Since he cast her a decade ago in steamy drama Live Flesh, Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar quickly adopted Cruz as his muse and leading lady of choice. No other director has been able to unleash and harness her sexuality, vulnerability and star power so fully. Casting Cruz as a would-be actress and call girl in tricksy tale of art and lies, Broken Embraces is her fourth movie with Almodovar. We have developed this working relationship and this friendship now for many years. He was the reason why I decided to become an actress, because of the admiration I felt for him.
Do you and Pedro work on a character for a long time? We rehearsed every day for three and a half months for Broken Embraces. I like having that time. Just to find things, to be able to make mistakes, to try different ways to do a scene. Do you drop everything when Pedro has a film role for you? He always tells me many, many months before. Sometimes a year before. Then if I know he wants to shoot there and he wants me to do it, I just skip everything so I am free. Is she an inspiration to you?
She was a great actress. She had a very special quality. She was magic, that woman. Is she your favourite actress? My favourite actress is Meryl Streep. Oh, and Anna Magnani. Do you still want to work with Lars Von Trier? Cruz in Broken Embraces Do you remember how you first broke into the movies? It was for Jamon Jamon. I felt very surprised that I was getting yes as an answer for the first audition that I did.
It was really the beginning of a big change in my life, because after that I stated working all the time. How do you decide whether to say yes to a role? The script, the director, the role… You just have to feel as though you can do something with it. In order to make anybody else feel anything with that character, you have to feel something first. Do nude scenes and sex scenes bother you?
I have fear, always on the set. Insecurity to the point where the first week I always think I could be fired. But Pedro can intimidate me more than anybody. What has it been like since winning the Oscar for Vicky Cristina Barcelona? I feel everything has gone very fast.
And I need to take a few months or a year away from work. To really digest this whole adventure. Are you better at dealing with your nerves now? But I did it for three weeks, I took it everywhere with me.
I even took it to the beach one day. Because I was so excited! How could this happen? You have your own production company. Are you working on some movies now? Because they are still very green. Yeah, there is one. Because then I feel like I am talking about it too soon instead of putting my energy into doing it.
Do you find making movies exhausting? I can make one a year. One movie a year. With Almodovar on set. The story is the same one of Guido and his creative crisis. I play Carla, the mistress of Daniel Day-Lewis.
I think Daniel is going to be incredible in it. What made you want to do it? I love this character. I did five castings to get the movie, because of the dancing and the singing.
I was a student of dance for many years, but Nine is the first time that I do a musical. It was a lot of fun, but it was scary also.
Most of my scenes are with Daniel Day-Lewis. But then he says it to you! So… I think he was probably joking. I will ask him again if he was joking. Broken Embraces hits UK cinemas today.