LOS ANGELES: Antonio Banderas, 54, is on form. The Spanish star will shortly play Pablo Picasso in “33 Dias,” and will be in Terrence Malick’s next film, “Knight of Cups.”
Relaxed, the actor sat down with a few journalists to discuss playing a pirate in the new “Spongebob Squarepants” movie, as well as hiking to Machu Picchu with his daughter, and why he wants to leave Hollywood.
Q. You play a pirate in “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.” What was that like?
A: “Pirates are very interesting to play. There’s a paradigm with them, in terms of freedom, people playing out of the box. Everybody loves that. There is something very interesting about them.
“That particular pirate… is a character inside his own narration, not only a pirate but a cook. And it’s fun to see how this can connect with a kid’s mind.
“It was fun, imaginative and physically very demanding. It looks nothing like me. To get there everyday at 8:00 am to get that beard… it was like a raccoon attacked you. The happiest moment of the day was when I could take it off and scratch.”
Q. “Shrek,” “Puss in Boots,” “SpongeBob”—you are in a lot of children’s movies. Do you have a kid’s mind too?
A: “I guess so. When you’re 25, you don’t want to say you have a kid’s mind. You want to be the man. But I’m 54, so then it’s good to say you have a kid’s mind. So I do, in a way, in the perception I have of life. I believe a lot in senses. I’m not a cerebral guy—what I touch, what I feel, what I smell, what I eat. It’s very important, sensuality. I like the smell of the ocean, Malaga (Spain), the springtime.
“I have a house in Marbella (Spain) and two small apartments in the middle of Malaga. But to live there again . . . no. I will probably move to New York (from Los Angeles).
Q. You travel a lot. Is that important to you?
A. “Yes. This year, I’ve been shooting in Argentina, then before that in Colombia and I’ve been with my daughter to Peru to visit the Inca trail, Machu Picchu. That was fantastic. It’s hard. It’s not an easy thing. It’s 4,000 meters (13,120 feet), but spiritually it was an amazing experience at this particular time of my life. We made a deal that each year, just her and me we go somewhere in the world.
“I have to get her out of Hollywood because this is not real… Hollywood is not a place anymore, it became a brand.
Q. Why do you love New York?
A. “Because it is more European. You can walk. You don’t know who’s rich, who’s not. In Los Angeles, it is what you have. In New York, it is what you are. I love theater and there are 50 theaters there at your disposal. Cultural life is enormous, even in the conversations, in bars, restaurants, clubs, museums. At the same time, it is in the middle. I have Spain in six hours, Hollywood in five.
“Los Angeles for me (is) beautiful, but I don’t understand. This is a quintessentially American city and I am very European. I need sidewalks. Everywhere you go, you need a car. In New York, I don’t want to have a car.”
Q. Would you like to live in Malaga again one day?
A. “Absolutely. I’m a professional Malagan. Not that is it the best in the world. It is good for me. I love it. Overall, it is impossible for me to stop loving Malaga. It’s like Spain. I’m not like a patriot but I know that I love my country, because when things are going bad, I suffer. And when things are going good, I enjoy it. It is that simple.”