Tuesday, October 3, 2023

I’m very insecure while acting, says Penelope Cruz

Sanity, motherhood and a plush apartment: Spanish beauty Penélope Cruz charts out her plan.
There was a time when the Spanish siren Penélope Cruz couldn’t turn her back on an interesting role. The result? The Oscar-winning actress worked round the clock and found herself edging closer and closer to a nervous breakdown.
But after her recent Cannes outing, where she promoted her tragic love drama Broken Embraces, tabloid! caught Cruz in a chirpier mood. In an exclusive e-mail interview, the actress says she has learnt the hard way to take it easy.
“I’ve worked myself to exhaustion in the past, but now my life feels more balanced. There was a point where my life was all about work. It was a hard lesson to learn that sometimes it is so much healthier to say no to a role that you like,” says Cruz.
She is currently riding high after winning the Oscar for best supporting actress in Woody Allen’s relationship comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
She may have learnt to loosen up, but the firebrand actress is yet to master the art of letting go. While shooting, the 34-year-old Volver star is hardly the picture of poise, and on a particularly bad working day Cruz can be more volatile than the fiery characters she’s known for playing. Splitting hairs about her role, understanding its nuances and demanding umpteen retakes are all in a day’s work.
“I can be very insecure while acting. I’m always like that on a shooting set. As soon as I finish a take, I come up with something which I think would work better or something that I should have done but didn’t. And if I don’t get to do another take, I torture myself for the rest of the day.”
Though she is aware that such exacting standards may rob her of her sanity, her insecurities take a back seat when she’s working with the award-winning Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar. Their long-standing bond has resulted in some cinematic gems like All About My Mother (which won the Oscar in 2000 for best foreign language film), Volver and Live Flesh.
“He knows me as if he was my second mother. He can see through me – it is scary sometimes. And when you work with Pedro, you go into his world. He chooses the colour of the chairs as much as he chooses the words you say. Every movie is his child, his baby, and working that way makes it very personal.”
It is evident that she has no qualms about placing her mentor on a pedestal. Case in point: Her responses are peppered with superlatives about the maverick filmmaker. “I was always obsessed with Pedro and we share a special relationship. We are good friends and my house is full of presents from Pedro – mainly paintings and pictures. He has always been there for me,” says Cruz.
But the Spanish beauty is not as lucky when it comes to striking long-enduring relationships with her leading men. Thecross-over beauty has more often than not ended up having a rocky romance with her colleagues. Think Tom Cruise (Vanilla Sky), Matt Damon (All The Pretty Horses), Matthew McConaughey (Sahara) and Javier Bardem (Vicky Cristina Barcelona).
Unfortunately, some high-profile break-ups mean the diminutive actress has not always ended on a woman-on-top note.
Still, she is more than happy to share her thoughts. “I don’t like to discuss my relationships. But I can tell you that being with another actor doesn’t make the relationship more difficult or easier. I think it is just good to have somebody who understands you. I don’t think a successful relationship depends on being in the same profession either.”
If the grapevine is anything to by, she is already having trouble with man-of-the-moment Bardem, with constant bickerings reported. But her future is not too murky. Cruz has charted out elaborate plans, although she is yet to pin a timeline to them.
Motherhood and a plush apartment in New York top her agenda. “I want to have, probably, one or two kids. But I cannot plan such things. Also, I think I’d like to live in two places – maybe Madrid and New York or Madrid and LA. For sure, I am going to get an apartment in New York this summer.”
But the passionate actress is not willing to let her blossoming maternal instincts crowd her career. “There is so much more I want to do. I refuse to get to 50 and wait at home for the phone to ring.
“In Spain, actresses work until they are old. That’s my plan.”
No diva
On one end of the spectrum we have divas like Mariah Carey who never travel without an entourage and half a dozen humidifiers. But Penélope Cruz is cut from a no-frills cloth. When she is attending big events, she travels with a three-member team comprising her stylist, her secretary and her manager. “I don’t travel with that many people. The one thing I need in the hotel room is space and a very comfortable bed, because I love to sleep.”
Cruz’s take on..
WILD RUMOURS: “One of the funniest and silliest might have been the one about Salma [Hayek, left] and I being a romantic couple.”
ACTING IN BOLLYWOOD MUSICALS: “If a good script comes my way and it is something I am interested in doing, then why not? In fact, there were talks about a movie adaptation of Javier Moro’s novel Pasion India. But no production has started yet.”
HER WEIRDEST TRAIT: “When I am upset about something, I keep repeating the same word over and over again. I think it helps me get rid of my nervous energy.”
HER NEXT DUBAI VISIT: “Dubai is a fascinating city. I would love to visit again and take some time to get to know the local culture and enjoy the sights.” She was in Dubai last year for the Dubai International Film Festival AmFAR benefit.
HER FAVOURITE MAKE-UP ITEMS: L’Oreal’s Infallible lipstick and Extra Volume Collagene mascara.
AGEING GRACEFULLY: “Ageing is a natural and a beautiful process. Look at all those celebrities who have aged gracefully, like Sophia Loren and Jane Fonda.”
PLAYING DARK AND DISTURBING ROLES: “I usually undergo a unique preparation for [Almodóvar’s] roles. I try to go deep into the personality, her psychology and her past.” 
Courtesy of gulfnews.com

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