Hannah made her film debut in 1978 with a brief appearance in Brian De Palma's horror film The Fury. Her first notable role came as the acrobatic and violent replicant, Pris, in Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner. She then was cast as a beautiful blonde mermaid in Ron Howard's 1984 fantasy, Splash, which starred Tom Hanks and was a major financial success, establishing Hannah as a high-profile film actress.
Hannah's successes in the remainder of the 1980s ranged from Steel Magnolias and the Academy Award-winning Wall Street to the 1986 film version of the best-seller The Clan of the Cave Bear. She starred in the title role of Fred Schepisi's 1987 film Roxanne, a modern retelling of Edmond Rostand's play Cyrano de Bergerac, a performance which was described as "sweet" and "gentle" by film critic Roger Ebert.
She also appeared in The Pope of Greenwich Village with co-stars Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts and played the daughter of Jack Lemmon in both of the Grumpy Old Men comedies. In 1995, Hannah was chosen by Empire magazine as #96 of the "100 Sexiest Stars in Film History." That same year she appeared as homicidal sociopath Leann Netherwood in The Tie That Binds.
Of her most recent roles, the most memorable may be that of the one-eyed assassin Elle Driver in Kill Bill Volume 1 and Kill Bill Volume 2, directed by Quentin Tarantino. Her performance in these films, as well as her appearances in Northfork, Michael Radford's Dancing at the Blue Iguana, John Sayles' Casa de los Babys and Silver City, have been described by some as a comeback.
Hannah wrote, directed and produced a short film, The Last Supper, which won an award at the Berlin Film Festival. She directed, produced and was cinematographer for the documentary Strip Notes. It aired on Channel 4 in the UK and on HBO and was about the research Hannah did for her role as a stripper in Dancing at the Blue Iguana.
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