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Penelope Cruz on ‘Everybody Knows’ Director: ‘He’s Demanding in a Very Good Way’ (Video)

TIFF 2018: “He’s very special, very clever ,” Cruz says of director Asghar Farhadi

Penelope Cruz says that her character Laura in the new film “Everybody Knows” is the most difficult role she’s played in her career. But she told TheWrap at the Toronto Film Festival that her performance wouldn’t have been possible without the “demanding” influence of director Asghar Farhadi.

“We all know he’s very special, very clever and very demanding. I say he’s demanding in a very good way. For me, that’s a virtue, not something bad,” Cruz told TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman. “I don’t think how I could’ve done that with somebody that didn’t have what he has.”

Farhadi, an Iranian director whose films “A Separation” and “The Salesman” both won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, returns with “Everybody Knows” about a woman who returns to her hometown near Madrid for her sister’s wedding, but endures a state of panic when her sister goes missing.

Cruz, who stars along with her husband Javier Bardem, said that as soon as 15 minutes into the movie, enters into “such a horrible state of pain, desperation and horror.” She looked to the direction and writing of Farhadi to guide her through the experience.

“He needs to be very tough, he needs to ask you for the truth, and he was like that with all of us,” Cruz said. “He needs to tell you when something is not real and when you’re faking things and when things are empty. But he does it in a way where he’s so sweet and so respectful to everybody that you just want to give him your best.”

Bardem added that he worked closely with Farhadi to find the same nuance in his own character, who he described as a simple man, but was a no less complex character to create.

“You don’t want him to look like a moron. Or you don’t want him to look like somebody who is too innocent,” Bardem said. “But he chose to be a person who gives, who takes care of the other, who really sees the other, rather than being too focused on himself. And we tried to achieve that soul of a man who is really there for others.”

Watch a clip from TheWrap’s interview above.