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Penélope Cruz Says She's Scared of Driving Because 'My Sister Was Run Over By a Car': 'A Great Trauma'

The actress, 49, opened up about the scary childhood experience in her February cover story for ELLE

<p>Photography by Zoey Grossman</p> Penelope Cruz Covers ELLE

Photography by Zoey Grossman

Penelope Cruz Covers ELLE's February 2024 Issue

Penélope Cruz’s latest role may have been as the co-owner of Ferrari, but she’s not a big fan of cars.

The actress revealed in a new interview with ELLE that a scary experience from her childhood has left her with a “fear of driving.”

“My sister was run over by a car in front of me when I was eight or nine,” Cruz, 49, recalled of the moment as she said “time stopped.”

“It’s a great trauma, because I saw her losing consciousness. And I was numb in the hospital, telling people, ‘Oh, my sister just got run over by a car.’ ”

She admitted that if the incident had happened in her adult life, she imagines she “would have been hysterical.”

<p>Photography by Zoey Grossman</p> Penelope Cruz Covers ELLE's February 2024 Issue

Photography by Zoey Grossman

Penelope Cruz Covers ELLE's February 2024 Issue

Regardless, the memory serves to influence her today — and when it came to playing Enzo Ferrari’s wife Laura in Michael Mann’s Ferrari, Cruz was certainly not keen to get behind a wheel.

In general, she said she has a certain “hypersensitivity in every way — visually, to sound, to people’s feelings,” which she is “lucky to have,” in a sense, given her career, but it also makes her “feel or suffer things more.”

“It’s been one of the main things I deal with in therapy: how to work a balance so I can keep feeling those things without making those feelings my own,” she added.

Related: See the Stars of Ferrari Compared to the Real-Life People They Play in the Movie

<p>Photography by Zoey Grossman</p> Penelope Cruz Covers ELLE's February 2024 Issue

Photography by Zoey Grossman

Penelope Cruz Covers ELLE's February 2024 Issue

Touching on her latest role, Cruz told the outlet that portraying Laura Ferrari alongside Adam Driver’s Enzo required reflecting the grieving mother’s “sorrow” in every detail — even clothing.

“Every day is a question of how she makes it through the day,” Cruz said of Laura, whose only son, Dino, died off-screen in the Michael Mann film. “She has this tragedy that she will never recover from, and it’s also what made their marriage break because they both feel they failed to save him.”

As the first person to portray the co-owner of Ferrari onscreen, she said she felt pressure as she was “giving her a voice for the first time.”

Related: Adam Driver Says 'F--- You' to Audience Member Who Called Ferrari Car Crash Scene 'Cheesy'

<p> Arturo Holmes/Getty Images</p> Penlope Cruz attends the red carpet for "Ferrari" during 61st New York Film Festival

Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

Penlope Cruz attends the red carpet for "Ferrari" during 61st New York Film Festival

In Ferrari, the famed Italian car manufacturer is “in crisis” and so is Laura and Enzo’s marriage, per the film’s official synopsis.

Between Enzo’s infidelity with Lina Mardi (Shailene Woodley), the loss of their son Dino and the looming “bankruptcy” for the company, things are bleak, but in the summer of 1957, Enzo enlists racecar driver Piero Taruffi (Patrick Dempsey) to represent the company in the Mille Miglia, a 1,000-mile race across Italy.

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Like Cruz, Driver, 40, also didn’t ever get behind a wheel on set of the film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September.

The actor said at a press conference that the production team "wouldn't let me drive the cars for insurance reasons."

"As I said before, making a movie is a miracle and they don’t want me touching the thing that’s the most expensive part," Driver continued. "I don’t drive the cars, except in pre-production we raced Ferraris — obviously, newer Ferraris, can’t afford the other ones. And then at the beginning, I’m not driving that one, it’s on a dolly."

He joked, "Again, they don’t trust me with small pieces of equipment. Big pieces of equipment like sandwiches, they will let me handle.”

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