Banderas back with Almodovar for "Skin I Live In"
By Iain Blair
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Handsome leading man Antonio Banderas has starred in major Hollywood films such as "Shrek" and "Zorro," but the Spanish actor's most enduring collaborations have been with fellow countryman Pedro Almodovar.
The Oscar-winning writer and director cast Banderas in his first film, 1982's "Labyrinth of Passion," and since then the actor has starred in Almodovar's "Matador," "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" and "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!"
In the director's latest movie, "The Skin I Live In," which opens in Los Angeles and New York on Friday and expands around the U.S. later this month, the 51-year-old Banderas portrays an amoral plastic surgeon who takes terrifying revenge on the young man who rapes his daughter.
Banderas recently spoke with Reuters about making the film, working with Almodovar, his upcoming movie "Puss in Boots" and the secret of his long marriage to actress Melanie Griffith.
Q: On the surface, "The Skin I Live In" is like a crazy modern opera -- there's sex, murder, rape, revenge -- and plastic surgery. But there are also serious themes at work.
A: "Yes, it reflects Pedro's interest in the nature of identity. It's about creation, and ultimately about survival. It's a claustrophobic story about this doctor who tries this very disturbing experiment, and the subject of this experiment is a human being. And it takes you on a very, very rocky path of different emotions in a world and universe that belongs to a guy called Pedro Almodovar, who's a genre to himself."
Q: You usually play warm, humorous characters, close to your own personality, but you're as cold as ice in this. Was that a challenge?
A: "It was one of the main comments that came up in rehearsals with Pedro. He said, 'Forget about all the fun characters you've played for years, even the ones you played for me. In this, we start from zero. I want you to be almost soulless, with a total disaffection for anyone's pain. You're playing a semi-god, a creator.' Which basically makes him a monster. But at the same time he's an artist." Continued...