How Pedro Rescued Penelope

The director, his muse, her fake bottom and one triumphant role

Penélope Cruz has arrived at the top, thanks, in part, to a bottom. The actress wears the plenteous prosthetic posterior under her 1950s Sophia Loren--inspired straight skirts and clingy cardigans in Pedro Almodóvar's new film, Volver. "Mothers have beeg bottoms," the Spanish director of culturally charged films says in accented English as he sprawls on a sofa next to Cruz in his suite at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles. "Your curves here are natural," he says to her, cupping his hands on his chest, "but not here," he says, pointing to his seat. "You walk very lightly. I wanted...

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