THE MASK OF ZORRO
ANTONIO BANDERAS (Alejandro Murieta/Zorro) is one of the
leading international actors of his generation. The Mask of
Zorro marks the young actor's 34th film in 15 years.
Banderas was attracted to the film because it was a chance to
play the only real Spanish hero Hollywood has ever created. "I
knew the character because the Disney television series starring
Guy Williams aired during the 1960s in Spain," he says. "I
loved watching the show when I was a kid and pretending I was
Zorro. When the chance came to play the role, I didn't hesitate
to say yes."
Born in Malaga, Spain, in 1960, Banderas was drawn to acting after
suffering a broken foot at the age of 14, which shattered his
dream of becoming a professional soccer player. He enrolled at
the School of Dramatic Art in his hometown and, upon graduation,
began his acting career working in a small theater company based
there. He moved to Madrid in 1981 and became an ensemble member
of the prestigious National Theater of Spain, where he remained
In 1982, Banderas was cast by eccentric writer/director Pedro
Almodovar in Labyrinth of Passion. It was the first of five films
Banderas would do with Almodovar, the others being Matador,
Law of Desire, Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown and
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! During this time, Banderas also acted
in more conventional Spanish dramas, including The Stilts,
The Pleasure Of Killing and Baton Rouge. The international
success of Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown and
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! brought Banderas to the attention
of American audiences. He made his film debut here in 1992, as
a young Cuban musician in The Mambo Kings. At the time
he was cast in the movie, Banderas spoke no English and had to
learn all of his dialogue phonetically. The Mambo Kings
provided Banderas with a springboard to significant supporting
roles in four major productions in two years: Philadelphia,
House of the Spirits, Interview With The Vampire and Miami
Rhapsody. His first starring role in an American film came
in 1995 with Desperado, which he followed up with Never
Talk to Strangers, Assassins, Four Rooms and Two Much.
Banderas then took the film world by surprise when he was cast
opposite Madonna in Alan Parker's big-screen adaptation of the
Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical Evita. Few suspected
Banderas had such a beautiful singing voice. Banderas was so determined
to win the role of Ché in the film that, when he met Parker
at a Miami restaurant to discuss the role, he serenaded the director
(and stunned diners) with songs from the score.
Upon completing work on The Mask of Zorro in Mexico, Banderas
headed north to Canada to work on his next feature, Eaters
of the Dead, for Director John McTiernan.
Banderas is making his debut as a director with Crazy in Alabama
for TriStar Pictures, starring his wife, Melanie Griffith. He
is also developing several projects under his own production company
banner, Green Moon, in which he is partnered with Griffith. The
couple has optioned the rights to Mary Dorias Russell's best-selling
novel "The Sparrow," which they are developing with
Addis-Wechsler and Associates. Also in development at Green Moon
are the projects Paganini, Man Facing Southeast and
Train To Mars.
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