Spanish superstar Penelope Cruz is becoming as hot in Hollywood as the spicy Brazilian dishes she serves up as a chef in her new romantic comedy Woman on Top, opening today. But in real-life, the next big thing admits that she wouldn't know a blender if she tripped over one.
"I'm not much of a cook," she tells TV Guide Online. "I took some courses to prepare for this film. I had such a great time that when I get back home, I want to go back to school. But right now when dealing with food, I seem to do best at calling room service."
While Woman on Top may have changed the way Cruz felt about cooking, All the Pretty Horses the upcoming Billy Bob Thornton-directed film in which she stars opposite rumored beau Matt Damon had an effect on Cruz's diet. "I [was] a vegetarian for four years but I sort of lapsed before we did the film," she says. "Then when I was working with those magnificent animals everyday, I suddenly became very strict again. Now, I'm not as strict as I was, but almost."
The actress is also trying to hold fast to her resolve not to discuss her rumored relationship with Damon. "We've become very close," is all she'll say. Ditto when the topic turns to her upcoming role opposite Tom Cruise in the Cameron Crowe-directed romantic comedy Vanilla Sky. "I can't talk about it," she says. "All I can tell you is that I play a Spanish woman from Spain."
Cruz can expect the media to delve further into her private and professional affairs once American moviegoers get a taste of what Spanish audiences have known for years she's one sizzling star. But her popularity in her native Spain has served as a good primer for what is likely to come in the states. "I can't go anyplace [in Spain] that has a crowd like a disco or I get mobbed," she shrugs. "But I hate to complain because it's a lot better than not being noticed at all."