Actress Penelope Cruz became so attached to the camel she rode while filming her new movie SAHARA, she started having conversations with it.

The Spanish beauty, who embarked on a romance with co-star MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY after meeting him on the movie's Moroccan set, became a big fan of her camel, after initially worrying deeply about getting close to the creature.

She says, "I had nightmares about the camel in the beginning because people had told me they were mean and stupid but they're not like that.

"After training for a long time I really became friends with my camel and I would talk to him and he would answer.

"Every day I was thinking, 'Please, don't throw us off.' I didn't want any of us to get hurt and nothing bad happened.

"When we shot the scene, at the end of the day I would ask for extra time for me to go around the desert with my camel to gallop a little longer. I loved it.

"Now if I go again to a place like Morocco... I'm gonna be showing off. I'll say, 'See you later!' and start galloping around. Thanks to the movies, I get to learn all these crazy things that I wouldn't know how to do."

02/04/2005 03:35