Antonio Banderas was born on August 10th 1960 in Málaga, Andalucía, and is one of the best known of all Spanish actors and actresses. Antonio Banderas’ wife is Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Melanie Griffith. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005. His family name is actually Domínguez, but he took his mother’s surname as his stage name. Antonio Banderas is now also an accomplished film director, film producer and singer and has been involved in seemingly countless Hollywood movies. He has also starred in many Spanish language movies including Pedro Almodóvar movie “Laberinto de pasiones” as far back as 1982.
Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar is credited as being the person who helped launch the Hollywood career of Antonio Banderas. Banderas was a regular feature in Almodóvar movies throughout the 1980s, appearing in such Spanish classics as “La ley del deseo”, “Matador”, “Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios”, and “¡Átame!”. Pedro Almodóvar is arguably the most successful and internationally well known Spanish filmmaker of his generation. His films are marked by complex narratives, irreverent humor, bold colors and the dominant themes of desire, passion, and family.
Antonio Banderas’ first American drama film was “The Mambo Kings” in 1992 where he played a struggling musician. He was still learning to speak English at this stage in his career, but critics received the movie well. The 1993 movie “Philadelphia” written by Ron Nyswaner and directed by Jonathan Demme brought Banderas his first real taste of worldwide recognition. Here he played the gay lover of AIDS-afflicted lawyer Andrew Beckett, famously played by Tom Hanks. The following year Banderas was given an even more prominent role in Neil Jordan’s adaptation of Anne Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire”, alongside Hollywood big guns Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.
From this point onwards it seems that Antonio Banderas has not stopped making major Hollywood blockbusters, the likes of “Desperado”, “Assassins”, “Evita”, “The Mask of Zorro”, “Spy Kids”, “Original Sin”, “Femme Fatale”, and “Once Upon A Time In Mexico”. He has worked alongside Madonna, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, and Catherine Zeta Jones amongts many others and noone can deny that he is one of the all-time Hollywood stars. My personal favourite Banderas role is that of the former mariachi who seeks revenge on the drug lord who killed his lover in super-stylish Robert Rodriguez movie “Desperado”. Desperado is the sequel to 1992 movie “El Mariachi”. The Robert Rodriguez “Mexico Trilogy” was completed by “Once Upon A Time In Mexico” in 2003.
Banderas’ debut as a director was in 1999 with the poorly-received “Crazy in Alabama” which starred his wife Melanie Griffith. He also directed 2006 Spanish language movie “El Camino de los Ingleses” which is set in 1978 Málaga and depicts the life of teenager Miguelito Dávila who suffers from kidney disease and longs to leave his job at a hardware store to pursue his dream of becoming a poet. More recently Antonio Banderas has established himself as a regular on the Hollywood family movie scene, with unforgettable turns as Puss in Boots in Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, Shrek Forever After, and spin-off movie Puss in boots. In 2011, Banderas returned to work with Pedro Almodóvar in the Spanish language horror thriller “La piel que habito” (“The skin I live in”). The two had not worked together since ¡Átame! in 1990. Here Banderas plays a cool and calculating revenge-seeking plastic surgeon.