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Penélope Cruz hopes Donatella Versace feels this way watching her in American Crime Story

Penélope Cruz needed Donatella Versace’s blessing before committing to her latest role. The 43-year-old, who portrays the Italian designer in the upcoming FX series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, recalled her initial conversation with the fashion legend, 62.

“[Donatella] told me that if somebody was going to do it she was really happy it was me," the actress said during her appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Tuesday, January 16. “Because, I think she knows how I feel about her and Gianni, even though I haven’t met him.”

penelope-cruz-ellen-spanish Penélope plays Donatella Versace in the upcoming installment of American Crime Story Photo: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros. 

She continued: “I’ve worked for many years, on and off with Versace and they are the most generous, kind people. It’s important for me when she sees what I’ve done, she can feel the love and respect that I have put in there.”

Gallery: All the times Penélope Cruz has worn Versace on the red carpet

One of the challenges the Spanish actress faced with the role was perfecting Donatella’s unique English-Italian accent. “That was a lot of work, it was like starting from zero,” she shared. “I am playing Donatella and everybody knows the way she speaks is a very unique and a very particular way of speaking. For me, I needed months of preparation for this and until I found that I didn’t feel ready to shoot.” Penélope added: “It’s a very rock n roll way of speaking and moving. She’s very rock n rolI. I really like this woman. I met her a few times here and there.”

penelope-cruz-globes The Spanish actress revealed that she had stage fright at the Golden Globes Photo: Getty Images

Penélope was recently joined by her FX co-stars Ricky Martin and Édgar Ramírez at the 2018 Golden Globes. While the Everybody Knows actress was in the company of some of her closest friends, she still found herself being starstruck. “I think if I did it every day, like you, in front of a huge audience, [I would] get used to it,” the Murder on the Orient Express actress said. “Being on the set, with our crew [and] in our world, it is different. I do get nervous at those things.

MORE: The intense trailer for American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace

After host Ellen DeGeneres pointed out that she knew most of the audience, Penélope noted: “Yeah, but that’s the problem. You come out to give an award and you look down and two meters away it’s Oprah, [Steven] Spielberg and Meryl Streep. I get shy  very shy!”

Aside from promoting American Crime Story’s second season — which premieres January 17 — Penélope gave Ellen a hilarious Spanish lesson — complete with some NSFW phrases! Watch the video below to see the hilarious exchange. 

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