WTF Happened to Antonio Banderas?

Every generation has its major heartthrob, and throughout the nineties Antonio Banderas was the biggest. Having rose to prominence in his native Spain acting in a series of films for Pedro Almodóvar, Banderas was brought to America to co-star with Armand Assante in The Mambo Kings. From there, roles in Philadelphia, Interview with the Vampire and more followed, and Banderas probably could have coasted on his looks for years. But, rather than do that, he did the unexpected – he became a legit action star in one of the best action movies of the nineties, Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado. He followed it up with a bad guy turn in Assassins opposite Sylvester Stallone, but really broke through in a major way when he played the title role in The Mask of Zorro. To this day he remains the definitive screen Zorro, and his sexy duel with Catherine Zeta Jones is considered a classic.

In the years since, Banderas has had his ups and downs at the box office. The Legend of Zorro proved to be an underwhelming sequel, while his follow-up to Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico got a mixed reaction from fans. He had starring roles in the Spy Kids franchise which demonstrated a flair for comedy, and had a major success voicing Puss in Boots in the Shrek franchise. However, by the 2010’s, he was doing mostly DTV action flicks, although some of them, such as the underrated Automata, were actually pretty good. Recently, he seems poised for a comeback, with him earning raves and an Academy Award nomination for his role in Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory, and he’ll be acting in the fifth Indiana Jones movie opposite Harrison Ford. Join us as we revisit his career in this episode of WTF Happened to this Celebrity!

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About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.