Penelope Cruz was daunted to follow in the footsteps of Ingrid Bergman by playing her missionary character in Murder on the Orient Express.

The Agatha Christie murder mystery novel has been adapted for the screen a number of times, most notably in 1974, with Albert Finney as detective Hercule Poirot and Bergman as Swedish missionary Greta Ohlsson, a part which earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

For the 2017 remake, Penelope plays the character, who is now Spanish and called Pilar Estravados, and she admits she had big shoes to fill.

"Of course (it was daunting), because I was playing this character that Ingrid Bergman played so well," she told Hello! magazine. "There was no way I could approach it trying to do what she did. But it was very clear we were doing something new and very modern.

"I had seen (the 1974 film) before, when I was a teenager, but I didn't remember anything. I saw it with one eye open and one eye closed so I had to watch it again because it was so long ago."

The Spanish actress stars alongside an all-star ensemble cast, including Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Kenneth Branagh, who also directed.

"It was wonderful to work with so many amazing people," she added. "There were so many times I didn't know where to look."

Penelope first worked with Johnny on 2001 drama Blow and she admitted she had wanted to team up with him again ever since.

"He's very addictive and he just gets better and better over the years," she gushed.

Penelope has two children, Leo, six, and Luna, four, with husband Javier Bardem, and admits she picks her projects based on where they shoot because she doesn't want to be away from them.

"The first question I ask about a film is, 'Where in the world is it being shot?' I don't want projects that would present that challenge, in terms of not being able to be together," she said.