Antonio Banderas skewers celebrity in ‘Official Competition’ – The Boston Globe

Competitors, ego, and appearing chops collide in a hilarious insider comedy set throughout rehearsals for his or her upcoming manufacturing. Is Banderas a celebrity steeped in self-importance, or a critical comedic actor? In “Official Competitors,” he playfully melds each, digging deep whereas teasing the ambitions, and perks, of Hollywood stardom.

Antonio Banderas as Felix Rivero and Penelope Cruz as his director, Lola Cuevas, in Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat’s “Official Competitors. An IFC Movies launch.Courtesy of Manolo Pavon

Q. Who’s Felix?

A. He’s a star, so he’s frivolous. He’s very clear, the best way that he’s proposing his characters, the best way that he works, the best way he sees his relationship with the universe. He values work, cash, and girls, so he’s a really clear man.

Q. Does he have a darkish facet, too?

A. Sure. He’s harmful when any individual assaults him or he feels that he’s dropping energy, or he looks like any individual’s simply damaging his self-importance and his ego.

Q. There’s an intense scene during which Cruz’s director plastic-wraps you and Iván collectively, and destroys your appearing awards when you’re impotent to intercede.

Oscar Martínez as actor Iván Torres, Penélope Cruz as director Lola Cuevas, and Antonio Banderas as worldwide film star Félix Rivero in Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat’s “Official Competitors.” Courtesy of Manolo Pavon

A. Your complete scene, most likely the entire film, is a metaphor. The scene’s message isn’t only for actors. That is about attachment. We get hooked up to things, to issues that don’t actually have worth in and of themselves, however we really feel validated when any individual offers us a medal. It’s about being very insecure and making you not really feel so insecure.

Q. Such as you, Cruz is an Almodóvar muse. Right here, she performs your well-known, force-of-nature director.

A. It was a pleasure to see her compose a personality so totally different from herself. We met with the Argentinian administrators and started engaged on a film about our universe. We placed on the desk conditions and behaviors that we’ve seen. In fact, Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat took that materials and saturated it a bit of bit, put it underneath a magnifying glass. To make a comedy it’s a must to be barely larger than life, however a few of these behaviors are very near actuality.

Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, and Oscar Martínez in “Official Competitors.” Courtesy of AccuSoft Inc.

Q. The scene the place the actors put together is hilarious, notably the sounds Felix makes earlier than he delivers his strains.

A. Watching actors put together for doing a scene, I’ve seen unbelievable issues. That moo that I make? The primary time it ever occurred to me, I believed there was a cow behind me. In actuality, the center of the film is about ego, nevertheless it’s additionally about analyzing the stupidity that generally takes its toll on artwork.

Q. You start by being comparatively easygoing; nevertheless, when Ivan will get technique and angrily breaks a chair throughout rehearsal, you get a splinter in your cheek and explode.

A. That’s my instrument. That’s my copyright. You can not contact that.

Q. Has your 2017 coronary heart assault shifted your priorities?

A. There have been many issues floating round me. After I had my coronary heart assault, the issues that weren’t necessary sank. Solely these issues that had been necessary stayed on the floor: my household, my daughter, my pals, and never even my career, however my vocation as an actor. So I returned to Malaga making an attempt to do what I really like, which is to go on the stage and carry out each evening and do it in the absolute best approach I can. I’m an actor due to musicals.

Q. What musical affected you?

A. In 1976, after I was nearly 12, I noticed “Jesus Christ Famous person” on the display. It had an unbelievable influence. I believed, wow, that is one thing I’ve by no means seen earlier than. They created a distinct air within the theater, which I didn’t understand how the hell they managed to do in Spain, nonetheless with the regime of Franco within the air, despite the fact that he died in 1975. I believed, oh my God, I’ve to go to the opposite facet of that mirror.

Q. And, now, do you are feeling such as you’ve come full circle?

A. After I returned to Malaga, I purchased this theater [Teatro del Soho CaixaBank] and stuck it. I made a spot for actors the place they’ll really feel completely dignified. I’m doing the musicals that I cherished that they wouldn’t carry out in Spain earlier than as a result of they weren’t purported to be industrial. So, for instance, I’m doing “Firm,” for 5 months with a full home each evening. I’m having a blast. If that makes me do the play higher, I don’t know. I actually don’t care, as a result of, really, the primary one who advantages from that is me.

In February, Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz attended the “Official Competitors” premiere in Madrid.Carlos Alvarez/Getty

Q. Within the last evaluation, you’re each Félix and Iván, half worldwide star, half critical stage and display actor, true?

A. Sure, I suppose I’m each, however I’m not completely Félix and I’m not completely Iván. I’ve had a profession during which I did motion pictures that had been very industrial, that symbolize your picture all around the globe, that provide you with a sure energy and monetary stability. After which it’s true that there’s one other facet of me, and in a approach that facet has to do with regaining my profession. If I outline myself an excessive amount of in a single facet or the opposite, I’m going to begin to really feel like one of many characters within the film. I’m a human being. And I make errors, like each human being, and I do good issues like each human being, too.

Interview was edited and condensed.

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