Since living in Spain I have been a huge fan of Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.
I “loved” them (notice the past tense being used?). But I could never understand why no-one I spoke to in Spain had a good word to say about either of them. In fact the majority of people hate the two of them with a passion (and as you can imagine, the Spanish are very passionate people, so much so my "research" about these two had to take place in dark secret corners, in very hushed tones).
But is it a case of sour grapes? But how could it be as the Spanish LOVE Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffiths? This is what was baffling.
Watching the Easter processions from a balcony in Malaga
So in the interest of getting to the bottom of this, I decided to “interview” (I use the term loosely) everyone I could; ranging from age 14 years to aged 82 years! I spoke to all friends, clients, customers, waiters at my favorite bar.......you name it, I had a quick word in anyone’s “shell-like” (ears, for my US friends) and asked them “What the hell is the problem?
What astounded me was that the responses I got, irrespective of who I spoke to, what part of Spain they were from, what age-group they fell into, what political party they supported, what social class they were from.........they all said the same thing.
Here are the reasons they gave:
*Javier Bardem and his mother (who seems constantly stapled to his side at all events) have always been policital activists here in Spain. In fact they were regarded as EXTREME Communists! Javier Bardem on numerous occasions in the past, at rallies in Spain, has spoken about his “hatred” for capitalism and ALL things American.
In fact he openly said during this period of his activism that if he ever won an Oscar, he wouldn’t even go to the US to collect it!
*The Spanish are really quite angry that neither of them give interviews in Spain. In fact Penelope has a reputation of being quite rude to journalists who want to ask her questions. Her stock answer is “it’s my private life!” And yet, both of them are on every talk show in the US talking about that very thing-their private life.
*Any time you see a photo of either of them in Spain they look so damn miserable. Why?
*And of course the final insult for the Spanish was when they elected to have their baby in the US.
Unlike Antonio Banderas who the Spanish love,this clearly isn’t a case of sour grapes. It’s deeper than that. And having conducted my” interviews” I too feel my support for them waning at a very high speed. I don’t have a problem with people re-inventing themselves, but re-writing history? Yes I have a problem with that.
Just as a closing aside. Most people now know that Penelope Cruz’s brother is now the “arm-candy” of Eva Longoria. He is always written about as “the famous Spanish musician brother of Penelope Cruz”. Let me just tell you, no one here has heard of him (never mind heard anything this famous musician has performed). Everyone in Spain knows she had a younger brother, but that was the extent of if. Famous musician??!!! When I show my friends magazines from the US or the UK they are seething. Why? Perhaps this is just another “social climber” in the family? Who knows.
Is it OK to re-invent yourself and move on from your past? Does wisdom come with age, therefore what was said 10 years ago shouldn’t influence people now? Should what we said when we were younger come back and haunt us now? Is being “politically astute” more important these days than being sincere, or have they sold their souls, and sold out on their roots? How far should one go to "re-invent" themselves?
Would love to hear your views?