Penelope Cruz as a mom: Always tired but happy, serene, focusedBy Ruben V. Nepales
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Penelope Cruz is working again with director Pedro Almodovar in “Los Amantes Pasajeros,” but the bigger news is that, in the film, she’s appearing with Antonio Banderas for the first time.
The Spanish actress cited the advantages of collaborating with film talents she’s familiar with. “It’s always a great thing because you already know that person. For example, with Pedro I have done four movies. This will be the fifth, but this is a special collaboration. Antonio and I do two scenes. We open the movie. We’ve never worked together so we are very excited to do that, and to do it with Pedro, who is somebody so important for us in many ways, is special.”
Penelope, who is Pedro’s creative muse, claimed that she has a special kinship with the revered director: “With Pedro, if I go to the set, I feel like I can look at him and I know what he’s thinking. I know if he’s happy, if he’s not. We can really read each other very well.”
She added: “With Woody (Allen), I’ve done two movies but it’s true that, the second time around, there are more advantages.”
Penelope and Woody’s second movie project, “To Rome with Love,” also stars Roberto Benigni, Judy Davis, Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg and more.
Asked to elaborate on working with Antonio for the first time, Penelope said: “It’s like two or three short scenes at the beginning. Of course, I cannot tell you what happens but they are very beautiful scenes. I’ve known Antonio for so long. We’ve known each other since we were living in New York almost 20 years ago. We were neighbors. I know him, his wife and family really well. We are both looking forward to this because it’s very strange that nobody ever put us together before. We’re very excited to work together for at least three scenes.”
Penelope was more candid in the press con at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. She talked about motherhood—perhaps being a mom has allowed her to be more open—although there were still a couple of questions that she politely refused to answer.
On how motherhood has changed her, Penelope, who gave birth in January last year to Leonardo, her son with husband Javier Bardem, gushed: “It has changed me so much for the better because, as a woman, it’s the most wonderful thing that can happen to you. It changes the way you see the world. You take everything in a different perspective in such a way that is so deep. It’s so hard to put into words because it’s such a revolutionary and beautiful experience. It changes you in such a way that it makes you have less ego,” said the gorgeous mom who also said that she’s good at changing diapers.
“Maybe you used to worry about some things that you thought were important. As soon as that’s (having a child) in your life, you only have enough time to worry about things that are really important.”
Smiling, Penelope added: “I’m always tired but happy. I’m very serene and focused. Of course, I’m also very worried about how crazy the world is right now. That’s like a cloud on top of everybody.”
Just a worrier
She likewise revealed that she has been a worrier since she was a little girl. “I worry too much,” she said, but stressing that, now with a son to take care of, she doesn’t fret as much as before. “There’s not enough time in the day. You don’t care so much about what people think about you. In this job, the subject is always how you are perceived. I no longer worry about that.”
Putting things in perspective, given how fortunate she has been so far in her career, Penelope said: “I really appreciate the work. I take it very seriously. I’m very grateful for the opportunities they give me. I try to do my best. I try to do something new every time… I worried so much about what this person was going to think or this or that. That completely changed. As time goes by, you see how out of proportion things are.”
It’s almost hard to imagine Penelope—a perennial stunner at red carpet events—wiping floors and sinks, but she said she loves doing those chores. “I took classes in ‘Volver’ where I had to be very fast chopping and cooking vegetables. And I had to be very good at cleaning, so from the moment I started preparing the character, I wanted to clean the house of everybody, not only mine. I went to my mother and sister’s houses and cleaned. My sister was like, ‘I think Penelope has a fever. I don’t know why she came here to clean the house.’ I was obsessed with cleaning.”
What would take her away from her cleaning chores is “The Counselor,” a film directed by Ridley Scott that she sounded very excited about. “I love the script because it’s the first one of Cormac McCarthy that is not based on any of his books. It’s really strong—great characters and scenes. This character is very different from me. I’m looking forward to working with Ridley because I’ve known him for a while but we’ve never worked together. Actors really like him.”
She rattled off the impressive names in the film’s cast: “Michael Fassbender, Javier, Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz.” Laughing, she clarified, “Javier and I don’t have scenes together.”
(E-mail the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at http://twitter.com/nepalesruben.)
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