The 39-year-old Spanish mother of two has played the dark-haired
beauty for directors Pedro Almodovar and Woody Allen, toyed around
with Johnny Depp in "Pirates of the Caribbean" and engaged in
intimate scenes with Michael Fassbender as his fiancée in this
year's Cormac McCarthy-scripted "The Counselor."
Apologizing profusely, Cruz delayed an interview at a London pub
focusing on her other new movie, "Twice Born", which opens in the
United States this month, for a half hour so she could rush home to
feed her infant daughter.
Later, when asked how she and husband Javier Bardem share
childminding chores, she said: "I don't talk about them, in
interviews, my kids. I don't talk about them because I really try to
protect them from that other part of the business."
The Madrid native does talk about the roles she is taking now that
she is on the young side of middle age, roles that may surprise
"I love not feeling safe when I get to the set," said Cruz, wearing
a dark-colored parka to counter the pub's chilliness.
The "not safe" role she wants to discuss is her portrayal of Gemma,
an infertile woman, in "Twice Born." The film had mixed reviews for
its European run during 2012.
Based on a book by Italian author Margaret Mazzantini that Cruz says
she loved, the film portrays a love affair between a daredevil
American photographer, Diego, and Cruz's academic researcher set at
the time of the 1990s Bosnia war.
In it, Cruz embodies just about all possible versions of herself — from the 22-year-old who falls in love with Diego during a
boisterous, drunken gathering of young artists and intellectuals in Mostar, to the married woman coming to terms with her infertility,
to the older woman in her late 40s raising the child that she and
Diego enlisted a surrogate mother to carry for them.
Cruz who pulls off all three stages of her character convincingly.
And she is firmly of the opinion there is life for actresses after
40 — especially in Europe.
"In Europe it's very possible and also because it's not my main
ambition. You know I love my job and I feel lucky when I can work
because I need to work but it's not my number one priority — that is
family, and then my job that I'm very lucky to have.
"But I think Europe is a little bit different from maybe growing up
in LA, or working just there, especially if you're a woman ... The
actresses I look up to in Spain and in the rest of Europe, they work
if they want to work."
[to top of second column]
Here's what else she had to say about what drew her
to play Gemma, her experiences in Sarajevo and her views on movies
that glamorize violence — though she says "The Counselor" doesn't.
Q: This is the second film version of a Mazzantini novel, after
"Don't Move" in 2004, you've appeared in. What drew you to Gemma and
her growing awareness of her infertility?
A: She's a complicated woman, not politically
correct at all, and that's what I love about her. She just doesn't
have any mental filters, she says everything she feels and talks
about a subject that's difficult and very important to any woman. I
read this book and I was fascinated by the way she talks about
motherhood or about the conflict that this woman goes through — knowing it is not possible for her to have children she becomes
obsessed with it....When I closed the last page I was 100 percent
sure I wanted to play this character.
Q: The film is set against the backdrop of the Bosnian war, the
bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War Two. Did that history
have any resonance for you during the filming in Sarajevo, which was
one of the worst killing fields of the war?
A: This story ... describes a war that was complex, like anywhere,
but even when you talk to a Bosnian and a Serbian and a Croatian
they all tell you we wish we could explain to you how this got so
out of control but even for them...it's hard to explain how things
got to be so atrocious...I've talked to many families who have gone
through horrible stories, especially one woman told me something she
saw I will never for the rest of my life be able to get out of my
mind. I don't want to repeat it here but it was really like one of
the most horrible things I ever heard...something she saw that
happened to a child. That conversation will stay with me for the
rest of my life.
Q: The "other" Cruz movie, "The Counselor", out now
in the U.S. and Europe, also is violent but in a different way.
A: I like the movie, it is really interesting and smart but I have
doubts about the violence. There is one scene that I still have not
seen, the one with Brad Pitt where he dies, the way he dies. I think
violence should not be glamorized...I haven't been part of many
violent movies but if I was going to be part of one I wanted it to
be one that doesn't feel like a video game...It is a tricky line,
how to make something interesting especially with such brilliant
dialogue from Cormac McCarthy. But the darkness is not glamorized.
It doesn't make it cool, you know.
(Editing by Mary Milliken/Mark Heinrich)