Penelope Cruz plays cancer victim in return to Spanish cinema

MADRID: Oscar-winning actress Penelope Cruz returns to Spanish cinema after a nearly six-year absence, playing the role of a woman fighting breast cancer in director Julio Medem s “Ma Ma” which opens on Friday in Spain.


“This is one of the most wonderful characters that I will ever be offered to play,” the 41-year-old actress said during an interview with radio Cadena Ser on Wednesday ahead of the film s release.

“I fell in love with the story of this woman, who is like a goddess, a sage,” Cruz said, before adding that at first the role “frightened” her.

The Spanish actress plays Magda in the movie, a gutsy unemployed teacher with a young son who faces her cancer diagnosis with optimism and courage.

“It was very important to me to take risks and at no time did I worry if I looked beautiful, was ugly or very ugly,” said Cruz who was named the “Sexiest Woman Alive” by Esquire magazine last year.

“It is a tribute to all women who face this disease,” she added.

Cruz rose to international prominence in 2001 with roles in Hollywood films “Vanilla Sky” and “Blow”.

She won a best supporting actress Oscar for her role as an impetuous artist in Woody Allen s 2008 comedy “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”.

The actress last made a movie in Spain in 2009 when she starred in Spanish director Pedro Almodovar s “Broken Embraces”.

She also made a very brief appearance in Almodovar s 2013 “I am So Excited” alongside Antonio Bandera.

Cruz is married to fellow Oscar winner Javier Bardem. The couple have two children.