HFPA in Conversation: Antonio Banderas, an Outsider in Hollywood

by Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros May 9, 2018
Acror ANtonio Banderas, Golden Globe nominee

John Lamparski/getty images

HFPA journalist Michele Manelis met Antonio Banderas at Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s offices in West Hollywood.  In this in-depth interview, Banderas looks back to the beginning of his career as a theatre actor and tells why he feels that theatre was like a woman he abandoned.  He recalls his collaboration with filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, La Movida Madrileña movement in Madrid after dictator Francisco Franco died, how the audience in Spain reacted to a same-sex scene in Spain in the 1980's and why his mother asked him to do "normal" movies.  

Later he moved to the United States, adapted to a new culture and language and starred in movies like Interview with the Vampire, Desperado, Philadelphia, Evita, Spy Kids, Assassins, The Mask of Zorro, as well as voicing Puss in Boots in the Shrek animated features.  He became a sex symbol but still felt like an outsider in Hollywood.“I never participate in the circles.  I never played the game of Hollywood.  I went to the Golden Globes.  I went to the Oscars when they called me.  For me, my life was my family. I’m home, my wife, my kids."

Banderas lives in London now, and he has joined the TV universe in the starring role of the second season of the National Geographic series Genius, as Pablo Picasso. Picasso and Banderas share same hometown: Málaga, Spain.“I was offered to play him in my twenties and also in my thirties and somebody called me in my forties and it was not until a number of things happened that it was almost impossible to say no and those things had to do with the people that actually approached me”, Banderas tells.

He describes Pablo Picasso as a complicated man.“One of the difficulties, as you may understand, is that the guy was born in my hometown and that instead of being on my side I think in my mind I that played against me at a certain point.”

He admits that playing Picasso scared him a little bit.“Then there is a moment you have to take a step and from that moment you forget all of those reservations and you just throw yourself into the part.”

At the end of the interview, he describes both in English and Spanish how his life is right now.

Listen to the conversation here or, for immediate access to all of our podcasts, subscribe to HFPA in Conversation on iTunes.