Sunday, January 24, 2010

Penélope Cruz at Interview

I read this a couple of weeks ago, when I was on my lunch break in Newport Beach during the R.S. McCain freelance blogging. From Penélope Cruz's interview at Interview:

The last year and a half has been a transformative time for Penélope Cruz. Her comically unhinged performance in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) netted her an Academy Award. She completed her fourth film with Pedro Almodóvar, Broken Embraces, and joined the star--studded ensemble cast of Rob -Marshall’s new screen version of the Broadway musical Nine. But perhaps most -significantly, the 35-year-old Cruz has both reestablished and reinvented herself as an actress. It’s safe to say that, not too long ago, Cruz’s appearances at the multiplex—though plentiful and numerous—were largely overshadowed by her appearances in the tabloids. This was due to a variety of factors, chief among them a string of not-so-good -movies—did anyone see Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001)? Waking Up in Reno (2002)? Head in the Clouds (2004)?—which, however unfairly, fueled the perception that she could only act in her native Spanish, but also a succession of relationships that Cruz was reported to have had with her leading men, including Matt Damon (All the Pretty Horses, 2000), Matthew McConaughey (Sahara, 2005), and of course, Tom Cruise (Vanilla Sky, 2001). (Which, just as unfairly, fueled another perception about her that needs no further fueling).
This passage, toward the end of the interview, is my favorite:
COTILLARD: You said about your character in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Maria Elena, that she thinks she will not be creative if she’s not torturing herself. Do you think we as actors need to keep the connection with our failures to be able to do our jobs with depth and authenticity—you know, the dark side?

CRUZ: Yeah, I mean, maybe. It’s actually a similar thing to the ego, because you don’t want to let that go. You have to look deeply inside of yourself to find something to use in your work. But the older I am, the more I refuse to treat my work as therapy and the more I think it’s less honest to do that, less about acting. When I was younger, I sometimes used personal things in creating characters, to the point where I thought maybe it was a little bit dangerous—at least for me. But I don’t feel that somebody can only be good in a character if they are really becoming that person or really suffering. I have played with that before, especially with emotional scenes, and there have been times when I have been close to throwing up because it was hard to get out of that place. It’s always a bigger challenge when it’s a dark character or something very emotionally difficult, but I think my purpose is to find a way where you can have a dance with that, where you go and you come back, instead of maybe being in that state for weeks.