In 2017, Penélope Cruz need not worry about losing her standing as an incredibly respected and successful actress, but she wasn't always so sure. In a new profile in the UK edition of Esquire, Cruz opened up about the early days of her career, and how she thought her breakout film, Jamón, Jamón, would be her last.
"I thought, 'There is a character there, there is a style, the material is really good.' Of course I was not looking forward to those scenes but I did it," she explains. "Everyone was really respectful, aware of the fact that I was 18. I remember the last day of filming, I was crying, saying, 'What if I never shoot a movie again?' The feeling was devastating. 'Who knows when I will see these people again?' Including Javier [Bardem]."
Cruz thinks her career was saved thanks to her role in another film released shortly after that veered away from sex, the Oscar-winning Belle Époque.
"I was very lucky that these two movies came out at the same time," she says. "It meant I wasn't put in a specific box. And what I did is that I went away for a while from anything that had to do with nudity or sex scenes because I felt that I needed at that point to stay away from that. Not as a calculated plan. Personally, I needed that."
Of course, women should live in a world where nude scenes don't immediately devalue the rest of their work, but that's easier said than done. Cruz is proof, however, that women can be sexy and talented, and that neither negates the other. Her upcoming film, Murder On The Orient Express, hits theaters November 10.