Penelope Cruz Sanchez was born on April 28, 1974, in Alcobendas, Madrid, Spain. Cruz was born as the eldest of three and a natural performer; her father, Eduardo, worked as a car mechanic, and her mother, Encarna, was a hairdresser. As a child, Cruz amused her family by re-enacting television commercials. Though a natural actress, she took up dance for her choice of performance arts. She studied classical ballet for nine years at Spain's National Conservatory, and then moved to New York to dance under a series of prominent performers.
When she was 15 years old, Cruz found her true vocation after beating out 300 other girls at a talent agency competition. Following this early success, she landed several roles as a dancer for music videos, as well as a gig hosting Spanish TV's La Quinta Marcha. Additionally, Cruz explored her more sensual side in the French erotic TV series Serie Rose.
Penelope Cruz made her film debut in 1992, in the dark film Jamón Jamón. The film's director, who had been unable to cast Cruz as the lead in another film because of her young age, waited until she was old enough for his next film. Her performance earned her nominations for both the Spanish Actors Union Newcomer Award and the Goya Award (Spain's Academy Award) for best lead actress. A year later, Cruz played Luz in The Age of Beauty (1992). The film won an Oscar (best foreign language film), virtually swept the Goya Awards and earned Cruz the Spanish Actors Union Award for best supporting performance.
With an impressive apprenticeship to the craft, Cruz earned her place in Spanish cinema as a leading lady. Her resumé continued to grow over the following few years, clocking up three or four films each year. In 1997, Cruz took the role of Isabel Plaza Caballero in Carne Tremula—marking the first time that she worked with internationally renowned director Pedro Almodóvar, who, in turn, became a lifelong friend, as well as her vehicle for global fame. Cruz garnered further critical recognition for her performance in the film.
Two years later, in 1999, Cruz landed a role in another film directed by Almodóvar, Todo Sobre Mi Madre, which went on to win Oscar and a BAFTA (best foreign language film) awards. With a series of well-respected movies under her belt, by this time, Cruz was in demand on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
At the age of 25, Cruz made the bold decision to move to Hollywood, California. Fully in command and on top of her career, she took on the role of a control freak and successful chef in Woman on Top (2000). That same year, she played the romantic lead in Billy Bob Thornton's Western All the Pretty Horses. Both films garnered critical success.
Cruz's next film, Abre Los Ojos, caught the attention of director Cameron Crowe and film icon Tom Cruise. Impressed by the script and the actress, the duo created an American remake of the film: Vanilla Sky (2001). The movie helped make Cruz a crossover success, and her ensuing relationship with co-star Tom Cruise put her firmly in American headlines.
Pirates of the CaribbeanEdit
On Stranger TidesEdit
According to Rob Marshall, Penélope Cruz was the only actress considered for the role of Angelica in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, saying she fit the description as "an actress who could not only go toe to toe with Johnny and match him, but also needed to be all the things that Jack Sparrow is in a way. She needed to be funny and clever and smart and crafty and beautiful." And so when Marshall approached Cruz for the role, because of her love for the films, she accepted immediately without reading the script.
Penélope Cruz was about two months pregnant she began filming her scenes in On Stranger Tides, but that didn't affect production. Cruz's pregnancy became noticeable when production came to Puerto Rico, about four months after filming began. After that, she only filmed Angelica's close-up scenes while her sister, Mónica, did all of Angelica's wide-shot scenes.
A Fifth PiratesEdit
On May 2011, at the press day for On Stranger Tides, Penélope Cruz stated where she would like to see for her character Angelica in future films:
- "I hope she's not going to die of hunger! I have the hope that, because she finds the doll of Captain Jack, that she has some of those voodoo powers from her father, and maybe she’s going to be able to get him to come back. She can't die alone out there!"
However, on September 2012, Cruz admitted that she had not heard anything or read a script.