When did Penélope Cruz learn to speak English?
—Roberto Martinez, Albuquerque, N.M.
Cruz, 37, who dreamed of being a dancer before she made her movie debut at 17, didn’t begin to learn English until she moved to New York at age 20 to continue her ballet studies in a break between acting roles in her native Spain.
When she began working in the U.S., she didn’t know how to say much more than “How are you?” and “Thank you,” so she would memorize her dialogue phonetically, often without knowing what she was really saying.
The actress, who earlier this year gave birth to a son with husband Javier Bardem, is currently starring alongside Johnny Depp in the summer blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. “I still have a voice trainer,” she says, “but I’m much more comfortable with the language now and I love doing films in English.”