Penelope Cruz on wanting to ‘bring truth’ to ‘Parallel Mothers’

“I always want more,” admits Oscar winner Penelope Cruz when asked about her frequent collaborations with Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. Cruz stars in the Oscar-winning writer and director’s latest film, “Parallel Mothers,” which received a nine-minute standing ovation after its world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival in September. Watch the exclusive video interview above.

“To me he’s a genius,” Cruz continues. “We can safely call him a genius. I met him when I was 18. That’s the first time he called me. I felt an incredible connection with him from day one. I was too young for that movie, but he told me he would call me later. Two years later he offered me ‘Live Flesh’ and we started this relationship. This collaboration that really works. We know each other, we trust each other. I just keep learning and being surprised by him. This [relationship with Pedro] is such a gift that life has given me.”

In the film for Sony Pictures Classics, Cruz plays a photographer named Janis who becomes pregnant after a fling with one of her subjects, Arturo (Israel Elejalde). Although circumstances keep Janis and Arturo from forming a relationship, Janis is determined to have the child on her own. When she arrives at the hospital, Janis meets an expectant teenage mother named Ana (Milena Smit) and the two form a close bond after giving birth the same day.

“I always felt attracted to this role,” Cruz says. “I wanted to bring truth to something that is heartbreaking. Janis’ situation is very peculiar, but it has happened. There is a case that was reported in the Spanish press recently about something that happened to two mothers in a hospital. The same thing that happens in the movie. It represents the challenge of any mother in the world having a threat of losing what they love the most, children.”

Later in the interview Cruz also reflects back on the night she won her Oscar for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008). “I hope that it happens again so that I can really be aware of the experience,” she jokes. “I was so nervous. Only a part of you is there, but you’re so nervous, the adrenaline is so high, the next day I was like, it’s over? What happened?” She also reveals which A-list actors she tried to hide from at an afterparty and the sentimental reason she leaves the nameplate on her Oscar statuette upside down.

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