Cheat Sheet: Antonio Banderas
José Antonio Domínguez Banderas
Date of Birth:
10th August 1960
Place of birth:
Málaga, Andalucia, Spain
Acting, directing, singing, accenting
Evita, Interview with the Vampire, Philadelphia, The Mask of Zorro, The Skin I Live In
What you probably already know:
As one of Hollywood’s premier typecast Latin Lovers, Antonio Banderas is seldom off our screens. Starring roles in high-grossing and family-friendly franchises including Zorro (in which he played a handsome, dangerous, heavily accented outlaw), Spy Kids (as above, but handsome, dangerous, heavily accented spy) and Shrek (handsome, dangerous, heavily accented cat?) have made him the default Hispanic crush for people who can’t quite come to terms with the lascivious droop of Javier Bardem’s lips.
However, when he’s not busy pandering to the drooling masses Banderas is actually a hugely capable actor with a gleaming CV. You may well have seen him in Oscar-winning films Philadelphia (in which he plays the lover of Tom Cruise’ HIV-positive lawyer) or Frida, Julie Taymor’s biopic of surrealist painter Frida Kahlo. Hardcore Banderas fans were also thrilled this year when he starred in Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In. Although it’s a superb film, that’s not why it caused such a stir – rather, the real appeal was the chance to see the iconic director working with his muse once more. Almodóvar cast a 19 year old Banderas in his first film in 1982, and after a five year gap chose him for four more films in quick succession, launching his international career in a storm of gay kisses and power struggles.
What you might not know:
Okay, so you know that Antonio Banderas is a jolly good actor. Did you know he’s also a jolly good WINERER? That’s right, mothergluggers – Banderas co-owns the Anta Banderas winery in Burgos, where he produces red and rosé wines (probably not personally). He also promotes various products from his home region of Andalucia and, as if that isn’t enough whoring, he voiced an American commercial for anti-inflammatory nasal spray Nasonex. In which he played a bee. No, we are not shitting you:
See? Banderas has also endorsed a frankly ridiculous EIGHT perfumes, including Diavolo, Mediterraneo, Antonio and (controversially breaking his winning streak of ending perfunme names with -o) Blue Seduction for Women. He so sexy.
When he’s not acting or touting his wares, Banderas is married to Academy Award-nominated actress Melanie Griffith, who he directed in his 1999 directorial debut Crazy in Alabama. His other hobbies include having children (well, child) and apparently being an officer in some sort of creepy Spanish religious brotherhood, which we think means he charges around in one of those KKK-hoods-which-aren’t-actually-KKK-hoods during Holy Week. Takes all sorts, we suppose…
Antonio Banderas quote:
“If you call a cat, he may not come. Which doesn’t happen with dogs. They’re different types of animals. Cats are very sexy I think too in the way they move.”
What to say at a dinner party:
“Now that Pedro Almodóvar is reunited with his original muse Banderas, fans of the pair’s seminal work in the 80s and early 90s will surely be looking forward to more collaborations between these two giants of Hispanic cinema.”
What not to say at a dinner party:
“Christ, this wine is filthy. Who brought it?”
Look, all we’re saying is that if you see Puss in Boots there’ll probably be a sequel. Give it a miss, and free up Antonio’s diary for more work with Almodóvar!