TheaterMania Logo
Theater News

Antonio Banderas: In Other Words

The international stage and screen star discusses his new film The Other Man, his thoughts on the film version of Nine, and coming back to Broadway! logo
Antonio Banderas
(© Tristan Fuge)
Antonio Banderas has been a working actor for more than 30 years -- having first made his mark in America in Pedro Almodovar's Law of Desire and Tie Me Up! Time Down! before earning mainstream success in Evita, Philadelphia, The Mask of Zorro and the popular Spy Kids series. And the actor regularly makes headlines with his wife, actress Melanie Griffith. So you would think that Banderas would be fearless in the face of most anything. But while working on his latest film, The Other Man, which opens on Friday, he developed a sort of stage fright that literally made him shiver. "The character made me dizzy," says Banderas. "I was so insecure."

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."


Tagged in this Story