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Byline: PHOTOGRAPHS BY MERT ALAS AND MARCUS PIGGOTT STYLED BY JESSICA DIEHL
The PASSIONS of PENELOPE
With two new movies Broken Embraces, her fourth film with director Pedro AlmodA[sup.3]var, and Rob Marshall's big-name musical extravaganza, Nine PenA[c]lope Cruz is mining both the Spanish roots that made her an actress and the hard-won Hollywood breakthrough that made her an international star. INGRID SISCHY taps into the fierce passions of the Oscar-winning enchantress, whether for her directors, her leading men (including current flame Javier Bardem), or the cinema itself
Some years ago, when PenA[c]lope Cruz was still on her way up the movie-star ladder, I had a behind-the-scenes adventure with her that gave me a chance to see what the Spanish actress is made of. I had arranged for her to do a cover shoot for Interview, the magazine I then edited, and on the day of the shoot I got a call from the photographer, who was freaking out. She had planned a bunch of fun setups, but the day hadn't even begun yet and now Cruz's minders were demanding that the photographer make it snappy: there wasn't time to do anything but a few basic shots. The huffs and snits were about to spoil the shoot, so I headed over to the location, a nightclub on 14th Street, to see if I could fix things. I quickly sussed out the real reason Cruz's people were trying to cut the shoot short: she had been summoned for a meeting later that same day with the other Cruise, as in Tom, who back then, in 2000, was still considered Mr. It. I got nowhere with her Spanish repapparently our rinky-dink photo shoot was chopped liver in comparison with a meeting with Hollywood's top gunso I marched into hair and makeup, where the actress was getting spiffed up for the first picture, and pleaded our case directly. She looked horrified that we'd been made to feel rushed and small, and asked me to tell our photographer that she was honored to be working with her and was committed to posing for all the images she wanted.
"I don't like to look at PenA[c]lope directly. It is too overwhelming," says Woody Allen, who cast her in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
The shoot proceeded and the Cruz team backed off till many hours later, when they just couldn't stand by anymore. "PenA[c]lope is very late for her meeting," one of them complained, explaining that it was to be at the Carlyle hotel, all the way uptown. "Just one more picture," begged our photographer. This was to be the money shotan image of Cruz in a tart-yellow Cadillac convertible. Cruz's people had had it. But still game, and in an effort to keep everyone happy, the actress suggested a bit of multi-tasking: she'd do the photo in the car while it was being driven uptown for her appointment. Perfect solution!
We all rushed outside, only to discover that the vehicle was a mere propit didn't have an engine. (Our budgets were tight, so the photo editor had rented the cheapest Caddy possible.) Someone had the brain wave to put the car back up on the flatbed that had brought it there and drive the whole Rube Goldberg contraption up to the Carlyle. Anybody on Madison Avenue that evening would have caught the hilarious sight of Cruz languishing in a hot-pink Versace dress in the backseat of a car that had been jacked up on the flatbed, surrounded by flashes popping like fireworks. Some of us followed in a car.
The truck pulled up to the Carlyle and Cruz was set free. She flew through the revolving door and into the elevatorat which point I screamed, "You still have the Versace onwe need to give it back!" PenA[c]lope jumped out of the elevator and into the ladies' room off the hotel's lobby. There, in record time, she did a quick change into her own clothes, handed over the dress, and was back in the elevator with her agent, going up to the floor where her now historic meeting awaited. The whole scene was worthy of a film by her greatest director, Pedro AlmodA[sup.3]var.
Since then I'd run into Cruz a few times (even watched a flirty moment between her and Prince at an …