She can act. She can fence. She can dance. She can most certainly sing. But, ask her to make you an omelet and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones might cause a fire.
"I did actually burn a pan," explains Zeta-Jones. "I mean, it wasn’t a fire. It was just smoking. I got a little scared and right next to our cooker there’s a big old fire extinguisher. I run to the other side of the apartment and say [to husband Michael Douglas] ‘We have a problem in the kitchen.’ He’s like, ‘Honey, the first thing that you learn is fire, the fire extinguisher.’ I just freaked out. So that was the first time and the last time I ever cooked."
Good thing. And that was before the couple got married in 2000. Even with a lack of skills in the kitchen Douglas was still taken by the 36-year-old Welsh beauty, but not because he himself could take over the cooking duties.
"He’s really good at making dinner reservations," laughs Zeta-Jones. "That’s fine by me."
Coming back to play the tough sword yielding Elena for THE LEGEND OF ZORRO was also fine with Zeta-Jones. In fact, she says, when Banderas and her would bump into each other at various Hollywood events they would talk about reuniting. It took just a hair under a decade for them to do just that. But why so long?
"We didn’t want to do a sequel unless we were going to do one that was as good as or could surpass the original," says Zeta-Jones.
No stranger to working hard, her Oscar-winning turn in CHICAGO is great evidence of that, Zeta-Jones had to re-learn her fencing skills for the new ZORRO. She decided the quickest and most efficient way to do that was to work with her dancing skills.
"I treated it like choreography, like dancing," recalls Zeta-Jones. "’One and two and three and four and five, and turn and step and down and up.’ So it kind of came back to me, and it’s great exercise. I love it."
Reuniting on set with Banderas was a very emotional moment for Zeta-Jones who says they had a blast doing the first one. Nearly all of the crew was brought back for the sequel.
"I had a tear in my eye when I saw Antonio in his Zorro get up," says Zeta-Jones nostalgically. "It was great. It had to be done."
Of course the experience this time around was much different from the one in ‘98. For one thing Anthony Hopkins wasn’t around this time and now she is a famous movie star, something she was far from when she made her star turning performance in the first one. In fact, that is how Zeta-Jones got the attention of her husband.
"Michael saw me in it and then seduced me," smiles Zeta-Jones. "He hounded me. Followed me around the world until he found me."
Pre-Douglas’ infatuation, which propelled her celebrity even further, back then Zeta-Jones was free to venture on and off the set in Mexico City without anyone paying much attention to her, instead they were swooning over Hopkins and Banderas.
"I used to look at Antonio and Anthony Hopkins getting followed around and the autograph hunters and I used to be like standing there right next to them and not that I wanted that but no one knew me," says Zeta-Jones.
Recognizing the good and bad of being in the spotlight, Zeta-Jones says now not having her anonymity isn’t as bad as some make it seem. Although, the couple and their two kids do mostly live in Bermuda where they are pretty much free to roam without any special notice. But in the States it’s a different story.
"Sometimes it gets a little tedious, " admits Zeta-Jones in regards to all the attention. "But that’s one of the cons and there are so many pros."
Besides there are worse things in this world than being a celebrity, uh, like Zeta-Jones’ cooking for one. But no one has to worry about that anymore, thanks to Michael Douglas.
"Michael is afraid if I’m in the kitchen. Period. That’s what really terrifies him. So, I am not allowed to go into the kitchen anymore," laughs Zeta-Jones who adds, "I nearly burned down the apartment in New York."