At 37, Penelope Cruz is hardly fighting to keep the wrinkles at bay. Yet the actress believes she has found the key to ageing gracefully: being European.
Cruz said she did not share the Hollywood obsession with eternal youth because she is Spanish. While her fellow actresses turn to Botox doctors and plastic surgeons, Cruz is content to let nature take its course.
“Birthdays are always something to celebrate. I’m looking forward to every step of the way,” she said during an appearance at the Cannes Film Festival.
“Maybe it’s because I’m from Spain, so I look at it in a different way than in a place like Los Angeles. I will always be a Spanish actress in Hollywood or wherever I work.
“There are a lot of things I keep from my roots and that is one of them – the way we look at ageing. I never want to be afraid of that. Change is good.”
Few Hollywood actresses share her view. Jane Fonda is also in Cannes and appeared on the red carpet looking impossibly youthful. Fonda, 73, admitted last year to having “work” done on her chin, neck and eyes, saying: “I swore in 2000 I’d never have anything done again but this year I got tired of not looking like how I feel… I wish I’d been brave enough not to do anything.”
Cruz was on the French Riviera to promote her latest film, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. She plays a pirate opposite Johnny Depp in a film which, appropriately enough, concerns a search for the mythical Fountain of Youth.
The actress wore a midnight blue dress to the film’s unveiling and displayed the 883 tattoo on her ankle. Cruz has always refused to disclose what significance the numbers carry.
In January, she gave birth to her first child, Leo, by fellow Spanish actor Javier Bardem. She discovered that she was pregnant on the eve of filming the swashbuckling adventure.
The director, Rob Marshall, found an ingenious way of hiding Cruz’s pregnancy: he hired her sister, Monica, as a body double. Monica is three years her junior and an actress and dancer in her native Spain. Luckily for the film-makers, the two women look strikingly similar.
“Towards the end of the shoot we asked Monica to help us out for some of the shots because we needed a different silhouette, so the whole family got to work on the movie,” said Marshall.
Cruz explained: “I did a couple of months of training and did what I was able to do, but I couldn’t do everything, just what was safe. Monica came at the end to do some scenes. She’s a dancer and very good with a sword because she’s done a film herself.”
On Stranger Tides is the fourth instalment in a franchise that has grossed $2.7bn worldwide. It was filmed in part at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Cruz is a replacement for Keira Knightley, who dropped out after the third film. It has met with mixed reviews but Depp said he had no fear of the critics and was itching to return for a fifth film in the role of Captain Jack Sparrow.
“With Captain Jack, I feel like there is much more fun to be had. As long as people still want it, I’m there,” he said.
Depp famously based the character on the Rolling Stones hellraiser Keith Richards, who has a brief cameo in the new film, as does Dame Judi Dench.
Depp said of Richards: “It was great having him and he was amazing to share a trailer with. I may write a book about that one day.”
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