Antonio Banderas has always considered Pablo Picasso a hero of his, but becoming Picasso on screen made him learn a different side of the iconic painter and his controversial personal life.
“In truth when I talk about my hero and when I talk about the Picasso that I love, the Picasso that I love is in the museums,” Banderas, 57, told Page Six Friday night at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of NatGeo’s “Genius: Picasso.”
“His personal life is a different deal. In his personal life I don’t know if I still idolize him. I’m still somewhere in the middle trying to understand a human being.”
Married, Picasso carried on several, tumultuous relationships simultaneously, bearing children with different women; however, as the premiere episode shows, Picasso always thought his art was more important than everything else. As a result, the famous artist made sacrifices elsewhere, to which Banderas could relate.
“Basically [he was] a human being that walked through life the way we all walk through life—with a backpack filled with greatness and miseries,” Banderas said while chatting at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center.
However, Picasso’s choices ultimately proved to be his Achilles heel in the end.
“Somebody like him who’s so honest with his art, so seriously committed to the point of big sacrifices you understand that not only him but everyone who surrounded him paid a very high price,” Banderas said. “In this case it was solitude in the end. He found himself basically alone at the end of his life.”
“Genius:Picasso: was not the first time Banderas was approached to play his hero. The “Mask of Zorro” star, turned opportunities to portray the artist down at least twice because of the pressure he thought he faced.
“I was afraid of playing him,” Banderas said in the Q&A following the screening. “He was from my hometown so I felt double pressure to get it right.”
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