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Antonio Banderas: Peter Pan May Be the Reason I Became an Actor

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Monica Schipper/FilmMagic

Although Antonio Banderas plays a pirate in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, it isn’t a swashbuckling sea captain like Captain Hook who inspired him. He’s a fan of Hook’s nemesis, Peter Pan.

“The first time I saw the Disney version, I was, I don’t know, 6 years old. I remember it produced an incredible impression in me,” the actor told PEOPLE at the New York City premiere of the Nickelodeon film on Saturday. “I dreamt about that character. I remember getting in bed and seeing myself flying over London.”

He even credits the boy who never grew up with his career choice. “Maybe I’m an actor because of him. Just trying to fulfill that, to get what normal life cannot give you,” he revealed.

Banderas, 54, admits that he did watch SpongeBob at some point when his daughter, Stella, 18, was growing up, but he wasn’t really into it until now.

And what finally attracted him to the role of Burger-Beard in the film about the sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Just that, the sea. “There is something in the mind of any actor to play a pirate at some point – they are really romantic characters, they are very free. They go where the wind takes them. And also with pirates, anything is possible.”