National Geographic has found its Pablo Picasso. Antonio Banderas has been cast as the famous artist in the second season of “Genius.”
Banderas has portrayed real-life figures before, from Pancho Villa in “And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself” to Che Guevara in “Evita.” He has a closer relationship with Picasso, however, because they both come from the same place.
“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,” Banderas said in a statement.
“Antonio was the natural choice. He, like Picasso, has a no-holds-barred approach to life that will add to the genuineness that we’re looking for,” said executive producer Ron Howard. “He has such tremendous range as an actor, who I know will bring this brilliant and unconventional artist to life.”
The network previously announced that the second season of “Genius” would be about the life of Pablo Picasso, from his artistic contributions — which numbered close to 50,000 — to his personal life and political affairs.
“Picasso was a trailblazer who left a profound artistic and cultural impact on the world and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership with National Geographic and Fox 21 Television Studios in telling the untold story behind the brilliant individual,” Howard said at the time.
Ken Biller will be returning to “Genius” as showrunner, executive producer and writer. Fox 21 Television Studios is producing, along with Howard, Brian Grazer, Imagine Entertainment, Madison Wells Media’s OddLot Entertainment and EUE/Sokolow. It’ll debut sometime in 2018.
“Genius” Season 1 chronicled the life of Albert Einstein. It starred Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Flynn as Einstein in different moments of his life and how he came to be the celebrity scientist we know him to be. The network said it was its best performing new series launch to date, watched by over 45 million viewers globally.
It was recently nominated for 10 Emmys including Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for Rush.