Spanish siren Penelope Cruz was almost overlooked for her part in Hollywood blockbuster SAHARA because the movie's producers feared she was too frail for the robust role.

The Vanilla Sky actress won over her doubters with her strength of mind and conviction - qualities which she credits with making her transition from European cinema to Hollywood a success.

Cruz, 30, says, "I'm not a delicate flower. I was raised to be tough and independent. I've had to be to have any success in acting. It can rip you apart if you aren't.

"When I went to America to work, I didn't speak any English, but I learned the language and eventually stayed. I don't think you could do such things if you were frail."

23/03/2005 17:10