There's Oscar buzz surrounding Penelope Cruz. Many say she's a contender for a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her work in Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona. ReelzChannel sat down recently with Cruz, who is in Spain shooting her next film. Broken Embraces reteams her with Volver director Pedro Almodovar. Cruz got a Lead Actress Oscar nomination for that movie.
This Maria Elena, she's a bit of a spitfire. She's kind of crazy. Did you play her crazy? Or did you see her as just a woman scorned? She's good hearted...
Cruz: I didn't want to think about her as crazy. Everywhere you look, its so relative. Like who's crazy and who's not? It's very difficult to define. I see her as somebody that is very unstable -- emotionally, mentally, psychologically. Unstable with huge amounts of pain and anxiety. And suffers very much. And feels very trapped inside herself.
Cruz: But she has fabricated a reality that works for her. She defends that in front of the world. I think it's very funny that she was told she was a genius. Preparing the character, I tried to remember all the things that happened before -- the things that we don't see in the movie. She was told that she was too special to be happy, she could feel everything too much. And she was condemned to suffering.
Not something a person wants to hear...
Cruz: No, but that's what she's been hearing: "You are a genius. You are the tortured artist." And she has taken that to extreme levels.
Woody Allen directed you at one point to be brave. Was that permission to kind of go for it, or was that a little scary? How do you judge -- what does be brave mean?
Cruz: I don't know if he said those words. But I said, "I'm scared of doing too much, because I've been screaming the whole movie." So maybe he said, "If you want, we can do one take the way you want to do it." And I would do it, and he would say, "It's good. But the other way, trust me, there are people like that."
Cruz: And, of course, he was right. He's Woody Allen! It's not that I was doubting that, but you know...always the insecurity of the actor. But he was right. All those fights had to be very, very big.
You had to go for it?
Cruz: Because it works and people find it very funny. I forgot this was a comedy when we were shooting -- for me it was a very painful drama.