Antonio Banderas to Star as Picasso in Season 2 of Genius


Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actor Antonio Banderas (Evita, The Mask of Zorro, El Mariachi) has been cast as Pablo Picasso in season two of National Geographic’s Genius.

The second installment will chronicle the life and work of the Spanish painter, one of the 20th century’s most influential and celebrated artists. The new season, from Fox 21 Television Studios, will again be executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment, Gigi Pritzker’s Madison Wells Media’s OddLot Entertainment and EUE/Sokolow. It is set to premiere in 2018.

The first season of Genius, which starred Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech, Pirates of the Caribbean) as Albert Einstein, was recently nominated for ten Emmys, including outstanding limited series. It also became Nat Geo’s best-performing new series launch in network history, watched by more than 45 million viewers globally.

“The life story of Pablo Picasso has long since fascinated me and I have so much respect for this man, who also comes from my birthplace Málaga,” said Banderas. “I am thrilled to work with National Geographic, Brian, Ron, Ken and the rest of the Genius team to tell an authentic story of one of the most innovative painters in the world.”

Howard noted: “Antonio was the natural choice. He, like Picasso, has a no-holds-barred approach to life that will add to the genuineness that we’re looking for. He has such tremendous range as an actor, who I know will bring this brilliant and unconventional artist to life.”

Grazer commented: “From Pancho Villa to Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, Antonio has had such a successful track record in portraying real-life, larger-than-life iconic figures with such honesty and depth. And with Picasso, I’m looking forward to seeing his interpretation of the man behind the artistic greatness.”

“Not only are they both from Málaga, Spain, but also similar to Picasso, Antonio exudes charisma and passion, and has challenged boundaries with his creative artistry,” added Carolyn Bernstein, the executive VP, head of global scripted at National Geographic. “He checks all the boxes for us and we couldn’t be more pleased to have him lead the series.”