International movie star Antonio Banderas will play renowned artist Pablo Picasso in Season 2 of Genius on Nat Geo. Season 1 of the series covered the life of Albert Einstein, played in his later years by Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush, and snagged 10 Emmy nominations including Best Limited Series and Best Actor in a Limited Series (Rush).
Genius Season 2 will move away from the world of science by exploring a different kind of genius, the painter, sculptor and all-around lady-killer Pablo Picasso. Born in Spain in 1881, Picasso would go on to create some of the most iconic artworks of the 20th Century, pioneering multiple new styles while winning world-wide fame and amassing a huge fortune.
Variety reports that Nat Geo has snagged veteran actor Antonio Banderas to pick up the paintbrush and portray Pablo Picasso, one of the 20th Century's greatest and most controversial artists, in Season 2 of Genius. Season 1 showrunner Ken Biller will return for a second go-around, and why not after Season 1 racked up 10 Emmy nominations? Brian Grazer and Ron Howard will executive produce through Imagine Television, along with a grab-bag of others receiving EP credits.
Banderas talked about his excitement over getting to portray Picasso, a complex character as well as a groundbreaking, world-renowned artist across multiple forms (Banderas was supposed to play Picasso in a 2012 project called 33 Dias that never came to pass):
“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. 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.”
Antonio Banderas has enjoyed a wild and rather eclectic career, beginning in the 1980s when he memorably appeared in several films directed by the great Pedro Almodovar. Banderas became a certified action hero in Robert Rodriguez's Desperado, then ascended to genuine American movie star status by appearing as the title hero in 1998's smash hit The Mask of Zorro. The actor would reunite with Robert Rodriguez for the three Spy Kids films as well as the action epic Once Upon a Time In Mexico where he reprised his Desperado role as El Mariachi. Banderas was nominated for an Emmy in 2004 for his role in the TV movie And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself.
Though most know him primarily as an action star and for voicing the character of Puss in Boots in the Shrek movies, Banderas has had some chances to take on more serious roles over the years and has proven himself to be a skilled performer in both drama and comedy. The role of Picasso in Genius will give Banderas a chance to stretch his acting wings and perhaps snag another Emmy nomination.
Genius season 2 does not have a premiere date yet. We'll keep you updated on the latest information.