The first time he saw her on screen, he knew he wanted to work with her. It was the way she walked, her mix of beauty, charisma, elegance and fieriness. She was still very young but he realised she was very special. That was almost 30 years ago, in 1992. It would be a further five years until Penelope Cruz first appeared in one of Pedro Almodovar’s films – and then only in a small part. However, the duo have gone on to complete eight features together. He no longer worries if she is too young, too old, too wild or too tame. “Penelope can do everything; she has become an eternal, ageless woman,” he wrote of her in 2009.
Cruz is now to Almodovar what Marlene Dietrich was to Josef von Sternberg; what Bill Murray is to Wes Anderson; what Frances McDormand is to the Coen Brothers. She gives him the confidence to push ever further in his explorations of feminine identity. In return, he provides her with roles to die for. Their latest collaboration, Parallel Mothers, out in the UK next month, is one of their most striking yet.
Cruz, who has already won the Best Actress Award for the film at the Venice Festival, is now being strongly tipped for another Oscar nomination.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies