A burly Spaniard whose soft, open features are equally suited to expressing nice-guy innocence and sociopathic malice, Sergi Lopez came to the attention of an international audience with his title role in Dominik Moll's Harry, un Ami Qui Vous Veut du Bien (With a Friend Like Harry), for which he won Best Actor prizes from the European Film Awards and the French Academy of Cinema.
Hailing from the Catalonian town of Vilanova, where he was born Sergi Lopez Y Ayats on December 22, 1965, Lopez got his start in film in the early '90s. He made his screen debut as the protagonist of Manuel Poirier's La Petite Amie d'Antonio in 1992; the actor's collaboration with French director Poirier would be the first of many. After appearing in a number of subsequent films, including Poirier's La Campagne (1995), Lopez won wide acclaim for his role as a Spanish shoe salesman adrift in a series of picaresque adventures through Brittany, in Poirier's Western (1997). Screened at the Cannes Film Festival, the film was a critical success, earning Lopez probably his greatest exposure to date.
Lopez also continued to act in Spanish productions, including the 1999 film Lisboa, in which he played a salesman who has a lusty affair with a hitchhiker (Carmen Maura) he picks up, and Manuel Gomez Pereira's Entre las piernas (1998), an erotic drama starring Spanish screen goddess Victoria Abril. In addition, even as he became more prominent on the big screen, he continued his involvement in a number of Spanish stage productions.
In 1999, Lopez did some of the most internationally prominent work of his career, when he starred alongside French actress Nathalie Baye in Une Liaison Pornographique. An erotic drama directed by Frederic Fonteyne, it featured Lopez in the role of a Parisian man who embarks on an affair with a stranger (Baye) with whom he explores the parameters of intimacy and anonymity. The film earned critical raves on both sides of the Atlantic, with particular praise going to Lopez and Baye. The success of this film was nicely complemented by that of Harry, un Ami Qui Vous Veut du Bien the following year, with Lopez's portrayal of a creepy guy with a penchant for boiled eggs and murder garnering the actor widespread respect. His rising profile was reflected in the number of projects with which he was subsequently involved, including two more collaborations with Poirier, Te Quiero and Les Femmes....Ou Les Enfants d'Abord, and El Cielo Abierto, which cast him as an analyst whose wife leaves him for another man.