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Antonio Banderas: 1960—: Actor, Director

Developed Eclectic Style

Deviating from his usual sexy roles, in 2001 Banderas re-teamed with Rodriguez on a family movie, Spy Kids, in which he lampooned his Latin lover image and played the role of a patriarch in a family of spies. The movie was Banderas's biggest financial success up to that point, grossing $113 million and increasing his clout in Hollywood. This was his sixth film with Rodriguez and would guarantee their future working relationship. Just a year later, Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams, was released on the coattails of the first film's success. Banderas has been fully aware that Hollywood rewards moneymaking and not talent. He told Ron Dicker of The Hartford Courant, "That's beautiful for the studio and probably for your career in some way because they value you for the money you produce, not what you are as an actor."

Banderas continued to juggle a full schedule of eclectic projects. He released four new films in 2002, with supporting roles as the painter David Siqueiros in the successful Frida Kahlo biography Frida, and as a photographer in Brian DePalma's box office bomb Femme Fatale. He also had a leading role in Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, an espionage-action film that received dismal reviews. His 2003 films included Desperado II: Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Imagining Argentina, a political thriller.

Banderas credits Pedro Almodovar with his overall success. "Almodovar is the most important person in my career," he told Roger Moore of The Orlando Sentinel. "I am in America, making movies, because of him. He made me. Americans saw me first through his movies. He is the guilty one, the reason I am here."

Banderas's success in Evita also led to another Broadway role in a 2003 revival of the 1982 Tony-winning musical Nine, based on Federico Fellini's autobiographical film Eight and a Half. "I need to take a risk in my life," Banderas told Moore of the Orlando Sentinal. "That is what I love to do. Everything has to have some risk in it. Since my time with Almodovar, when nobody else dared to play gay characters, I learned there is much to gain by taking chances." For Banderas, this attitude seems to have paid off.

Selected filmography

Labyrinth of Passion, 1982.

The Stilts, 1984.

Matador, 1986.

The Pleasure of Killing, 1987.

Baton Rouge, 1988.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, 1988.

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, 1990.

The Mambo Kings, 1992.

Philadelphia, 1993.

The House of Spirits, 1993.

Interview with the Vampire, 1994.

Miami Rhapsody, 1995.

Desperado, 1995.

Never Talk to Strangers, 1995.

Assassins, 1995.

Four Rooms, 1995.

Two Much, 1996.

Evita, 1996.

The Mask of Zorro, 1998.

The 13th Warrior, 1999.

Play It to the Bone, 1999.

Spy Kids, 2001.

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams, 2002.

Frida, 2002.

Femme Fatale, 2002.

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever,, 2002.

Desperado II: Once Upon a Time in Mexico, 2003.

Imagining Argentina, 2003.



Chicago Sun-Times, August 4, 2002.

Express on Sunday, August 25, 2002.

Hartford Courant, August 11, 2002.

Hollywood Reporter, May 16, 2002.

InStyle Magazine, October 2002.

Orlando Sentinal, August 9, 2002. South Florida Sun-Sentinel. August 7, 2002.


Additional information for this profile was obtained through a transcript of Primetime Live, ABC News, August 1, 2002.

—Kelly M. Martinez

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Miguel Angel Asturias: 1899-1974: Writer to Don Berrysmith Biography - Grew up in the Pacific NorthwestAntonio Banderas: 1960—: Actor, Director Biography - Struggled As An Actor, Made American Film Debut, Married Melanie Griffith, Developed Eclectic Style