Because Almodóvar shoots his films sequentially, Cruz was well aware of the tragedies that awaited her and began counting down the days until her most difficult scenes, even if Janis couldn’t.

As expected, she said, the shoot was “hardcore adrenaline, probably the most intense shoot ever — and it was.” Janis had to keep her emotions under control until a heartbreaking scene where Almodóvar had to help Cruz get up from the floor proved so harrowing for the camera.

Almodóvar told her, “I would like you to be able to do it without suffering this much.” Cruz, on the other hand, had a different perspective.

Penélope Cruz

I don’t remember it as suffering because it was for Janis or for all the women who could be in a similar situation of losing what they love most. She was still alive to me. His creation, she’s a living, breathing being.

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Consequently, when Cruz says “Parallel Mothers” is the most difficult thing she’s ever done, she means it in a positive light: Cruz’s portrayal of this woman took her farther away from herself than she could have imagined, despite their initial resemblance to Janis.

Because it gave her so much and made her feel so alive creatively, she insisted, “I have a smile on my face,” she said. In the midst of my emotional exhaustion, I found myself relishing every moment.

People who know Penélope Cruz best always use the same word to describe her. I’ve been hearing about how stubborn you are all my life,” Cruz said to me, pausing. As far as I know, I’m not a Taurus.

Whatever the reason, she has benefited from her stubbornness. Cruz applied for a new-faces program in Madrid run by Katrina Bayonas when she was just 14 and wanted to get into acting. Cruz lied because you had to be at least 16 to enter.

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Bayonas, suspicious of Cruz’s story, gave her a passage from “Casablanca” to read, knowing full well that Cruz would struggle to understand it.