"Is it a man walking on the beach, winking at the girls and looking for going to bed? Is it someone who wears a lot of gold chains and rings and sits at the bar? Because this is not me! I am very, very Latin, but not so much lover." Antonio Banderas
Latin actor Antonio Banderas was widely recognized in his country for starring in Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar's films La ley del deseo (a.k.a. Law of Desire, 1987), Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (a.k.a. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, 1988) and ¡Átame! (a.k.a. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, 1990). He later stepped into Hollywood and became noticed while costarring with Armand Assante as Cuban musician brothers in his American debut movie, the Oscar nominated musical drama The Mambo Kings (1992).
The Spanish actor continued to star in such blockbusters as Philadelphia (1993), Interview with the Vampire (1994), Of Love and Shadows (1994), Assassins (1995), Never Talk to Strangers (1995), Evita (1996), Play It to the Bone (1999), The 13th Warrior (1999), Original Sin (2001), Femme Fatale (2002), Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002) and Frida (2002). Moreover, star of the family movie Spy Kids trilogy (as Gregorio Cortez), Banderas reprised his role of El Mariachi in the sequels Desperado (1995) and Once Upon A Time in Mexico (2003), as well as played the title role in The Mask of Zorro (1998) and its soon-to-be released sequel The Legend of Zorro (2005).
Banderas recently starred in HBO's And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003) and lent his voice in the 2004 animated movie Shrek 2.
He is currently busy completing his upcoming film projects: Take the Lead, Bordertown, Shrek 3 and Puss in Boots. On Broadway, Banderas was nominated for a 2003 Tony Award for Best Actor (Musical) for his role in the revival of Maury Yeston's musical "Nine."
This 5' 9" tall Latin heartthrob was chosen as one of Empire magazine's "100 Sexiest Stars in Film History" (1995) and People (USA) magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in The World" (1996).
Personally, he was married to and divorced from Spanish actress Ana Leza and is presently the husband of American actress Melanie Griffith.
Childhood and Family:
"When I left my country, I observed my country in a different way. I suddenly got an incredible love of everything. I suddenly loved Flamenco music, but when I lived in Spain, it was Elvis I admired. You take your culture for granted when you live there but when you move away, you become much more interested and an expert in your own turf." Antonio Banderas
In Malaga, Spain, Jose Antonio Dominguez Banderas was born on August 10, 1960. He is son of a State Department worker and a teacher, and has a younger brother named Francisco Banderas (economist). As for his education, Banderas (means "flags" in Spanish) attended the School of Dramatic Art in Malaga, Spain.
While filming 1988's Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (a.k.a. Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), Banderas met Spanish actress Ana Leza and they exchanged wedding vows at the Church of San Nicolas in Madrid that same year. The couple separated in 1995 and divorced later that year. Afterward, Banderas tied the knot with American actress Melanie Griffith (daughter of Tippi Hedren and Peter Griffith, born on August 9, 1957) whom he met on the set of Two Much in January 1995. The couple married on May 14, 1996, in London and have one daughter, Stella del Carmen Banderas Griffith (actress; born on September 24, 1996). Banderas also has two stepchildren from Griffith's previous relationships: son Alexander Bauer (born in 1985; father: Steven Bauer) and daughter Dakota Mayi Johnson (born on October 4, 1989; father: Don Johnson). The family spends their off time in their homes in Spain, Los Angeles and Aspen.
Mask of Zorro
"I don't want anything I don't deserve, (but) if they offer me more money, I'm not a-stupid." Antonio Banderas
Originally thinking of becoming a professional soccer player, actor Antonio Banderas switched to acting after he broke his foot. While still studying drama at a local drama school, 14-year-old Banderas began working with the local independent theater company, established a theater company, and traveled in an old truck putting on street productions. At age 20, Banderas headed to Madrid to further his acting career and got his first jobs as a waiter and department store clerk. For five years (1981-1986), he was an ensemble member of Spain's National Theater and performed on stage in "Historia de los Tarantos" and "La hija del aire."
Banderas' stage performances attracted the attention of Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar who landed him a role as Imanol Arias' gay lover in the 1982 comedy movie Laberinto de Pasiones (a.k.a. Labyrinth of Passion, USA release, 1990). After that, Banderas continued to star in the director's films. He played Matador's sensitive student and misguided Ángel in Matador (1986, first work with Carmen Maura) and portrayed an obsessive fan of writer-director Pablo Quintero (played by Eusebio Poncela) in La ley del deseo (a.k.a. Law of Desire, 1987, second work with Carmen Maura), the latter of which handed him a Sant Jordi award for Best Spanish Actor. Banderas also reunited with Carmen Maura to play Fernando Guillén's handsome son in Almodóvar's internationally acclaimed Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios (a.k.a. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, 1988) and last worked with the director as an orphaned mental patient who stalks and kidnaps Victoria Abril's character in the controversial, steamy thriller Atame! (a.k.a. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down, 1990).
Meanwhile, Banderas played Laura Del Sol's boyfriend in Carlos Saura's bittersweet May-December romance Los Zancos (a.k.a. The Stilts, 1984) and became a hustler who hooks up with a rich older woman in Rafael Moleon's (Almodóvar's former assistant) feature directing debut, Bâton rouge (1988, again teamed up with Victoria Abril and Carmen Maura). He received Fotogramas de Plata's Best Movie Actor award in 1989 and became Valladolid International Film Festival's Best Actor for starring in Juan Miñón's La Blanca Paloma (a.k.a. The White Dove, 1989). Banderas also starred in Contra el viento (a.k.a. Against the Wind, 1990) as a man who has an incestuous relationship with his sister and in Terra Nova (a.k.a. New Land, 1991).
Banderas' name was boosted after he appeared as Madonna's object of affection in her tour documentary "Truth or Dare" in 1991. He subsequently entered Hollywood and costarred with Armand Assante as ambitious Cuban brothers who come to New York to become music stars in Arne Glimcher's adaptation of Oscar Hijuelos' novel, The Mambo Kings (1992). Banderas then rejoined director Carlos Saura in his urban thriller ¡Dispara! (a.k.a. Outrage, 1993), starring as a Madrid newspaper reporter who becomes involved with a thrilling murder investigation, and costarred as Winona Ryder's love admiration in Bille August's romantic drama, based on Isabel Allende's novel, The House of the Spirits (1993, also starring Meryl Streep and Glenn Close).
A string of film roles followed. Banderas played Tom Hanks' lover in Jonathan Demme's Philadelphia (1993) and portrayed 400-year-old vampire Armand in Neil Jordan's film version of Anne Rice's novel, Interview with a Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994, with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt). He also starred as a handsome photographer in Betty Kaplan's romantic thriller, adopted from Isabel Allende's book, Of Love and Shadows (1994, opposite Jennifer Connelly) and costarred with Sarah Jessica Parker in David Frankel's breezy romantic comedy Miami Rhapsody (1995).
Banderas got his breakthrough film lead role in Hollywood as the no-named Mariachi in Robert Rodriguez's big budget sequel to El Mariachi, Desperado (1995, costarring Salma Hayek). In that same year, he played a young assassin who tried to kill Sylvester Stallone's character in Richard Donner's Assassins, and played a handsome, possibly lethal stranger in Peter Hall's erotic thriller Never Talk to Strangers (opposite Rebecca De Mornay). He also worked with future wife Melanie Griffith in Fernando Trueba's romantic comedy film, inspired by Donald E. Westlake's novel, Two Much.
In 1996, Banderas played Ché and teamed with Madonna again in Alan Parker's epic fairy tale and sociopolitical psychodrama Evita, based on a play by Tim Rice. Two years later, he nabbed the title role of Zorro/Alejandro Murrieta in Martin Campbell's charming revival of the legendary masked hero, The Mask of Zorro (1998, with Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones). He also starred as Arab courtier Ahmad Ibn Fadlan in John McTiernan's adventure thriller The 13th Warrior (1999), based on Michael Crichton's best-selling novel "Eaters of the Dead."
In the rest of the 1990s, Banderas costarred in Arne Glimcher's adaptation of John Fergus Ryan's book, The White River Kid (alongside Bob Hoskins and Ellen Barkin, Banderas also produced) and teamed with Woody Harrelson as welterweight boxers in Ron Shelton's boxing comedy Play It to the Bone.
Behind the screen, Banderas established Green Moon Productions in 1996 and made his feature directorial debut in Crazy in Alabama (he also produced). The film was adopted from a novel by Mark Childress and starred wife Melanie Griffith.
The new millennium saw Banderas became Vatican-appointed Jesuit priest Matt Gutierrez in Jonas McCord's thriller drama film inspired by Richard Sapir's novel, The Body (2001, opposite Olivia Williams).
He also starred as Gregorio Cortez, along with Carla Gugino, portraying the world greatest former secret agents in Robert Rodriguez's family action movie Spy Kids (2001). He continued to reprise his role in its two installments, Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002) and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003). Banderas also starred as a wealthy coffee merchant in Michael Cristofer's film version of Cornell Woolrich's novel, the drama thriller Original Sin (opposite Angelina Jolie), and costarred with Rebecca Romijn-Stamos as Spanish photographer Nicolas Bardo in Brian De Palma's thriller Femme Fatale. He also reunited with Salma Hayek to play Alfred Molina's rival in the Mexican art world, in Julie Taymor's adaptation of Hayden Herrera's book, the biographical Frida, and portrayed former FBI man hunter Jeremiah Ecks in Wych Kaosayananda's action thriller Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (opposite Lucy Liu).
More recent, Banderas rejoined director Robert Rodriguez and screen beauty Salma Hayek to star as mythic guitar-slinging hero El Mariachi in the final sequel of the Mariachi/Desperado trilogy, Once Upon a Time in Mexico. He also portrayed Emma Thompson's husband, left-wing playwright Carlos Rueda, in Christopher Hampton's screen version of Lawrence Thornton's acclaimed novel, Imagining Argentina.
On the small screen, Banderas recently starred as the enthusiastic Mexican revolutionary legend Pancho Villa in Bruce Beresford's star-studded HBO production, And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself. On Broadway, Banderas was nominated for a Tony award for Best Actor for starring as director and womanizer Guido Contini in his Broadway debut, a revival of Maury Yeston's award winning musical "Nine." The play was performed at Broadway's Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City.
2004 heard his voice as Puss In Boots in the animated film Shrek 2. Zorro fans will soon watch Banderas wear his black suit again in the next sequel to the 1998 film The Mask of Zorro, The Legend of Zorro, which will hit theatres on November 4, 2005. His upcoming film roles include a former professional dancer in Liz Friedlander's musical drama Take the Lead, a US reporter in Gregory Nava's crime drama Bordertown (costarring Jennifer Lopez) and the titular role in John Boorman's adaptation of Marguerite Yourcenar's bestseller Memoirs of Hadrian. He will also reprise his role of Puss in Boots in the Shrek sequels, Shrek 3 and Puss in Boots.