What movies did Ana de Armas star in before Blonde?

PHOTO: Instagram/ana_d_armas

Cuban actress Ana de Armas is fast becoming one of the most in-demand performers in Hollywood.

After honing her craft in Spain, the 34-year-old made her English-language debut in 2015 erotic thriller Knock Knock. Since then, she has appeared in some of the biggest blockbusters of recent years, and held her own opposite some of the industry's biggest and most bankable stars.

With this week’s Netflix release of Blonde, in which she plays the greatest screen siren of them all, Marilyn Monroe, we look back at the actress' best English roles to date.

1. War Dogs (2016)

After debuting in a pair of risible Keanu Reeves vehicles, de Armas appeared in Joker director Todd Phillips' meat-headed comedy thriller.

Aiming for the same cynical tone as The Big Short, War Dogs charts the rise and fall of two real-life frat-boy gunrunners, portrayed by Jonah Hill and Miles Teller.

As Teller's long-suffering wife, de Armas isn't given much to do beyond appearing increasingly exasperated with her husband's illegal activities, but she was starting to turn heads.

2. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Denis Villeneuve's Oscar-winning sequel to the Ridley Scott science fiction classic was a wall-to-wall visual feast. Of all its incredible futuristic imagery, a naked de Armas, towering over the city as a giant holographic AI companion, remains one of the most enduring.

Her virtual girlfriend JOI proves, somewhat ironically, to be the film's most loving and compassionate character, devoting herself unreservedly to the happiness of Ryan Gosling's dispirited replicant blade runner. 

3. Knives Out (2019)

Rian Johnson's Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery assembles an eye-watering ensemble of Hollywood heavyweights, including Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis and Christopher Plummer, to name just a few.

And yet, de Armas not only manages to hold her own, but also dominates scenes with these accomplished veterans in her pivotal turn as the victim's loyal nurse, and a potential murder suspect.

Her nuanced performance landed her a Golden Globe nomination for best actress, and won her a Saturn Award. 

ALSO READ: Blonde movie review: Netflix's Marilyn Monroe biopic, starring Ana de Armas, takes hallucinogenic look at Hollywood icon's controversial life

4. No Time to Die (2022)

Reunited with Craig for his long-delayed final outing as super-spy James Bond, de Armas dazzles in her brief yet memorable role as Paloma, a rookie CIA operative who aids 007 in Havana.

In one of the film's stand-out sequences, Paloma whisks Bond into a secret black-tie party packed with Spectre agents, which soon devolves into an all-out brawl.

High-kicking and sharpshooting her way through hordes of goons, de Armas is an absolute delight, whose only flaw is disappearing too soon.

5. Deep Water (2005)

Based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith and directed by Fatal Attraction’s Adrian Lyne, Deep Water harks back to the sleazy erotic thrillers of the 1980s and '90s.

De Armas steams up the lens as the seductive wife of Ben Affleck's wealthy tech mogul, who is encouraged to be unfaithful, only for her various lovers to start going missing.

It's the type of top-drawer trash Hollywood mostly shies away from these days, but de Armas understands the assignment perfectly and delivers with steely-eyed precision. 

6. The Gray Man (2022)

After conquering the world with their Avengers sequels, the Russo brothers were lured to Netflix to direct this astonishingly expensive and star-studded espionage thriller.

De Armas expands on her Bond experience to play Ryan Gosling's capable, gun-toting sidekick, after his CIA hitman becomes the target of his own shady organisation.

The film copped a heap of flak for being emblematic of Netflix's somewhat vacuous blockbuster model, but there is no faulting de Armas, who again proves a physical, charismatic presence and an actress who can effortlessly outshine the biggest male stars in the game. 

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.