The year 2009 has been something of a dream for Penelope Cruz. It began with her performance in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, already honored by several critics groups, winning her a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in February. It continued with the filming of Rob Marshall’s musical Nine, based on Federico Fellini’s 8 ½, and the Cannes Film Festival presentation and release of the noirish, Spanish dramedy Broken Embraces.
It’s been a long trip for the little girl who began studying women at her mother’s hair salon when she was only five years old, becoming quietly aware of their public faces. Cruz is now an internationally recognized knockout beauty, which her recent appearance at a Beverly Hills hotel — brunette locks cascading over her almond brown blouse, past her shoulders and down her back — only serves to confirm. Yet for all her stardom, Cruz retains a beguiling mix of enchantress wonderment and button-cute innocence. No doubt some of the latter is due to factors of verbal intrigue; in Cruz’s mouth, the word monitor is pronounced “money-tar,” with no sense of halting uncertainty or embarrassment.
If the accent rather charmingly remains, Cruz’s grasp of English has aided her upward trajectory. “I remember when I was 20 and didn’t speak the language at all,” she recalls. “I did the casting [for a movie] on tape, got the part, and when I met [the filmmakers] they realized that all I knew were the lines for the character.” Cruz pauses here, smiles, then continues: “I’m more comfortable with English now, so the roles have become more challenging and demanding.” For the full feature piece/interview, from H Magazine, click here.