London, Oct 12 : Actress Penelope Cruz has angered animal rights activists after signing 'Manolete'- the Spanish film about a legendary matador who was gored to death in a bullring at the peak of his fame.
Anti-bullfighting campaigners are not happy at her participation in a film that celebrates the cruel sport.
In the movie, Cruz plays the voluptuous actress Lupe Sino, with whom 'Manolete', played by Oscar winner Adrien Brody, had a turbulent affair in the 1940s.
The makers of 'Manolete', a Spanish-British production which will be shown in British cinemas early next year, insist that neither of its stars were showing approval of bullfighting by taking part in the film and were simply attracted to the roles by a strong story.
However, animal rights campaigners have been launching attacks on the pair, especially Cruz who they had thought was on their side.
The film's Spanish producer Andres Vicente Gomez, of Lolafilms, insists that the film would not glamourise bullfighting.
"This is a film about a love story. There is no blood shown. There is one scene involving a bullfight but it does not show the animal suffering. In no way did bulls suffer for this film," The Telegraph quoted him, as saying.
He said the involvement of Cruz and Brody in the film did not mean they supported bullfighting and pointed out that the actress has said in the past that she opposed it.
"Penelope took the role because she thinks it will be a good film," Gomez said.
Jordi Casamitjana, of CAS International, Europe's largest anti-bullfighting organisation, said: "The film makes the matador the good guy and Franco and the Fascists the bad guys, so inevitably it will make a hero out of a man who tortures animals for a living. Even if we do not see any bulls suffering, it will make bullfighting seem a good thing."