Film: CRUZ CONTROL; Sultry Spaniard Penelope Cruz Has Hollywood Eating out of Her Hand. by THOMAS QUINN

The Mirror (London, England), January 5, 2001 | Go to article overview

Film: CRUZ CONTROL; Sultry Spaniard Penelope Cruz Has Hollywood Eating out of Her Hand. by THOMAS QUINN


Her legs go on forever, but they are only two of the many assets that Hollywood chiefs believe will make Penelope Cruz the greatest European import since Brigitte Bardot. Perhaps even since the Statue Of Liberty.

You can't cross the street in Los Angeles these days without hearing how Penelope, the sultry Spaniard with looks to die for, is the Next Big Thing.

The voluptuous 26-year-old, familiar as the new face of American designer Ralph Lauren, is even being talked about as the anti-Gwyneth. She is as dark as Paltrow is blonde, as wild and untamed as the Manhattan princess is cultivated and urbane. Thankfully, she's not letting it all go to her head.

"The only thing that will keep you safe in this business is to stick to the real world," purrs Penelope. "That's the only salvation."

This month we get a taster of her talents with Woman On Top, a screwball comedy in which she plays a love-crazy Brazilian who moves to America and accidentally becomes a successful TV chef. The film plays heavily on the fact that Cruz is sexier than any treacle tart, but it's lightweight compared to the work she's already done.

In her native Madrid, she has already made 20 films. She started acting at 17, but got her big break in 1997 in Pedro Almodovar's Live Flesh. A year later she won Spain's Best Actress Award for The Girl Of Your Dreams. If further proof were needed that she can act, you only have to look at the raft of flicks that follow Woman On Top...

First up is Billy Bob Thornton's Oscar-tipped All The Pretty Horses, in which she plays a wealthy Mexican virgin who falls in love with Matt Damon's roustabout cowboy. In the spring she stars opposite Nicolas Cage in Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Then she plays Johnny Depp's cocaine-addicted lover in the gangster thriller Blow. And later this year she teams up with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz for Vanilla Sky, a remake of a Spanish love story she originally starred in. …

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