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How Becoming a Mother Influenced Penélope Cruz's Approach to Acting

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Penélope Cruz doesn't have much in common with her outrageous character in the new movie Official Competition…at least not anymore.

The Oscar winner plays fictional director Lola Cuevas in the film, who Cruz says has a unique method to making movies: "[She] thinks that people will give a better performance if they're suffering." As for the actress, she told E! News' Daily Pop, "I don't agree with that."

"I used to think that in my 20s, or even in my 30s," Cruz told Daily Pop at the film's Tribeca Film Festival premiere. "But since I became a mother, I feel like I try not to mix things."

Cruz welcomed son Leo, 11, and daughter Luna Encinas Cruz, 8, with actor Javier Bardem after they tied the knot in 2010.

And while motherhood has changed her views on filmmaking, Cruz said that one thing she does have in common with her role as Cuevas is a passion for directing, something she told Daily Pop she's been interested in since she was 16 years old.

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"I've done some commercials. I've done a documentary. I'm doing another documentary now," she said. "Maybe when my kids are older, I will focus more on that."

Starring alongside Cruz in what she calls "a movie inside a movie with a bunch of psychopaths" is her longtime friend Antonio Banderas, who revealed that the actress has a secret funny bone.

Penelope Cruz
Raymond Hall/GC Images

"[She] has a great capacity to do comedy, which she didn't do too much in America," he told Daily Pop. "She was very good in comedy in Spain, but she demonstrated in this movie that it's an international start in comedy."

The duo starred together in the 2019 film Pain and Glory, for which Banderas was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his role as Salvador Mallo.

"It's great to work with somebody that I have been friends with for many years, since the times I was doing Philadelphia in 1993, we are friends," Banderas said about reuniting with Cruz onscreen. "It's been great, just to work with an actress of that caliber, but at the same time, who is my friend."

Official Competition premieres in theaters June 17.