LIKE A SECOND SKIN
An interview with THE SKIN IN LIVE IN star, Antonio Banderas
In 1986, a relatively unknown Spanish director by the name of Pedro Almodovar, cast a little known young actor, named Antonio Banderas, in MATADOR, a controversial indie film about a former bullfighter and a lawyer who get turned on by the act of killing. The successful pairing would repeat itself three more times in three more years but then Banderas would move to Hollywood. It’s been 20 years since this famous twosome last worked together.
“I was in New York doing a workshop for a musical there and Pedro called me when I was in the car and said, ‘It’s about time.’” Banderas has a smirk on his face as he recalls the story of when he and his old friend decided to make another movie again. “He didn’t even introduce himself. He just called me and the first thing that I heard was ‘It’s about time.’”
This was still a ways back even. Banderas, now 51 years old, was working on a 2003 production of Nine on Broadway when he first read, THE SKIN IN LIVE IN (LA PIEL QUE HABITO), and even though he knew it would be some time before the two would be able to coordinate their schedules, he was still very careful to give this script its due. “I know that the first time I read a script is the only time that I’m going to be a spectator of my own work,” Banderas says, demonstrating an appreciation for his craft I’m not sure why I wasn’t expecting. “From that moment on, I’m contaminated.”
|Banderas and Almodovar at Cannes 2011|
It isn’t the mainstream he has grown accustomed to in Hollywood but Banderas believes there is a place for all forms of cinema in the world today. “I cannot ask a guy who has been working on the roads under the sun the entire week to go see 8 1/2 by Federico Fellini on the weekend,” he jokes. “What he needs is to take his girlfriend and a big bucket of popcorn to see PUSS IN BOOTS.” As both the aforementioned SHREK spinoff, in which Banderas voices the titular Puss, and the Almodovar picture are playing well to their respective audiences, he has a point.
|Banderas watching The Skin I Live In co-star, Elena Ayaya|
Banderas returns to Hollywood next in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming thriller, HAYWIRE, and comedy in Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’s follow-up to LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, entitled HE LOVES ME. His break from the masses to return home to the familiar was a welcome one though. “Going back to Pedro at this particular time in my life is like a Coca-Cola in the desert. It feels good, it feels very good.”
|On the set with Almodovar|
This article originally appeared in Hour Community.