She first came to limelight in the late 1990’s with films like The Hi-Lo Country, Open Your Eyes and Blow. Her effervescent charm and beauty has made her one of the most popular Spanish actresses, not to mention that she is the only Spanish actress to win an Academy Award and also be given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. With her latest film To Rome with Love coming to the screens soon, Penélope Cruz tells us more about her life and working with the quirky Woody Allen.
Q: This is your second collaboration with Woody Allen as a film-maker. Have you ever related to his style as a story-teller? How has it been so far?
A: I have been very lucky to work with Woody. It is always fun with him; he makes every moment so fun filled. I have been a fan of Woody’s work and it’s a always a pleasure to work with him. I love his way of working and storytelling.
Q: In your earlier film with Allen, you played María Elena, a mentally unstable wife/muse to an artist while in this you play Anna, a high-end prostitute. In both your characters, there is a strong underlying passionate woman. How do you think Woody Allen sees you in a character?
A: María Elena was a mad character more often seen bare foot. She is restless and has to create some chaos where ever she is. Anna on the other hand is well dressed, and thinks she is helping society through prostitution. She is street smart unlike María who was smart but mad and innocent.
He (Woody) has given me such beautiful characters and considered me to play such gorgeous yet mad and peculiar characters.
Q: How did the film To Rome With Love happen for you. Also tell us more about your character Anna in the film.
A: The real reason I signed on to this European-based Sony Classics comedy was to follow up with Vicky Cristina Barcelona and once again work with one of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. My character is of a hooker who makes prostitution seem like a desirable character. She is very professional, she looks at this job with dignity, and she wants to be the best at it. She is convinced she is helping people, and is really necessary for society. Anna is a well dressed, street smart, tucked in from head to toe prostitute.
Q: You’ve been in the industry for over two decades, since your debut at the age of 16. Anything that you would like to do differently when it comes to career?
A: I still look at what ever I do and keep thinking I could have done better. I keep looking for different ways of doing the same thing. It so happened once on the sets of To Rome with love, I did a scene over and over again almost 10 times while Woody kept saying he didn’t need it. I just think, things can always be better.
Q: You’ve been constantly admired for your beauty and touted as having the perfect physique. Does it get tiresome or do you find yourself watching your lifestyle?
A: I believe if you love your life it shows on your face. May be the secret is that I love the healthy and delicious Mediterranean Diet. I don’t just limit myself to vegetable and fruits but I love to have pastas, rice and bread too. Besides I have a lot of yogurt, cheese and chicken. I like to keep my make up within the natural earthy tone hues.
Q: You’ve been an active philanthropist in India, especially with the Mother Teresa mission. How is it you even came to India in the first place. Has the foundation changed anything for you?
A: I always felt useful to the world and worth being here when I worked for charity I wanted to have a meaningful life.Therefore I wanted to work with Mother Teresa and that brought me to India. It changed my life and the way I look at it. I understood the depth of it and came out of the superficial layer of life.
To Rome with Love releases on September 7.