“People say that I am a genius. That it all came easily to me. The truth is, the only way to be a true artist is to work day and night,” those words are from Pablo Picasso, played by Antonio Banderas in the "Genius: Picasso". The newly released trailer shows Picasso as passionate, mysterious, and intensely dedicated to arts.
At the same time, producers say, a genius does not mean a saint. "This is not a hagiography; we're showing the good, the bad and the ugly," said writer, director and executive producer Ken Biller. "He did some not-so-nice things, and they are portrayed in the show."
Exploring the link between the painter’s professional and personal lives, the film-makers show the latter as it really was - full of tumultuous marriages, numerous affairs, and constant shifts in political and personal alliances.
Nat Geo definitely shot a controversial movie breaking the rules of the biopic genre. It's more of an action with girls, sex, and rock-n-roll than of a boring art history TV movie.
Picasso is portrayed here not only as a hard-working guy smashing academic rules and inventing his own unparalleled style in arts, and the one who has gradually became the most famous painter of the 20th century, but as a notorious lothario. His favorite pickup line “I want to paint you” that worked with girls at his times, now will surely infuriate feminists and liberals.
Are Picasso's ways of treating women acceptable today or will the artist be accused as a sexist, a women exploiter, or a wealthy and powerful old geezer looking for young girls? Well, we're looking forward to the movie premiere and following reviews. The anthology series will definitely tease our society.
Scene from the movie "Genius: Picasso". Photo: denofgeek.com
The young Picasso is played by Alex Rich (GLOW), with Antonio Banderas portraying the artist from his 40s until his death in 1973 at the age of 91. “The first episodes are more on Alex, and then you’ll have more of the older Picasso, played by me,” explains Banderas. “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.”
Executive producer Ron Howard said that Banderas was “the natural choice” to play the renowned painter. “He, like Picasso, has a no-holds-barred approach to life that will add to the genuineness that we’re looking for,” Howard said. “He has such tremendous range as an actor, who I know will bring this brilliant and unconventional artist to life.”
Banderas, in his turn, сonfessed that the life story of Pablo Picasso has long since fascinated him and that he had an enormous respect for the artist, who comes from his own birthplace, the Spanish city of Málaga: “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.”
When preparing for the role, the actor even attempted to copy some works by the master. “I did three or four of them, just to be very comfortable with brushes, so when you see me on the screen it looks natural,” Banderas says. Meanwhile, reporters proposed him to show his efforts on at an exhibition, and the actor reacted with his customary sarcasm: “Yes. And then the Picasso family would put me in jail!”
Season 2 of Genius on Nat Geo chronicles the life and work of Pablo Picasso, the Spanish painter who lived a long turbulent life from 1881 to 1973 and became, without a doubt, the most famous artist in the world.
The most influential and celebrated artist of the 20th century, he focused mainly on how he interpreted the world, never staying in a stylistic comfort zone. As a chameleon, he constantly evolved through diverse range of surrealism from floral-style portraits to palette-defined portraits in his “Blue Period” and “Rose Period,” African-inspired aesthetics, to his Cubism works in the early 20th century.
Picasso painted more than 50,000 works, including The Old Guitarist, Guernica and Les Demoiselles D’Avignon, which remain on display in museums around the world. He was universally recognized for his talent or, let's call it, genius, and widely honored in his lifetime. Picasso, played by Antonio Banderas in the movie, says himself: "Everyone wants something from the Great Picasso!" Well, it would be folly to read his lifetime as a life of a saint. Rather let's agree that it was more like a life of a proverbial rock star, an icon of style.
Written on materials usatoday.com, vanityfair.com, ew.com, deadline.com, denofgeek.com, geekexchange.com. Title photo: Photoshop by the author.