Penelope Cruz: ‘I don’t mind getting ugly for movie roles’


Penelope Cruz will always put her all into every role she wins, even if it means transforming herself physically.

The Spanish actress has varied resume, from portraying a passionate lover in Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona to a feisty female pirate in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

And in the upcoming movie adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famous detective novel Murder on the Orient Express, she stars as missionary Pilar Estravados who puts little effort into her appearance.

“She has to look like this because she’s very religious and not at all interested in seducing anybody. She carries a lot of guilt and believes that religion is saving her. It’s her only companion,” Penelope explained to The Daily Mail of her plain alter ego.

Explaining people assume she’ll be glamorous on the silver screen because of how she dresses on the red carpet, the star added: “I play the role! I remember for one film, Don’t Move, I wore an ugly wig and didn’t shave my legs. Nobody asked me to do that, but I wanted to feel, and see, how people would look at me wearing strange clothes; and my legs full of hair, and with that terrible wig.

“Listen, I’m no stranger to looking different. I played a nun, for Pedro (Almodovar) in All About My Mother, who is having a relationship with a transvestite. The nun wore Prada. But whatever needs to be done, I will do it for the part.”

The film boasts a stellar line-up, with director Kenneth Branagh also featuring alongside the likes of Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. Recalling how the cast kept themselves amused on set Penelope, 43, revealed the quizzes they used to play, mostly led by Kenneth and based on Shakespeare knowledge.

“Of course, the only ones who had the answers – always – were Judi or Derek (Jacobi),” Penelope laughed. “They know Shakespeare like the back of their hands. It was so funny, because Judi and Kenneth are fun together; and she teases him. It’s lovely to watch.”

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