After winning an Oscar for Vicky Christina Barcelona, no one expected Penelope Cruz to dive into an action comedy, but that's just what she did. She stars in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as Angelica, daughter of Blackbeard and long-time foil for Captain Jack Sparrow. The film also reunites her with Nine director Rob Marshall.
What made you want to join this franchise?
Penelope Cruz: I was a big fan of the first three movies, because of the pirate world, and especially because of what Johnny Depp created - this iconic character. I mean, everybody falls in love with Jack! It's really incredible what he has done with this character. And it's the first time I got to do something like this.
So were you bitten by the action-movie bug?
Penelope Cruz: This was the first time I've touched a sword. But I had wonderful teachers who taught me for a couple of months before the movie started to shoot. And then I did what I could, but obviously very safe, which meant you could really enjoy it. It was like being at Disneyland every day on the sets and those amazing locations. It was great to wake up to go to work every day. I would love to do more action roles.
Which locations did you enjoy the most?
Penelope Cruz: I really loved the jungle and the beach in Hawaii and being in nature all day. To get to the set, you had to take a boat, then a jet ski from the boat, and then you have to swim to the beach. And then come back in a helicopter! It was very adventurous. We went to Los Angeles and Puerto Rico and ended up at Pinewood Studios in London for the Fountain of Youth. It really helps for your imagination to be in all of those locations.
And you did all of this in the early stages of pregnancy?
Penelope Cruz: Johnny, [director] Rob Marshall, [producer] Jerry Bruckheimer and the studio knew from the beginning, and the arrangements could not have been better. To be working and to be so protected and taken care of by all of them every single step of the way made it the most special movie I've done to date.
Has motherhood changed your approach to acting?
Penelope Cruz: Things like that truly change you in a very big, positive way. A few years ago I was a workaholic making three and four films a year. But that changed a while ago, and now I maybe do one a year, two if they are very short. And it's very important for me to have that balance. I could never enjoy the work because I was always tired. Now I have a more healthy equilibrium.
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