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Penelope – more roles for older women in Europe


Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. Photo: Reuters

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. Photo: Reuters

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. Photo: Reuters

ACTRESS Penelope Cruz believes there are more opportunities for older women in Europe than in Hollywood.

The 39-year-old Spanish mother of two most recently engaged in intimate scenes with Michael Fassbender as his fiancee in this year's The Counselor.

Cruz is taking on roles that may surprise fans, now that she is on the young side of middle-age.

"I love not feeling safe when I get to the set," she said.

The "not safe" role she is referring to is her portrayal of Gemma, an infertile woman, in Twice Born. The film portrays a love affair between a daredevil American photographer, Diego, and Cruz's academic researcher at the time of the 1990s Bosnia war.

In it, Cruz embodies just about all possible versions of herself – from the 22-year-old who falls in love with Diego, to the married woman coming to terms with her infertility and the older woman in her late-40s raising the child she and Diego enlisted a surrogate to carry.

Cruz pulls off all three stages of her character convincingly, and is firmly of the opinion that there is life for actresses after 40 – especially in Europe.

"In Europe it's very possible and also because it's not my main ambition," she said. "I love my job and I feel lucky when I can work because I need to work, but it's not my number one priority – that is family, and then my job that I'm very lucky to have.

"But I think Europe is a little bit different from maybe growing up in LA, or working just there, especially if you're a woman.

"The actresses I look up to in Spain and in the rest of Europe, they work if they want to work."

When asked how she and husband Javier Bardem share childminding chores, she said: "I don't talk about them, my kids. I try to protect them."

Speaking about the "other" Cruz movie out at the moment, The Counselor, she said violence should never be glamorised.



"I like the movie, but I have doubts about the violence," she said. "There is one scene that I still have not seen, the one with Brad Pitt where he dies, the way he dies.

"I haven't been part of many violent movies, but if I was going to be, I'd want it to be one that doesn't feel like a video game. But the darkness isn't glamorised. It doesn't make it cool."