Spanish actor Antonio Banderas says he never listens when people criticize his career choices, explaining that his decision to take or pass on a project depends on how much fun he thinks the film would be to make.
"I don't care about my career at all," Banderas recently told reporters. "I don't like those actors who are planning to do again something they created. I love to be a comedian.... Those guys might have a better career than me, but they will also have less fun. I just love to work in those things I love. Sometimes people say, 'Why do you do "Spy Kids"? It's not a movie for you.' I had a great time tossing around ideas with (director) Robert Rodriguez and I had a blast with the kids."
The 42-year-old actor can now be seen in the sexy new thriller "Femme Fatale," co-starring Rebecca Romijn-Stamos ("X-Men.") Asked what the allure to that project was, Banderas confessed it was partly because his wife Melanie Griffith had such a positive experience working with "Femme" director Brian De Palma on the films "Body Double" and "The Bonfire of the Vanities."
"Brian DePalma had a very strong relationship with my wife -- they made two movies together," Banderas explained. "(He( was someone I admire and love, so for me there was no other motive other than to have fun with someone like him."
Banderas gained international star status when he followed up a string of Pedro Almodovar films in the 1980s with a lead role in the Mexican film, "Desperado," directed by Rodriguez, who would later make "Spy Kids."
The actor is best known in America for his performances in "The Mambo Kings," "The Mask of Zorro" and "Evita," but he also carved a niche for himself as the sexy villain in the early to mid-1990s American films "Interview with the Vampire," "Never Talk to Strangers," "Assassins" before headlining more family-friendly fare like "Spy Kids" and "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams."
In working with a legend like De Palma, who directed films such as "Scarface," "Carrie," "Mission Impossible" and "The Untouchables," Banderas said he humbly deferred to the filmmaker, despite his own extensive experience.
"When I decided to do the movie I said to him: 'Just use me as a thing. I'm going to come over here and just do what you want me to do,'" Banderas recalled. "Since Pedro Almodovar, I never had a strong personality on my back telling me what to do. When you have a strong personality like that you just stop thinking, you put yourself in that person's hands, which is what I did. I'm very happy with the results. ('Femme Fatale') is a very daring movie, almost punk."
Asked if he played his character just as he was scripted or if he altered him some way, Banderas replied: "I talked to Brian and asked permission to change my character a little. I went to Paris, I read the notes I made, and he very politely listened to my suggestions. He said, 'This is very good, but if you want to be in my movie you'll do what is in the script.'
"Brian had strong logic, but the way he decided to perform this or that ... it's almost like a wink, he doesn't want to follow the rules. Those kind of movies, you get lost as an actor, but you get lost in a world that is kind of interesting. He kept telling me, 'Don't worry Antonio, this is a dream.' It's like abstract art, a nature that is totally different. You may get lost in there, but as you make the movie you start catching his style," he continued.
Acknowledging that it has been years since he has appeared in one of Pedro Almodovar's films, Banderas said the choice was due to geography, not any bad blood between himself and the acclaimed filmmaker.
"I stopped working with Almodovar 12 years ago when I came to America, but I didn't have in the mind the idea of developing a career in America," he noted. "In fact, I went back to Spain and worked awhile there, then I started going back and forth. Then Melanie came along, she had two kids, they had fathers. Somebody had to make a decision. I didn't like the idea of having the kids travel 50,000 miles, all around the world in 10 weeks, so that's why I moved to America. It was more a personal reason than a professional."
Banderas can next be seen in Robert Rodriguez's western crime drama, "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," a sequel of sorts to "Desperado," then opposite Emma Thompson in a film titled, "Imagining Argentina," both due out next year. He is currently filming a role in Bruce Beresford's film, "Pancho Villa as Himself," before heading to Broadway to do "Nine" from January to August.