Penelope Cruz on the Call that Changed Her Life

by Antoinette Bueno 1:16 PM PDT, August 13, 2012
Photo: W Magazine

Penelope Cruz shows off her flawless face in minimal makeup on the cover of W magazine's September fall fashion issue, where the Oscar-winning actress talks about her career-changing relationships with high-profile directors Pedro Almodóvar and Woody Allen.

"My biggest goal was to work with Pedro," Penelope says about her start as an actress.

And one day, at just 18 years old, a phone call from the director himself changed her life.

Cruz thought it was a prank at first, but quickly realized it was her idol on the other line.

Video: Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz's Secret 'Pirates of the Caribbean' Bet

"But it was that voice!" Cruz exclaims to W, "as if the phone call had just happened." "That 'hello' changed everything."

Eventually, Penelope crossed over to Hollywood, where she worked with famously eccentric Woody Allen in two of his films, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and To Rome with Love.

According to Penelope, Allen was less than warm on their initial meeting -- and still is less than friendly with his actors.

"Fast. Very fast. We sat down for 30 seconds," she says about their introduction. "He had seen Volver, and he thought I would be right for this character. And that was it. I never spoke to him again until we were shooting. ... People ask Woody, 'Do you spend a lot of time with your actors?' In front of all of us he says, 'No—I try to avoid the cast. They come to me with all these strange questions that I either don't know how to answer or I don't want to answer.' Somehow it works."

But she does have Allen to thank for more than just her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Vicky Cristina Barcelona -- he cast Javier Bardem as her lover in Vicky Cristina, and now the two are married with a son named Leo.

Video: Penelope Cruz's Experience with Woody Allen

"She would like to shoot the paparazzi who try to take his picture," Almodóvar jokes. "But seriously, I always knew Penelope would be an amazing mother. She has no fear of love. You can see that in her work."

W magazine hits newsstands on August 21st.