Belfast Telegraph

Antonio Banderas to play Pablo Picasso on TV

The Spanish actor is also set to portray luxury car boss Ferruccio Lamborghini in another upcoming project.

Antonio Banderas is set to portray Spanish painter Pablo Picasso in the second season of anthology series Genius.

The movie star confirmed his role in the National Geographic channel's new project on Wednesday (06Sep17), revealing he can't wait to chronicle the life and work of his fellow Spaniard.

"The life story of Pablo Picasso has long since fascinated me and I have so much respect for this man, who also comes from my birthplace (of) Malaga," Banderas says. "I am thrilled to work with National Geographic... to tell an authentic story of one of the most innovative painters in the world."

Ron Howard, who is producing the series alongside business partner Brian Grazer, insists Banderas was the "natural choice" to play Picasso, adding, "He, like Picasso, has a no-holds-barred approach to life that will add to the genuineness that we’re looking for. He has such tremendous range as an actor, who I know will bring this brilliant and unconventional artist to life."

Banderas talked about his dream of playing Picasso back in 2015, stating, "I'm trying to portray him properly... Picasso has been part of my life; he left town practically the same age that I left and so he has been a big shadow in my life... He's an interesting character."

The actor isn't the first to play the iconic painter - Anthony Hopkins and Gosta Ekman have both portrayed him on the big screen, while Picasso himself featured in 1955's Picasso and 1956's Le Mystere Picasso.

Meanwhile, Banderas has a couple of other biopics in the works - he is slated to portray luxury car boss Ferruccio Lamborghini and blind tenor Andrea Bocelli's teacher. A planned Gianni Versace film, in which he was set to play the fashion designer, has been scrapped.

The first season of Genius, which starred Geoffrey Rush as physicist Albert Einstein, has picked up 10 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for Rush.

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