Just as “Genius” competes for 10 awards at the 2017 Emmys, National Geographic has announced the star of its second season: Antonio Banderas. The actor will play celebrated Spanish artist Pablo Picasso in the anthology series, following Geoffrey Rush‘s Emmy nominated portrayal of scientist Albert Einstein in season one.
Banderas said in a statement, “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 Málaga. I am thrilled to work with National Geographic, [Brian Grazer], [Ron Howard], [Ken Biller] and the rest of the ‘Genius’ team to tell an authentic story of one of the most innovative painters in the world.”
“Antonio was the natural choice. He, like Picasso, has a no-holds-barred approach to life that will add to the genuineness that we’re looking for,” added Howard, who is currently nominated for an Emmy for directing the first episode of the Einstein season. “He has such tremendous range as an actor, who I know will bring this brilliant and unconventional artist to life.”
And Grazer noted, “From Pancho Villa to Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, Antonio has had such a successful track record in portraying real-life, larger-than-life iconic figures with such honesty and depth. And with Picasso, I’m looking forward to seeing his interpretation of the man behind the artistic greatness.”
Banderas is known for films including “Evita,” “Desperado,” and “The Mask of Zorro,” but he’s already an Emmy nominee for his aforementioned leading role in the 2003 HBO telefilm “And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself.” He also earned a Tony nomination in 2003 for his leading performance in the musical revival “Nine.” How do you think he’ll do in this latest role? Comment below, and discuss this and more with your fellow TV fans in our forums.