This week I am covering the Rome Film Festival. It is a relatively small and little-known compared to the Film Festivals at Venice at Cannes, but I enjoy covering because it gives me a chance to see lots of good movies and interview actors that I would not normally have access to. Wednesday night they had a small event with Penelope Cruz to talk about a film she is working on now directed by Italian Actor/Director Sergio Castellito. It is based on a book by Margaret Mazzantini that tells the tale of a mother in Sarajevo and is called “Venuto al Mondo”. They do not have an official translation for it yet, perhaps because it is hard to translate, but roughly it means “Brought into this World”.
Penelope Cruz just had a baby boy named Leo last January with her actor-husband Javier Bardem. As a crazed, working Mamma I was eager to see how Penelope would be holding up. I think secretly I was hoping that she would show up with some milk stain on her shirt, and her hair looking a little greasy. A little bit of me wanted her to be frazzled and lose her train of thought mid-sentence. No such luck. Penelope emerged wearing what could have been a waiter’s outfit. Black jacket, black pants, and a white shirt. No jewelry. She looked absolutely stunning. She has that incredible mane of hair, and a seductive smile. When she speaks, she has a gentle, calm manner with a slight Spanish accent in her English.
I asked her how motherhood is affecting her professionally and this is what she said:
“I don’t know. I think every experience you have in your life will gradually make you change, make you grow. Obviously as an experience, that is the strongest one you can have as a woman.”
She then went on to speak about the character she is playing in the movie, who is a mother:
“The thing is that Gemma, the character that I am playing in the movie we are doing now “Venuto al Mondo” has this obsession to find this child that she cannot have, an experience many of you know. It is really one of the most beautiful characters that I have had in my hands in my entire career. It is interesting that this is the character that I am playing when I am at this point in my life. No?”
Well, if I was hoping that Penelope Cruz would sympathize with my mamma difficulties, I was out of luck. Still, I liked her.
When I got home, I showed the video to my 11-year-old daughter Chiara. She gave me a really fed-up look and said, “Mamma, she was in Pirates of the Caribbean and you didn’t even get her autograph. I can’t believe it.”