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Call Penelope Cruz many things: sultry; smoldering; passionate about her career, which has resulted in an Oscar and numerous other accolades.
But after two films with Woody Allen, don’t call her the director’s muse.
VIDEO: Woody Allen, Penelope Cruz, Greta Gerwig at ‘To Rome With Love’ Screening
“He doesn’t have muses,” Cruz said Wednesday at THR and Cinema Society’s screening of To Rome With Love in New York City. “He works in a way where he gets inspiration from every single thing that moves in life. And I would never think about myself in those terms — like a genius like him would need myself to inspire him. That doesn’t even cross my mind. That’s not the case.”
Cruz first worked with Allen on 2008’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, set in her native Spain, where she portrayed a mercurial painter who has a romantic relationship with both Javier Bardem and Scarlett Johansson; that role garnered her an Academy Award for best supporting actress the following year.
This year, Cruz plays a street-smart prostitute in the ensemble comedy To Rome With Love, which opens Friday and also stars Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page and Roberto Benigni.
PHOTOS: Woody Allen’s ‘To Rome With Love’ Premiere Red Carpet Arrivals
By chance, her scantily-clad character, Anna, winds up pretending to be the wife of an uptight young businessman, who reluctantly brings her to a VIP party packed with other seemingly uptight businessmen — all of whom happen to be on her client list.
“This is a character that doesn’t think, doesn’t have a filter,” she said of her role. “She’s completely in the moment. She’s like a child that way. She doesn’t mind offending somebody. … I’m much more controlling than she is, so it’s very liberating to play somebody that is so free.”
As for Allen, who will next direct Baldwin and Cate Blanchett in a 2013 offering set in his native New York, Cruz praised the 76-year-old legend as a “special person.”
“When you get to spend quality time with him and see him every day, it doesn’t matter if he’s been shooting for 12 hours, he’s as funny and as creative and vibrant,” she gushed.
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