Penelope Cruz plays hooker with a heart of gold Woody Allen’s ‘To Rome with Love’

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Published June 18, 2012

| FoxNews.com

The presence of Penelope Cruz in Woody Allen’s new flick “To Rome With Love” is sure to steam up cinemas, as the Oscar-winning actress is playing a high-class hooker in an extremely tight and extremely short red dress.

Her approach going into the movie? To make prostitution seem something of a desirable career.

“That is really how I looked this character … She is very professional, she looks at this job with dignity, and she wants to be the best at it. She is convinced she is helping people, and is really necessary for society,” Cruz told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column at the film’s premiere at the L.A. Film Festival on Thursday.

PHOTOS: Click here for more Penelope and other celeb photos.

But the real reason she signed on to the European-based Sony Classics comedy was to follow up “Vicki Cristina Barcelona” and once again work with one of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.

“It was easier this time because I knew Woody, so I wasn’t so nervous because of all the stories you hear about him. He is peculiar and unique and different, but it is really a blessing to spend time with him,” she enthused. “He is one of the funniest people in the world. Every day he does something that surprises you and that you will remember forever.”

Yet despite all the praise and adulation Allen garnered from his cast, the famed director is far from being a fan of his own work.

“I hate myself as a director, and I hate myself more as an actor,” he told us. “But just as long as people are willing to sacrifice their standards and come and see me than I will keep doing it.”

Allen plays retired music industry executive Jerry in his film, his first on-screen role since “Scoop” in 2006. So what prompted the return?

"I'm always ready to act ... [but] most of the scripts I write don’t have a role for me," Allen said. "This one happened by accident happened to have a role for me so I played it, if I was 50 years younger I could have played Jesse Eisenberg’s role."

And some Woody Allen trivia to add to the collection:

“I sing in the shower, but I am never naked in the shower,” he joked. “I am always fully clothed.”

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