By EW Staff
Updated August 10, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Volver: Emilio Pereda and Paola Ardizzoni
  • Movie

”The day before we started shooting,” says Penélope Cruz of Volver, which casts her as harried mom Raimunda, ”I was crying in my bed from terror. The night before, I called all my family, just to cry with somebody on the phone. And they were saying, ‘How can you be scared? You’ve done 35 movies!’ I said, ‘This is different.’ This is the most complex, emotionally demanding character I’ve played. I knew the responsibility Pedro [Almodóvar , Volver‘s writer-director] was giving me, and I didn’t want to disappoint him.”

Flash ahead to the Cannes film festival in May, where Cruz shared the Best Actress prize with five other actresses in the cast. The movie — a happy-tears dramedy similar in mood to Almodóvar’s art-house hits Talk to Her and All About My Mother — certainly puts Cruz through the wringer: It opens with the justifiable murder of Raimunda’s lousy husband (Antonio de la Torre), and features the possible resurrection of her long-dead mother (Carmen Maura). What made it tough, Cruz explains, were takes that required her, for example, (1) to get bad news, (2) then have ”a nervous attack,” and (3) finally ”start crying,” all in a single shot. ”Pedro wanted to see those transitions,” says Cruz. ”Raimunda changes every six seconds, and the whole movie, it’s like a roller coaster for me.”


  • Movie
  • R
  • 121 minutes
  • Pedro Almodovar