|Joaquim de Almeida|
|Date of Birth||March 15, 1957|
|Birthplace||São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon, Portugal|
Joaquim António Portugal Baptista de Almeida (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒuɐˈkĩ ðɨ aɫˈmɐjðɐ]; born 15 March 1957) is a Portuguese-American actor. He began his acting doing some theater. During the 1980s, he started his film career appearing on the 1982 action film The Soldier, and later achieved recognition for playing Andrea Bonanno in the 1987 Italian film Good Morning, Babylon. He achieved international fame with his portrayals of Félix Cortez in the 1994 thriller Clear and Present Danger and Bucho in the 1995 action thriller Desperado. Several years later, he became popular for playing Ramon Salazar on the Fox thriller drama series 24, between 2003 and 2004, and Hernan Reyes in 2011 street racing film Fast Five. Being fluent in several languages, Almeida has worked in several countries in Europe and the Americas, in many film and stage productions, winning some international awards in films like Retrato de Família, Adão e Eva and O Xangô de Baker Street. His other well-known films include The Honorary Consul (1983), Only You (1994), La Cucaracha (1998), One Man's Hero (1999), Behind Enemy Lines (2001), Whore (2004), The Death and Life of Bobby Z (2007), Che: Part Two (2008) and The Burning Plain (2008).
Joaquim de Almeida was born in Lisbon, on 15 March 1957, son of João Baptista de Almeida and Maria Sara Portugal. At the age of eighteen, after attending the theater course at the Lisbon Conservatory (School of Theatre and Cinema) for two years, he left Portugal to continue his studies after the Conservatory was temporarily closed following the 1974 democratic revolution. He spent a year in Vienna, moving again, in 1976, to New York City where he studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, a school for the performing arts frequented by famous actors such as Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Angelina Jolie.
After doing some theater, Almeida started his film career in 1982 appearing in The Soldier. His first significant role came in a 1983 film, The Honorary Consul, where he starred alongside Michael Caine, Richard Gere and Bob Hoskins, being his first appearance in an American film. Despite cameo appearances in TV series such as Miami Vice, it was some years later that he made huge impact in his career, appearing in the Good Morning, Babylon, a film, directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, that opened the Cannes Film Festival in 1987. Being fluent in six languages, he continued his acting career in several countries such as Portugal, England, Spain, France, Italy, Brasil, Argentina and Germany, working in numerous films.
In 1994, Joaquim de Almeida played Félix Cortez, a former colonel of Cuban military intelligence in the Phillip Noyce's thriller Clear and Present Danger, co-starring Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe and Anne Archer. The film debuted at number one in the box office, earning a reported $20.5 million in the United States. Clear and Present Danger was a great success and was nominated for two Academy Awards. Later in 1994, Almeida starred alongside Robert Downey, Jr., Marisa Tomei and Bonnie Hunt in the romantic comedy Only You, in which he plays a suave Italian businessman named Giovanni. According The New York Times, the film director and producer Norman Jewison said: "I interviewed many actors for the role.... There was one Italian actor, fairly prominent, that I met in L.A. and again in New York and in Rome. And I wanted to meet several other Italian actors in Italy.". When the production moved from Pittsburgh to Italy last fall, however, none of the country's actors seemed right for what Mr. Jewison called "the cliched Italian gigolo, the guy that women from the Midwest always meet." After the interview with Joaquim de Almeida, Mr. Jewison recalls: "Howard Feuer, the casting director, said, 'Joaquim's not that tall. He's not that handsome. He's no Rossano Brazzi here.' I said, 'But listen to his voice.' There's a machoness. Especially when he lowers it, whispers, leans across the table and pours you another glass of wine. He can be extremely intimate with his voice."
In 1995, Almeida co-starred with Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek in the Robert Rodriguez's action thriller Desperado. This film is the sequel to Rodriguez's independent film El Mariachi and the second entry in the Mexico Trilogy. Joaquim de Almeida portrays the main villain, a wealthy but casually bloodthirsty drug kingpin, named Bucho, who rules a seedy Mexican border town. Desperado was screened out of competition at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. He won a Portuguese Golden Globe for Best Actor in his next film, the 1995 Portuguese drama Adão e Eva (Adam and Eve), where he played the main female character career rival Francisco.
In 1997, he starred in the Luís Galvão Teles' drama Elles (Women). The film is a sensuous but overstuffed soap opera about women, named Linda, of a certain age confronting the usual insecurities, offers one solution to the problem of how to cram five personal dramas into the same film. Almeida played Linda's husband Gigi. Next year, he co-starred with Eric Roberts in the 1998 Jack Perez's thriller La Cucaracha. The plot follows a New Jersey office worker Walter, who quits his job and heads to Santiago, Mexico, to become a writer but instead is thrust into the role of hitman by Almeida's character Jose Guerra. The film premiered at the Austin Film Festival where it won the Feature Film Award.
In 2001, Joaquim de Almeida starred in the Brazilian comedy O Xangô de Baker Street, where he plays the legendary British detective Sherlock Holmes. The film is based in a book written in 1995 by the Brazilian author Jô Soares about a case involving Sherlock Holmes and is his loyal friend Doctor Watson, who are called by the Brazilian Emperor Pedro II, to find the thief of a priceless Stradivarius owned by his lover. Due Almeida's good representation of the character, he won another Portuguese Golden Globe for best actor, his third, and was nominated for Cinema Brazil Grand Prize award for best actor. Also in 2001 Almeida had a great supporting role in the war film Behind Enemy Lines as Admiral Juan Miguel Piquet, the commander of NATO's naval forces, starring alongside Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman. The film, based on the Mrkonjić Grad incident, is centered on the story of an American naval flight officer, played by Owen Wilson, who was shot down over Bosnia, who ends up uncovering a massacre during the Bosnian conflict.
Joaquim de Almeida as Admiral Juan Miguel Piquet in Behind Enemy Lines (2001). In 2004, he starred with Daryl Hannah and Denise Richards in Yo Puta, a gritty docu-style prostitution tale, based on a bestselling book by Spaniard Isabel Pisano, that tracks the slow descent of a girl, into the sex business, which is interspersed with interviews with real-life prostitutes. In 2007, Joaquim de Almeida limns a brutal foreman named Baxter, in the Antonio Cuadri's El corazón de la tierra, a heady romance with a social conscience. Later that year, he turned his attention towards romantic drama La Cucina, a film about several mostly separated storylines in which couples, friends and associates meet for a night of cooking and befriending. Almeida portrays a Spanish born photo journalist named Michael. Next year, he starred in the Che: Part Two, a biographical film about an Argentine doctor-turned-international revolutionary named Ernesto Guevara. Almeida played President René Barrientos, a former Bolivian politician who served as his country's Vice President in 1964 and as its President from 1964 to 1969. In the same year he also appeared in the drama film The Burning Plain as local man named Nick Martinez, starring alongside Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger.
On July 16, 2010, Joaquim de Almeida was confirmed to be taking on the role of antagonist Hernan Reyes in the 2011 action film Fast Five directed by Justin Lin and co-starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson. Hernan Reyes is a corrupt businessman and ruthless Brazilian drug lord who provides resources to the favelas in Rio to gain control over them. The film took $3.8 million in receipts during launch midnight showings marking the best ever opening for a Universal title and The Fast and The Furious franchise. Fast Five became the highest grossing film of 2011 for 15 days before being replaced on May 30, 2011.