even tonight, sitting among you, there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women."[37]

Sexual assault allegation against Argento

On August 19, 2018, The New York Times published allegations that Argento sexually assaulted actor Jimmy Bennett.[6] Argento had first met Bennett when he played her son in the 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things when Bennett was 7 years old.[6] The alleged assault occurred in 2013 when he was two months past his 17th birthday in a hotel room in California where the age of consent is 18; Argento was 37 at the time.[6] According to Bennett, in their encounter Argento gave him alcohol, performed oral sex on him and engaged him in intercourse.[6] The actress had quietly arranged a $380,000 nondisclosure settlement with Bennett in the months following her revelations regarding Weinstein.[6] Bennett said when Argento came out against Weinstein, it stirred memories of his own experience in 2013. He imparted he had sought to resolve the matter privately,[38] and had not spoken out sooner "because I was ashamed and afraid to be part of the public narrative."[39] In a statement provided to the Times, he said: "I was underage when the event took place, and I tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to me at the time because I was not ready to deal with the ramifications of my story becoming public. At the time I believed there was still a stigma to being in the situation as a male in our society. I didn’t think that people would understand the event that took place from the eyes of a teenage boy." Bennett said he would like to "move past this event in my life," adding, “today I choose to move forward, no longer in silence."[39]

Argento denied the allegations, claiming that she never had a sexual encounter with Bennett and that when he made a request for money to her, her partner Anthony Bourdain paid him to avoid negative publicity.[7] On August 22, she released a statement to journalist Yashar Ali, reading: "I strongly deny and oppose the contents of the New York Times article dated 20 August 2018, as circulated also in national and international news. I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false. I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett."[40] A spokeswoman for the Times responded, "We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting, which was based on verified documents and multiple sources."[39] Fellow #MeToo advocate Rose McGowan initially expressed support for Argento and implored others to show restraint, stating, "None of us know the truth of the situation and I'm sure more will be revealed. Be gentle."[40] McGowan faced criticism on social media for her comments, which contradicted the #MeToo movement's message of believing survivors.[40] Following Argento's denials, a photograph of her topless in bed with Bennett was published, as well as her alleged admission of sex with him in text messages to model Rain Dove. In the screenshots, Argento reputedly stated: "I had sex with him it felt weird. I didn't know he was a minor until the shakedown letter."[41] In a letter published online in September 2018, Argento's attorney admitted there was a sexual encounter, but claimed Bennett "sexually attacked" Argento.[42] Amid the allegations, it was announced that Argento had been dropped as a judge on X-Factor Italy.[43]


In 2012, Argento was highlighted in the retrospective Argento: Il Cinema Nel Sangue at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City.[44] The retrospective celebrated the influence of the Argento family on filmmaking in Italy and around the world. It highlighted Asia's contribution as well as that of her mother (Daria Nicolodi), father, grandfather (Salvatore), and uncle (Claudio).[45][46][47]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Demons 2 Ingrid Haller Debut
1988 Zoo Martina
1989 The Church Lotte
1989 Red Wood Pigeon Valentina
1992 Close Friends Simona
1993 Trauma Aura Petrescu
1993 Condannato a nozze Olivia a.k.a. Diary of a Man Condemned to Marriage
1994 Perdiamoci di vista Arianna a.k.a. Let's Not Keep in Touch
1994 Queen Margot Charlotte de Sauve
1994 DeGenerazione Lorna
1996 The Stendhal Syndrome Det. Anna Manni
1996 Traveling Companion Cora
1998 Viola Kisses Everybody Viola
1998 New Rose Hotel Sandii
1998 B. Monkey Beatrice
1998 The Phantom of the Opera Christine Daaé
2000 Scarlet Diva Anna Battista Also wrote and directed
2001 Les Morsures de l'aube Violaine Charlier a.k.a. Love Bites
2002 The Red Siren Det. Anita Staro
2002 XXX Yelena
2004 The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things Sarah Also co-wrote and directed
2004 The Keeper Gina
2005 Last Days Asia
2005 Cindy: The Doll Is Mine Cindy Sherman / The Model Short film
2005 Land of the Dead Slack
2006 Live Freaky! Die Freaky! Habagail Folger (voice)
2006 Marie Antoinette Madame du Barry
2006 Transylvania Zingarina
2006 Friendly Fire Grand Dame Video
2007 Boarding Gate Sandra
2007 Go Go Tales Monroe
2007 The Last Mistress Vellini
2007 The Mother of Tears Sarah Mandy
2008 On War Uma
2009 Diamond 13 Calhoune
2011 Horses Madre
2011 Islands Martina
2011 Baciato dalla fortuna Betty
2011 Drifters Beatrice Plana
2012 Dracula 3D Lucy Kisslinger
2012 Do Not Disturb Monica
2012 Firmeza Asia Short film
2013 The Voice Thief Naya Short film
2013 Obsessive Rhythms Margo
2014 Shongram Sarah
2014 Misunderstood Director and writer
2017 The Executrix Isidora


Year Title Role Notes
1985 Sogni e bisogni Gloria Episode: "Il ritorno di Guerriero"
2000 Les Misérables Éponine Thénardier TV miniseries
2004 Milady Sally La Chèvre TV film
2011 Sangue caldo Anna Rosi Episodes: "1.1", "1.2"
2014 Rodolfo Valentino – La leggenda Natacha Rambova Episode: "1.2"
2016 Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown Herself Season 8, Episode 10: "Southern Italy: The Heel of the Boot"
2016 Ballando con le stelle Contestant Series 11
2018 The X Factor Italy Judge series 12; auditions-judges' houses

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2008–2009 Mirror's Edge Faith Connors Dubbed in the Italian version; Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/Microsoft Windows version

Music videos


Album Released
Asia Argento (1 Disco Sux / 2 U Just Can't Stop the Rock / 3 Sad Core)2008
Total Entropy2013


  1. "Fermi tutti: Asia Argento non si chiama davvero Asia".
  2. "Asia Argento".
  3. "Asia Argento Biography (1975–)". Retrieved 10 August 2008.
  4. Enrico Lancia. I premi del cinema. Gremese Editore, 1998. ISBN 88-7742-221-1.
  5. Nyren, Erin (20 August 2018). "Asia Argento Settled With Sexual Assault Accuser Last Year (Report)". Variety. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  6. Severson, Kim (19 August 2018). "Asia Argento, Who Accused Weinstein, Made Deal With Her Own Accuser". The New York Times. New York City: New York Times Company. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  7. Mumford, Gwilym; Kirchgaessner, Stephanie (21 August 2018). "Asia Argento denies sexual assault of 17-year-old actor". The Guardian. London, England: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  8. Noh, Jean (5 October 2014). "Asia Argento discusses her father". Screen Daily. London, England: Media Business Insight. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
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  14. "Dangerous Beauty". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved on 16 February 2008.
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  16., Asia Argento, Horrific Filmography. Archived 20 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 16 February 2008.
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  18. KJB (7 August 2002). "Asia Argento Talks xXx". IGN. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  19. "Asia Argento In Miss Sixty Ad Campaign". 4 March 2008.
  20. "Hondo Maclean biography". BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  21. Kristin Hohenade. "Therapy for Paralysis: Controversial Film". New York Times. 28 January 2007
  22. " Peut-on jouer Barbey ? ", Anne-Elisabeth Blateau, in Carré d'art : Byron, Barbey d'Aurevilly, Dali, Hallier, Jean-Pierre Thiollet, Anagramme Editions, 2008, p. 143-149. ISBN 978-2-35035-189-6
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  30. "Anthony Bourdain shows off romance with Italian star Asia Argento". 16 May 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
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  33. "Le chef américain Anthony Bourdain est décédé, selon son employeur CNN" (in French). Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  34. Farrow, Ronan (10 October 2017). "From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein's Accusers Tell Their Stories". The New Yorker. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
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  43. Slingerland, Calum (27 August 2018). "Asia Argento Dropped from 'X Factor Italy' After Sexual Misconduct Allegations". Exclaim! Media. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
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