10 September 2015

Penelope Cruz plays cancer patient in new Spanish film

Making a comeback , Penelope Cruz stars as a cancer victim in the upcoming Julio Meden film, 'Ma Ma'.


Oscar-winning actress Penelope Cruz returns to Spanish cinema after a nearly six-year absence, playing the role of a woman fighting breast cancer in director Julio Medem's "Ma Ma" which opens on 11 September in Spain.

"This is one of the most wonderful characters that I will ever be offered to play," the 41-year-old actress said during an interview with radio Cadena Ser ahead of the film's release.

Read: Breast cancer: myths and facts 

"I fell in love with the story of this woman, who is like a goddess, a sage," Cruz said, before adding that at first the role "frightened" her.

'Sexiest woman alive'

The Spanish actress plays Magda in the movie, a gutsy unemployed teacher with a young son who faces her cancer diagnosis with optimism and courage.

"It was very important to me to take risks and at no time did I worry if I looked beautiful, was ugly or very ugly," said Cruz who was named the "Sexiest Woman Alive" by Esquire magazine last year.

"It is a tribute to all women who face this disease," she added.

Read: How to do a breast self exam

Cruz rose to international prominence in 2001 with roles in Hollywood films "Vanilla Sky" and "Blow".

She won a best supporting actress Oscar for her role as an impetuous artist in Woody Allen's 2008 comedy "Vicky Cristina Barcelona".

The actress last made a movie in Spain in 2009 when she starred in Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's "Broken Embraces".

She also made a very brief appearance in Almodovar's 2013 "I am So Excited" alongside Antonio Banderas.

Cruz is married to fellow Oscar winner Javier Bardem. The couple have two children.

Read more:

Risk factors for breast cancer

More black women die of breast cancer 

New blood test for early detection of cancer relapse

Image: Penelope Cruz from Twitter 


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Cancer expert

CANSA’s purpose is to lead the fight against cancer in South Africa. Its mission is to be the preferred non-profit organisation that enables research, educates the public and provides support to all people affected by cancer. Questions are answered by CANSA’s Head of Health Professor Michael Herbst and Head of Advocacy Magdalene Seguin. For more information, visit

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules