Antonio Banderas plays Pablo Picasso in the National Geographic Channel’s second season of Genius, which will chronicle the life and legacy of the world renowned Spanish painter. The 57-year-old actor recently shared an image of his astonishing physical transformation into the iconic artist on Instagram, looking unrecognizable with white hair, bushy eyebrows and a radical combover. “Et voila Picasso!” he captioned the pic.
In an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly, Banderas talked about taking on the role. “Definitely he’s a character that has been around my life for a long time. I remember going to school when I was a little kid and always passing in front of the house where Picasso was born,” the actor, who’s from the artist’s hometown of Málaga, said.
The Mask of Zorro and Desperado star will play a mature Picasso (from his 40s until his death at 91) in the drama series, which dramatized Albert Einstein’s life in the first season. Actor Alex Rich will play the young Picasso. “The first episodes are more on Alex, and then you’ll have more of the older Picasso, played by me,” he told EW. “But the narrative is not a line that goes A, B, C, D, E. We continuously use flashbacks. You are going to have both practically all the time.”
To fully embody and accurately portray the painter, Banderas even tried his hand at painting, practicing brushstrokes over copies of Picasso’s most famous works.
This isn’t the first time Banderas has assumed the role of an important man in history. He played Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa in the movie And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, and Argentinian guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara in the musical film Evita.