antonio banderas

Antonio Banderas



role humble play opposite
breath fuss (2) keep moving
dodge constant whirlwind
peril request heart attack
don (3) massive procession
sketch roots (2) transform
avoid float (2) detection
sequel recognize opposite (2)
linked amazing characterize
sword celebrity make up (2)
genius episode dark side
series spotlight philanderer
lawyer chronicle premier (3)
co- A-lister red carpet
arrest discover legendary
sprawl sensitive ground-breaking
plunge step (3) territory (2)
forbid Moorish cinematography
shy nominate phonetically
HIV idol (2) controversial
air suffer (2) come out of the closet
hear baptize brush with death
adore reflective endurance
fill ground trailer (2)
award divorce fast-forward (2)
proud memory pain/painful
proud terrace opportunity
Oscar backdrop amphitheater
roof point out breathtaking
relish grow up surrounded







That was a young Antonio Bandaras playing opposite Madonna in Evita back in 1996. Fast forward to today, and we find him going home. Back to Spain, for a new role of the controversial artist, Pablo Picasso.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .


Antonio Banderas: “Malaga becomes a little village.”

To see Antonio Banderas’s hometown, with Antonio Banderas.

Well, you gotta keep moving.

Seth Doane, Reporter: “You create quite a fuss when you go some place.”
Anotonio Banderas: “Somebody is the mother of the son or the daughter or the cousin. So everybody knows everybody overhere. It’s normal.”

Dodging the perils of the constant requests for photos, Banderas took us on a whirlwind tour of his Malaga, this ancient city of half-a-million on the Spanish coast.

He wanted us to see the church where he was baptized, and where he returns each year to help carry a massive float, in Holy Week processions.

Antonio Banderas: “Don’t forget who you are, and where are your roots. A man without roots is nobody. A nobody.”

His roots, growing up in Malaga with his brother Javier, were humble, far from the life of a celebrity, who needs to don a hat and sunglasses to avoid detection.

Seth Doane: “Your dad was a policeman, your mother was a school teacher. What did they think about you becoming an actor?”
Antonio Banderas: “Oh, they didn’t like it at all; in the beginning it was very bad.”

But of course, it turned out to be very good.

Banderas went on to star opposite Madonna in Evita and Brad Pitt in Interview with a Vampire.

He played a swab-swordsman in the The Mask of Zorro. And was the BIG voice in the tiny cat, Puss in Boots, in the Shrek sequel.

Seth Doane: “Your career is hard to characterize.”
Antonio Banderas: “I love that.”

His latest role, hits a little closer to home. Banderas plays another famous Malageno: Pablo Picasso.

Antonio Banderas: “I really had the opportunity here to discover a man who was born in my town, to whom I feel linked.

He showed us around the Picasso Museum in Malaga.
But it was in a make-up trailer in Budapest, Hungary where we saw him become Picasso.

Antonio Banderas: “I shaved my head; I shaved my eyebrows. And over that we start creating the character.”

In two-and-a-half hours makeup artists transformed the youthful fifty-seven year old into a much older-looking Picasso, for the National Geographic series, Genius.

Seth Doane: “How was it to play him?”
Antonio Banderas: “Hard. Playing the dark side of him is hard, because he is my idol.”

Picasso of course was a legendary painter and philanderer. His life is chronicled in the ten-episode series premiering later this month.

Seth Doane: “This takes endurance, take after take after take.”
Antonio Banderas: “Yeah, I’m happy that you’re watching it because this is the life of actors. People sometimes believe we live in a red carpet. Acting in movies or in theater is hard work.”

Banderas has been a fixture on that red carpet. His nineteen-year marriage with fellow A-lister, actress Melanie Griffith, plunged him into the spotlight.

It was a long way from a small stage in Spain, where he was once arrested for doing politically sensitive theater, and where he was discovered by ground-breaking Spanish director, Pedro Almodovar.

Antonio Banderas: “He stepped into territories that were totally forbidden before: homosexuality. Those were a number of things that were never seen in Spanish cinematography.”

Banderas’s work with Almodovar, specifically the Oscar-nominated, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, led to a meeting with the Hollywood producer.

There was only one problem.

Antonio Banderas: “This guy said to me, ‘I told him you speak English.’ ‘How can you say that? I don’t speak it at all’.
So I sat down, and I faked the whole thing. I was a very shy guy.”
Seth Doane: “You didn’t say very much.”
Antonio Banderas: “Just ‘yes’ and ‘no’.”
Seth Doane: “But it worked and you got the part in Mambo Kings?”
Antonio Banderas: “Can you believe it?”

So for his first Hollywood film, The Mambo Kings, Banderas, who could still not speak English, learned the lines phonetically. That was 1992.

Antonio Banderas: “So I came back to Spain, and I can tell that to my grandson; you know what I did in America.

And then Philadelphia came.”

In Philadelphia, Banderas played the lover of Tom Hanks’s character, a lawyer with HIV.

Antonio Banderas: “It was like a breath of fresh air. It’s about time. It’s time that Hollywood came out of the closet.

He’s hypercritical of himself and his performances.

Antonio Banderas: “Thinking that I didn’t get that thing I will be remembered for.”

And it was a real life brush with death, a heart attack he suffered in January, 2017, that made him more reflective of the roles he plays, a dad being the most important one.

Photos of Stella Del Carmen, his daughter with Melanie Griffith are up at El Pimpe, the restaurant that he adores and co-owns. He keeps a room for Stella in his sprawling Malaga apartment, which is filled with awards and art, some of it quite recognizable.

Antonio Banderas: “I had another one, but I gave it to Melanie. After the divorce, she kept one and I kept the other one.”

This is a sketch by Picasso.

Seth Doane: “How was it to go through a divorce with . . .”
Antonio Banderas: “It was painfully. Always painful. And you discover that not everything is over: we can keep our friendship, we can keep our memories. I’m proud of them.

I think we have done it very well. She’s part of my life and she’s part of my family. And she will be until the day I die.”

Upstairs on the roof terrace . . . Wow! It’s amazing! Where Moorish walls and a Roman amphitheater provide a breathtaking backdrop, he pointed out where he was raised. And where Picasso was born.

Seth Doane: “You grew up surrounded by Picasso, knowing about Picasso, being proud of Picasso?”

Antonio Banderas: “Yes. And finally becoming Picasso.”

Still he’s always searching: he wants to direct again, and has gone back to school for fashion design. Antonio Banderas relishes playing many roles — not only those on camera.

Antonio Banderas: “I do a lot of things. There’s only one life. You’ve got to do it. There is time. Absolutely. There is time for everything.”

*     *     *     *     *     *     *



1. Antonio Banderas is from Madrid, Spain. True or false? How is Malaga different from Madrid?

2. What are some of the city’s culture that Banderas showed to the TV crew?

3. He came from a family of actors, artists and musicians. Is this right or wrong? Did his parents encourage him to go into acting?

4. Antonio Banderas “doned a hat and sunglasses.” Why did he do that?

5. What were some of the movies he starred in?

6. What is Banderas’s most recent project?

7. Antonio went straight to Hollywood to become an actor. Is this correct or incorrect? Was Pedro Almodovar a conventional director?

8. Was he perfectly qualified to play in the movieThe Mambo Kings?

9. Will Antonio retire now? What are his ideals and values in life?
A. I have seen many Antonio Banderas films. Yes or no?

B. Who are some famous celebrities from your city?

C. My friends and I want to be an actor, painter, director, musician. Yes or no? What did your parents tell you?

D. What are some cultural and historical attractions in your city?

E. Have you visited Spain?

Comments are closed.