Antonio Banderas (‘Genius: Picasso’) explains why he was ‘afraid’ to play the famed Spanish artist [WATCH]

Antonio Banderas plays Spanish painter Pablo Picasso in the second season of the National Geographic anthology series “Genius,” which premieres on April 24. But this isn’t the first time he has been offered the opportunity to take on the role. He had turned it down before because he was “afraid” to play the famed artist. He explained why during a special Q&A at Sotheby’s Auction House in New York City on Friday, April 20. Watch above.

Banderas was afraid to portray a man who was so “enormous, bigger than life.” The actor’s generation “idolized” Picasso, who was an “icon of freedom” and “exactly the opposite” of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, who ruled the country from 1939 until his death in 1975. It wasn’t until Banderas was close to his 60s and “grew in experience” that he felt ready to tackle the role. And he trusted Nat Geo to tell the story accurately. What’s more, the limited series gave Banderas “a gift that was priceless: the opportunity to take Picasso in me to walk on the beach of Malaga, the beach that he loved until the day he died.”

Genius: Picasso” follows the first installment of the series in 2017 that focused on the life of scientist Albert Einstein (played by Geoffrey Rush). That season earned 10 Emmy nominations including Best Limited Series, Best Movie/Mini Actor for Rush and Best Movie/Mini Directing for Ron Howard. And before season two even premiered Nat Geo announced the show’s return for a third season in 2019, which will travel back a century earlier to the life of 18th century “Frankenstein” author Mary Shelley.

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