Who is Elsa Pataky?
Elsa Pataky is a Spanish actor, model, and film producer. She is best known on the international stage as ‘Elena Neves,’ which was the name of her character in the ‘The Fast and the Furious’ franchise for several years. Pataky first appeared in ‘Fast Five’ and reprised her role in ‘Fast & Furious 6,’ ‘Furious 7,’ and ‘The Fate of the Furious.’ She has also appeared in Hollywood films such as ‘Snakes on a Plane’ (2006), ‘Giallo’ (2009), and ‘Give 'Em Hell, Malone’ (2009). However, although she now lives in Australia with her husband, Chris Hemsworth, and their three children, she remains a popular star in her native country, Spain, through her many starring roles in both TV series and native Spanish films. She starred in the 2010 Spanish film ‘Di Di Hollywood.’ She now spends most of her time in Australia, where she has recently appeared in the Australian TV series ‘Tidelands.’
Childhood & Early Life
Pataky was born Elsa Lafuente Medianu, in Madrid, Spain. Her mother, Cristina Medianu Pataky, is a well-known publicist, and her father, José Francisco Lafuente, is a Spanish biochemist. Through her mother, Pataky is of both Hungarian and Romanian descent.
Pataky attended the ‘Universidad CEU San Pablo,’ where she studied journalism. She also enrolled into acting classes to pursue her dream of becoming an actor. In addition to Spanish and Romanian, she is fluent in English, Italian, and French, having studied languages throughout her childhood and early acting career.
Pataky was also a member of a Madrid theater company named ‘Teatro Cámara de Ángel Gutiérrez,’ and she eventually left university when she was cast in the local Spanish TV series ‘Al Salir de Clase’ in 1997.
Many of Pataky’s subsequent films were co-productions with the UK and France, which introduced her to both French and English langauges. This helped her in her career, too.
Pataky was part of the cast of the US TV series ‘Queen of Swords’ (2000). She portrayed ‘Señora Vera Hidalgo’ in 14 episodes of the series. However, the series was not successful and was canceled after a few episodes were aired. As a young actor, she also had a recurring role in the Spanish TV series ‘Los Serrano,’ as a young teacher in love with her student. She appeared in 11 episodes of the long-running drama. .
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Elsa Pataky’s success in Spain has been nothing short of phenomenal, with roles in more than 18 films and three TV series. She has also been part of innumerable national endorsements and has made many celebrity appearances.
Elsa’s first film, ‘El Arte de Morir,’ (2000) was a major hit in Spain. She worked consistently in a wide range of film genres, including comedy, action, drama, and thriller. Her title role in the comedy film ‘NINETTE’ (2005), which was written and directed by ‘Academy Award’-winning José Luis Garci, brought her unanimous critical acclaim. It also established Pataky as a rising star and a potential leading lady.
Pataky has appeared in many Spanish films. She has co-starred in the French film ‘Iznogood’ and has appeared in ‘Manuale d'amore 2’ (2007). The latter had the second-biggest box-office opening weekend ever in Italy. In 2008, Elsa appeared in another French movie, ‘Skate or Die,’ directed by Miguel Courtois. However, she found international fame in Hollywood.
Elsa launched her Hollywood film career in 2006, in a supporting role in the film ‘Snakes on A Plane,’ appearing alongside Samuel L Jackson. She became famous after playing ‘Officer Elena Neves’ in the 2011 movie ‘Fast Five,’ with Dwayne Johnson as her partner, ‘Luke Hobbs.’ Pataky reprised her role as ‘Neves’ in ‘Fast & Furious 6’ (2013), ‘Furious 7’ (2015), and ‘The Fate of the Furious’ (2017), the sixth, seventh, and eighth installments of ‘The Fast and the Furious’ franchise.
In 2010, Pataky became the face of ‘Time Force's first jewelry collection, ‘Ultimate Jewel,’ appearing in the promotional campaign alongside footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. Following this, ‘NextMovie.com’ named her one of the “Breakout Stars to Watch For in 2011.”
In 2018, Pataky starred as ‘Adrielle’ in the Australian web-based series ‘Tidelands.’ It was released on ‘Netflix’ on December 14, 2018.
She produced the 2013 romantic drama ‘The Wine of Summer.’
Family & Personal Life
Elsa Pataky was born Elsa Lafuente Medianu, in Madrid, Spain, on July 18, 1976. Her stage name was inspired by her maternal grandmother, Rosa Pataky. Elsa speaks five languages (Spanish, French, English, Italian, and Romanian) and has a younger half-brother, Cristian Prieto Medianu, who is a film director in Spain.
Because of her travel and filming commitments Pataky found it difficult to form long-term relationships during her early career, though she was briefly engaged to Michael Youn in 2004–2005.
Pataky started dating American actor Adrien Brody in 2006. On her 31st birthday, in 2007, Brody gifted her a large 19th-century property in up-state New York. The couple was later photographed relaxing at their home in New York and was featured in a 30-page article in ‘HELLO!’ (October 2008). However, they split in 2009.
In early 2010, Pataky started dating Australian actor Chris Hemsworth. They had met through their shared management team, ‘ROAR.’ Pataky and Hemsworth married on December 26 2010, after remaining engaged for 5 months. They have three children: a daughter, India Rose, born in May 2012, and twin sons, Tristan and Sasha, born in March 2014.
In September 2012, Spain's ‘Supreme Court’ ordered the Spanish publishing group ‘Ediciones Zeta’ to pay Pataky €310,000 in damages. Allegedly, the magazine ‘Interviu,’ part of the ‘Zeta’ stable, had published revealing photos of Pataky that were taken secretly while Pataky was changing during a 2007 photo shoot for ‘Elle.’
‘Fast Five’ (2011), the fifth in the increasingly successful ‘The Fast and the Furious’ sequence, with Pataky playing ‘Officer Elena Neves,’ opposite Dwayne Johnson, grossed $626,137,675.
‘The Fate of the Furious’ (2017) was the eighth film in the ‘The Fast and the Furious’ franchise, and by far the most successful. Pataky reprised her role as ‘Officer Elena Neves’ and renewed her relationship with her partner, ‘Hobbs,’ played by Dwayne (“The Rock”) Johnstone. The movie grossed $1,238,764,765 worldwide.
‘Tidelands’ (2018) was a highly acclaimed Australian ‘Netflix’ series, featuring Pataky as ‘Adrielle,’ the leader of a mysterious and supernatural cult based in a fictitious and strange Australian beach community. Described as “an aquatic Game of Thrones,” Tidelands represented a strong new development in Elsa Pataky’s career.