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Penelope Cruz says ‘things have not changed much’ for women across the world

Penelope Cruz has said “things have not changed that much” for women around the world, adding that many are still “living in the shadow of men”.

Speaking at A Life In Pictures Bafta event on Monday evening, the 49-year-old actress discussed the new Michael Mann-directed film Ferrari, in which she stars as Laura, the wife of Italian motorsport entrepreneur Enzo Ferrari.

Cruz said that, when she was doing research on her character, the people she spoke to in restaurants or on the streets described Laura as a “difficult woman” or “crazy”, and wanted to “make less of her”.

Ferrari premiere
Penelope Cruz at the premiere of Ferrari at the Odeon Luxe in London’s Leicester Square (Jeff Moore/PA)

“The people that knew her very well loved her, but people in the streets, they would say things that I didn’t like,” she said.

The American Crime story star went on: “She was a woman that had lost a child from illness and that had also broken the relationship.

“And I saw that there was no compassion for her.

“Probably because she was involved in the business and that was not welcome.

“It was (in) those years very difficult for a woman to have a voice in a company like that.”

“But I am sorry, I feel it still today. (It’s) the case in so many places around the world.

“Look around and you will find women living in the shadow of men.

“And I don’t like when it’s always said in our profession and they ask us ‘It’s great how much things have changed’.

“Because it is a lie – things have not changed that much. Maybe a little, not that much.

Ferrari premiere
Jack O’Connell, Penelope Cruz, Adam Driver, Shailene Woodley and Patrick Dempsey at the premiere of Ferrari (Jeff Moore/PA)

“So Michael and I were really discovering that all of these amazing things about her were hidden.

“So it became like a personal thing for us to give her a voice, and I feel very honoured that he chose me to give her that voice.

“Because, in a way, it was also contributing – to give it to any woman that would identify with that suppression, with that repression, with that way of living… where what you do or what you say doesn’t count.”

In Ferrari, Cruz stars alongside Girls actor Adam Driver, who plays Enzo, and a number of other high-profile actors, including Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey, Divergent actress Shailene Woodley, and Skins actor Jack O’Connell.

Mann’s biopic about the Italian innovator explores the 1957 Mille Miglia endurance road race that almost ended his auto empire and also offers a glimpse into the life of Laura, who Cruz said considered the Ferrari company as also “her own”.