MEXICO CITY – Spanish film star Penelope Cruz (search) and Mexican actress Salma Hayek (search) say they hit it off from day one during the filming of "Bandidas," a Western about two female outlaws set in 19th Century Mexico.
"We've enjoyed it from the first day until yesterday," said Cruz about 14 weeks of working with Hayek, mostly in the northern Mexican state of Durango. "Now she's one of the best companions I've ever encountered or ever will. We have an incredible communication."
Written and produced by French filmmaker Luc Besson, "Bandidas" tells the story of two women — one rich, the other poor — who overcome their differences to work together — robbing banks. Same Shepard and Dwight Yoakam also have roles in the movie, which finishes shooting this week and does not yet have a release date.
Besson testified to the close relationship between the two starring actresses, noting that the friendship verged upon the conspiratorial.
"I just want to tell you it's 100 percent true," said Besson, who recently produced the U.S. action film "Taxi," a remake of the 1998 French film he wrote. "They love each other, sometimes too much. They speak Spanish. We don't understand anything."
Hayek, who was born in Coatzacoalcos in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, said her role as a Robin Hood-style bandit came easy after a piece of advice from Besson.
"The first thing he told us was, it's very important that these women be heroes, but never stop being women, that they not be women trying to be men," Hayek said.