Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem Share How Filming Abusive Scenes for 'Loving Pablo' Affected Them (Exclusive)

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In order to collaborate together, real-life couple Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem don’t take their work home with them. 

ET recently spoke with the pair to discuss Loving Pablo, which tells the story of the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar’s affair with journalist Virginia Vallejo in the 1980s, and not allowing such troubling subject matter alter their marriage.

“The most difficult scene for me was the cathedral [scene] when she goes to his private jail to ask for money so she can escape, so she can go to Europe, and he treats her in a horrible, cruel way,” Cruz explained. “I was always worried about that scene. I knew it was going to affect me a lot… And it did. After that scene, I was ready to finish the movie. It was, like, two weeks before we finished. We always separate. I don't take the characters home.”

Like Cruz, Bardem discussed the challenges that came with shooting that particular scene.

"Well, that was a very scary one for both of us. For her, it was very tough to go through that journey,” he said of his wife, before adding, “I would say the end of the movie for me was when I’m on the phone. That was a pretty strong one because also it was shot on the second day of the shoot… I had to dive into that. I tried to change it to make it later in the schedule but it was impossible. That was very intense for me because it was the end.”

Bardem also addressed the challenge of separating his personal life from his acting.

“I think whatever you do in your daily life, whatever job you do...you're lucky to have a job, first of all. You bring it home. You have a bad day in your profession, you will go back home and you will be touched or moved by how the day went for better or worse,” he said. “It is the same for any actor, but the important thing is to know that there’s a division, clear division, between fiction and reality. In other words, we know that what is going on there is all fiction-related… There is nothing there that has anything to do with who we are as real people.”

Meanwhile, Cruz shared what initially attracted her to the project — showing the real cost of the drug world on families and communities.

“I think what is really good about this movie, it doesn’t glamorize that world of the narco,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to be a part of a movie that wants to glamorize [a] subject like this. I think it’s extremely serious and dark.”

Loving Pablo arrives in theaters and on On Demand/digital on Oct. 5.

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