Antonio Banderas, one of the biggest European Hollywood stars, turns 60 on Monday (August 10).
There is now a “new” Antonio Banderas. “Maybe it’s not so bad to kill (old) Banderas,” the actor (“The Mask of Zorro”) recently told the newspaper “El Periódico”. He is convinced: “I got the heart attack all by myself. Because I did things that I didn’t like and because I defended projects that I didn’t believe in just because the producer was sitting next to me. ” Only 15 of his 60 or so films were really good. Age also plays a role, he admitted. “I’m turning 60 now. I can no longer get out the boy who likes to play Zorro.”
But that doesn’t mean that Banderas has been pushing a steady ball since the attack. Hollywood colleague Melanie Griffith’s ex-husband continues to describe himself as a “workaholic who cannot live without work”, even though he was implanted with three stents. Most recently he played the leading role in the film drama “Suffering and Glory” (2019) by its discoverer Pedro Almodóvar and received several awards for best actor, including in Cannes, as well as the Spanish Goya Prize.
In the months leading up to the pandemic, however, Banderas devoted most of his time to what he calls the “project of my life”. In November he opened the Teatro del Soho, which he donated in his native city of Malaga. He performed himself at the premiere and in later performances of the musical “A Chorus Line”. And that was good for him: “I lost ten kilos through dancing. I feel good, ”he revealed just a few months ago. “I no longer smoke, I no longer eat meat every day and I no longer worry so much.” But Banderas remains ambitious: With “A Chorus Line” he wants to present himself in New York as soon as possible.
He suffered from “terrible stress” especially in 2014 during the divorce from Griffith after 18 years of marriage – also because of their daughter Stella del Carmen (23), who has been trying to become an actress for two years. “The divorce was very tough for me. We had built our own universe for 20 years and suddenly everything blew up. ” With Melanie (62), he still has a close, “wonderful friendship”.
Meanwhile, Banderas was not alone for long after the divorce. He has been with the 20 years younger German-Dutch investment advisor Nicole Kimpel since the end of 2014. The two were one of the couples who were separated for months from the corona pandemic. While Kimpel spent the lockdown in Geneva with her father and twin sister, Banderas said he was alone in his home in Marbella for 70 days. “I did laundry, ironed, and cleaned the floor with lye,” he told the newspaper “El País” in June.
Anything but a Don Juan. In real life, however, Banderas has always been more of a fighter than a Latin lover, a life and survival artist. The son of a police officer and a teacher left his parents’ home in Málaga at the age of 18 with only 90 euros in his pocket to make his breakthrough as an actor in the capital Madrid.
He was reportedly kicked out of pensions nine times in the late 1970s and early 1980s for defaulting on housing payments. But then came Almodóvar. With the shrill provocateur he shot, among other things, “Labyrinth of Passions” (1982) and “Matador” (1986), before the duo achieved a worldwide breakthrough in 1988 with the comedy “Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown”. Among other things, the film was nominated for an Oscar for best non-English language film – and served Banderas as the best calling card for Hollywood.
The Andalusian didn’t speak a single word of English at the time, but he still packed his bags and moved to Los Angeles. For his first role in “Mambo Kings” (1992) he studied the text phonetically without really understanding it. But it worked. The reputation of top directors such as Bille August (“Das Geisterhaus”, 1993), Jonathan Demme (“Philadelphia”, 1993) or Alan Parker (“Evita”, 1996) was not long in coming.
He also turned on the side of the most attractive women of his generation. For example with pop icon Madonna in “Evita”, with Catherine Zeta-Jones in “The Mask of Zorro” (1998) or with Angelina Jolie in the melodrama “Original Sin” (2001). He also met Melanie Griffith in front of the camera – in the romantic comedy “Two Much” (1996).
Bandera’s recipe for success? You have to be patient and pay attention to the details. I always worked hard and all by myself, step by step, did castings everywhere, and also had to endure a lot of crap, ”he said in an interview with“ La Opinión de Málaga ”.
In order to stay fit, the “permanent” hypochondriac drinks a lot of tea and does a lot of yoga. And after the end of the strict corona lockdown, he jogs again every day – even if he is chased by paparazzi in Malaga. He strictly refuses to go under the knife to remove age wrinkles. “Only when your body doesn’t do what your brain wants you to say: Houston, we have a problem.”