Most Hollywood stars would just nod and say, “We’d love to,” when asked if they have Bollywood ambitions. But Penélope Cruz seems to have given the prospect a little more thought. “I love the culture and I’d love to do a traditional role in Bollywood,” she claims.And despite her minimal knowledge of Indian cinema, the actor knows she wants Shah Rukh Khan to be her co-star. “I’ve seen a few of his films, and I think he’s awesome. I would love to work with him,” she gushes.
Penélope’s latest film, To Rome With Love, is releasing today. Her character, Anna, is a prostitute — a “beautiful, peculiar” character, in her own words. It’s also her second film with acclaimed director Woody Allen, the first being the runaway hit, Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), where her role as Maria Elena fetched her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Surely there’s pressure to replicate that success? “Not really. Woody just lets us actors be. He isn’t bothered about success. He’s given me some mad characters to play,” says the actor who’d once remarked that she only received offers to play pretty characters.
This time, she’s acting with a younger crop of actors like Jesse Eisenberg and Ellen Page. “I got to learn from everyone,” says Penélope, revealing an interesting facet of Allen’s working style: “None of us knew what the other one’s role was. We were only briefed about our own characters, so it was kind of fun.”
It’s also Penélope’s first release after giving birth to son Leonardo. He’s a little over a year old now, but she doesn’t like bringing him onto the sets. “I don’t like the idea of magazines dedicated to celebrities’ kids either. I want to raise him the way I was raised.”
What about working with husband, actor Javier Bardem? “We keep our personal and professional lives separate. We don’t plan to work together. But if my
marriage has had any effect on my career, it’s a good one. There is so much love, understanding and respect that any one would only flourish.”