Antonio Banderas Says Heart Attack Transformed His Life ‘For Good’
By Movieguide® Contributor
After suffering a heart attack in 2017, actor Antonio Banderas realized he was lucky to have a second chance and returned to his roots to find a new perspective on life.
“It was a knock at the door for me,” Banderas said about the health scare. “It could have been very bad.”
“There are people who have a heart attack that they don’t even know. Sleeping or whatever,” he continued. “And then they felt weird the next day, and they don’t even know what happened. In my case, it was a close call and advice to just really, really, really look at life in a different way. I was just going on the wrong path.”
Leading up to the heart attack, Banderas had been throwing himself into projects and overworking himself to cope with his divorce from Melanie Griffith, his wife of 20 years.
“I was coming out of my divorce and was confused,” he told Fox News Digital. “It was just doing a lot of things. I’m protecting myself and finding sanctuary in work. Making movies one behind the other. It was crazy.”
“And, so, when I stopped, and I came out of this horse of adrenaline is when my heart said, ‘Pow, stop it. It’s not the way. So, do what you want to do,’” he continued.
With this wake-up call, Banderas realized he wanted to reset his life, return to his hometown of Málaga, Spain, and open a theater.
“[The heart attack] changed my life entirely and completely for good,” he said previously.
In 2019, the actor founded the musical theater company Teatro del Soho, which operates out of the Teatro del Soho CaixaBank theater in Málaga. Banderas’ company has since produced the musicals “A Chorus Line,” Godspell” and “Company.”
“I’m having a blast. Success is just do what you want to do in the way you want to do it,” Banderas said. “And that is exactly what I’m doing right now in my life. And I feel very healthy.”
Following his return to Málaga, Banderas largely took a break from Hollywood, only acting in one or two movies a year, giving himself the grace to only appear in movies he is passionate about.
In his most recent role, he plays King Herod in the nativity musical JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM.
“I loved the end of the story,” Banderas said. “I loved the way that it was told. When I read the script, I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll get this opportunity here for me to play a villain that actually can make people laugh.”
“With all this delirium of power and villainous that this guy is carry with him. And, at the same time, a movie that actually can peel all this story and go to the essential of it which is actually love,” he continued. “And do it in a shape with music and humor and making not so dramatic the story.”
Banderas also appreciates that JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM is told in a family-friendly way that allows people of any age to enjoy the story of nativity without any heaviness attached.
“You are actually inviting people to relax and take the story in a nice way,” he said. “And in the world that we are living, everything is so important and so heavy and so complicated.”
“If I have kids that are 4 or 5 years old, I want to go to the movies and have a good time with them and have some popcorn and laugh and, at the same time, be bathed by this story that’s been eternal,” he continued.
“And the conclusion is love,” Banderas added. “And that is the message of Jesus at the end. If you just take that, that is what religion is for me.”
While speaking about religion, Banderas shared that his faith is “important” to him, though he struggles with doubt sometimes.
“I recognize that I have doubts about many things,” he said. “I have these kinds of tribulations that I suppose they are normal in a way. And they contradict faith.”
“I just want to go along on what I think is good, not only for me, but for the world in which I am living,” he added. “And that is the world: Love. There is nothing outside of that word. I mean, that’s what creates everything.”
The head of AFFIRM Films recently told CBN about his desperate plan to get actor Antonio Banderas in JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM and how it paid off.
Rich Peluso, executive vice president and head of AFFIRM Films, “said Banderas, truly an interesting casting decision, was ‘high’ on his wish list. After he and his team began pursuing the actor, they weren’t sure they would land him,” CBN reported.
“So, they went to a theater Banderas owns in Spain, bought tickets to one of his shows, got backstage, and talked to him,” the source continued.
After Peluso spoke with him, Banderas agreed to take on the role of King Herod in the movie.