Actor Antonio Banderas is moving ahead with plans to portray celebrated artist Pablo Picasso in a new biopic, two years after the project stalled due to financing problems. The Desperado star, who was born in Picasso's native Malaga, signed up to play the painter and sculptor in 33 Dias two years ago (12), but production came to a swift halt when the bosses of the company which owned the rights to the movie filed for bankruptcy.
At the time, Gwyneth Paltrow was reportedly in talks to play Picasso's mistress, French artist Dora Maar. It is not clear if Paltrow is still interested, but Banderas, 53, insists the film, directed by Carlos Saura, is now back on track and the timing couldn't be more perfect because he is closer to the age Picasso was in the late 1930s when the artist struggled to complete his 1937 masterpiece, Guernica.
He says, "I turned down the chance at one point of playing Mr. Pablo, but the time has come in my life where I understand him better, and I am nearly at the age he was when those events happened, in 1937, when he was 55 or 56, and I'm getting close." Banderas is hoping Paltrow will return to the negotiating table, insisting she will be great in the film because she is "absolutely in love with Spain and speaks Spanish and French perfectly".
The movie is expected to begin shooting later this year (14) ahead of a planned 2015 release.
The Desperado star, who was born in the same city of Malaga as Picasso, will portray the celebrated painter and sculptor in 33 Days, about the emotional struggle he endured while working on his 1937 masterpiece, Guernica.
In an interview with Spain's El Pais newspaper, Banderas says, "He is a character that followed me for a long time, but (I) had always rejected it. He deserves a lot of respect because I am Malagan. I was born four blocks from where he was born. It has always fascinated me."
Carlos Saura will direct the movie, which will also detail Picasso's romance with French artist Dora Maar, according to trade paper Daily Variety.
The 28 works by artists including Picasso, Eduardo Chillida, Fernando Botero and Antonio Saura were being dispatched back to galleries in Spain after a recent exhibition in Germany.
The truck transporting the pieces was stolen from a warehouse at an industrial estate in Getafe, just south of Madrid, after three masked thieves broke into the building last Saturday (27Nov10).
The vehicle was found abandoned several days later. The works, including paintings and sculptures, is said to be worth $6.6 million (£4.2 million).
It's 1828 and an 82-year-old Goya (Francisco Rabal) lives out his remaining days in Bordeaux France. Nursed by his strong-willed young daughter (Dafne Fernández) he relates tales of his many adventures in art politics and love - especially those concerning his stormy romance with the danger-loving Duchess of Alba (Maribel Verdú). And that's as much of a plot as this image-driven film cares to offer while meandering along with the logic of a melancholy dream.
Spanish screen veteran Rabal ("Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!") lends his titanic presence to a role that basically boils down to parading around in a nightshirt with a haunted look on his face. Jose Coronado ("La Mirada del Otro") has slightly more to work with as a younger Goya caught up in vague bits of court intrigue while he follows in Velázquez's footsteps as Spain's most famous artist of the period. He and the offbeatly foxy Verdú ("Belle Epoque") briefly threaten to jump-start the narrative with a torrid affair then Verd£'s Duchess character is unsatisfyingly written out of the picture.
Writer-director Carlos Saura's 30th film displays his usual flair for striking imagery but the innovative style he develops in his fourth outing with acclaimed cinematographer Vittorio Storaro could have used a bit more dramatic meat to hang on. In the film's intentionally nonrealistic world actors march in front of painted backdrops to form moving tableaux vivants. Semi-transparent fabric screens reveal people walking on the other side of walls and elements of Goya's artworks suddenly come to life - all of which is more interesting than what is happening to the characters.