Álex de la Iglesia

Alejandro "Álex" de la Iglesia Mendoza (born 4 December 1965) is a Spanish film director, screenwriter, producer and former comic book artist.

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 57)
Bilbao, Biscay, Spain
Alma materUniversity of Deusto
  • Film director
  • screenwriter
  • producer
Amaya Díez
(m. 1997⁠–⁠2010)

(m. 2014)

De la Iglesia's films combine grotesque and very dark elements such as death and murder: most of his works are 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.


Alejandro de la Iglesia Mendoza was born on 4 December 1965 in Bilbao,[1] son to a professor of Sociology (father) and a realist painter (mother) and the youngest of five siblings.[2] He received his primary and secondary education in Jesuitic centres,[3] later earning a licentiate degree in Philosophy from the University of Deusto, likewise a Jesuitic centre.[2]

A comic book artist since young,[2] he had a brief stint in television before finding work as production designer on Pablo Berger's Mamá.[4] 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.

He shared an apartment in the Calle Ledesma with Jorge Guerricaechevarría, Guerrica, who would end up becoming the co-writer of most of his screenplays.[5] He also associated since very early in his film beginnings with other future longstanding collaborators such as art directors Arturo García, Biaffra [ca] (whom he met at the Bilbao's Artistic Reproductions Museum) and José Luis Arrizabalaga, Arri.[5] Together with Guerricaechevarría, de la Iglesia made the short film Mirindas Asesinas (1991),[5] in which a boring man, whose mind is gradually degenerating, is on the verge of becoming a psychotic killer.

Enrique Urbizu came calling for his production designer services in 1991 for Todo por la pasta (Anything for money),[4] a Basque crime thriller which was nominated for 4 Goya Awards, and won 1 (best supporting actress).

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).[4] 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.[6][7] The unproduced film was scrapped due to escalating budget.[8]

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.

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 were part of the Álex de la Iglesia: Dancing with the Devil at the Toronto International Film Festival 2015.[9]

On November 17, 2017, Álex de la Iglesia received the star on Almeria Walk of Fame.[10][11][12]



Year Film Director Writer Producer Notes
1993 Mutant Action Yes Yes No
1995 The Day of the Beast Yes Yes No
1997 Dance with the Devil Yes Yes No
1999 Dying of Laughter Yes Yes No Also uncredited cameo role as "Espectador que grita a Bruno para que le enseñe las tetas"
2000 Common Wealth Yes Yes No
2002 800 Bullets Yes Yes Uncredited
2004 Ferpect Crime Yes Yes Yes
2008 The Oxford Murders Yes Yes Uncredited
2010 The Last Circus Yes Yes No
2011 As Luck Would Have It Yes No No
2013 Witching & Bitching Yes Yes No
2014 Messi Yes No No Documentary film about Lionel Messi
Words With Gods Segment director Segmenet writer Segment producer Segment "The Confession"
2015 My Big Night Yes Yes No
2017 The Bar Yes Yes Yes
Perfect Strangers Yes Yes Yes
2021 Veneciafrenia Yes Yes Yes
2022 El cuarto pasajero Yes Yes Yes
TBD Mandrágora[13] Yes Yes Yes Pre-production

Producer onlyEdit

Year Title Notes
2014 Shrew's Nest Presenter
2015 Los Heroes del Mal
2017 Skins
2018 Up Among the Stars
70 Big Ones
TBA La piedad (Piety)

Short filmEdit

Year Film Director Writer Notes
1990 Mirindas Asesinas Yes Yes Also art director
2000 ¡Enigma en el bosquecillo! Yes No
2006 El Codigo Yes Yes Also editor, sound and actor
Role: Interviewer (voice)
Hitler está vivo Yes Yes Also editor
2011 Cómicos Yes Yes Advertising Short
2013 El Contrato de Vodafone Yu Yes Yes
2018 Una vez en la vida Yes Yes Advertising short;

destroyed film

Other workEdit

Year Film Work Notes
1988 Tú novia esta loca Collaborator Film
Mama Art director Short film
1991 Todo por la pasta Film
2014 Torrente 5 Script consultant


Year Film Director Writer Producer Notes
2006 The Baby's Room Yes Yes No TV Movie
2008 Plutón B.R.B. Nero Yes Yes Co-Producer TV Series;

also cameo in 1 episode as "El Padre"

2009 La tragedia de Franco Yes Yes No TV Short film;

also actor as himself

2020 30 Coins Yes Yes Executive TV Series

As actorEdit



  1. ^ Vázquez Rodríguez, Lucía. "Matemáticas en el cine I: Los crímenes de Oxford" (PDF). Épsilon - Revista de Educación Matemática. Universidad de los Andes. 13: 85.
  2. ^ a b c "Álex de la Iglesia". La Revista. El Mundo. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  3. ^ "«Soy histriónico, sobreactuado, soberbio y un auténtico petardo» - Álex de la Iglesia". Naiz. 17 February 2019.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b c Redondo, Maite (24 May 2013). "Alex de la Iglesia: "Mi cine ha intentado reproducir la locura controlada que sentí en Bilbao de joven"". Deia. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  6. ^ Green, Willow (November 27, 2000). "Banderas Fights Fu Manchu". Empire.
  7. ^ "Banderas Circles Role in Fu Manchu". Variety. November 26, 2000.
  8. ^ "The Fu Manchu That Almost Was". Black Gate. June 3, 2016.
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ "'Mandrágora', el nuevo filme de Álex de la Iglesia". Deia. 20 July 2022.

External linksEdit