The film, directed by Sir Richard Eyre, is a gripping suspense story about a husband (Liam Neeson) who becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth surrounding the disappearance of his wife (Laura Linney). Banderas' character -- the so called "other man" -- initially appears to be a typical lothario, but underneath the suave exterior he's very different. "He's pathetic," says Banderas. "He's a guy who has nothing in his life but this woman, and when she disappears he falls apart."
Banderas -- who volunteers that he's "played many seducers" throughout his career -- initially turned down the role. "Then Liam called, and told me to read the script again with this other perspective, and I saw the character as more undetermined," he notes. "It made me work in an uncomfortable zone, which for an actor is a good thing -- even if it creates a tremendous amount of fear."
If Banderas had his way, he would be having two major films opening this fall. In 2003, he earned a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award for playing Guido Contini, the female-obsessed film director in the Broadway revival of the musical Nine. So the actor was a bit taken aback when director Rob Marshall tapped Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis to play the lead.
"It took me by surprise, and it hurt me a little," he notes. "You think the thing belongs to you, but then I thought 'it's not true.' Characters belong to all the actors out there. You take them for awhile, you borrow them, you play with them, then you let them go. And there's a long tradition of stars on Broadway that haven't done the movie version, so I'm in a fantastic group."
The good news, however, is that Banderas plans to head back to Broadway next spring in Zorba, to be directed by Trevor Nunn. And he can't wait to get back to what he considers his first love. "I grew up in the theater, but when I did Nine, it had been 16 years that I hadn't stepped on a stage" he explains. "I felt so guilty about that. It felt like I had left a woman who had loved me."
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