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How Antonio Banderas Landed JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM Role

Photo from Antonio Banderas’ Instagram

How Antonio Banderas Landed JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM Role

By Movieguide® Contributor

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.

“I think Antonio saw the passion of…the producers and…realized this music is very special,” Peluso said.

Peluso said that Banderas “brought a magic to the character of King Herod” and also brought some needed comedy to the film.

Banderas said about his role, “The character I play is fun, scary, and he’s cruel, and he’s tough. He can smell the change in the air. Something is going to happen that’s going to affect the world in which he thinks everybody should live. Something is happening, somebody is coming who is going to change that.”

The actor shared his enthusiasm for the movie on his socials: “Sweet, funny, freshly emotional. Proud to be part of JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM. Already thinking of Christmas.”

JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM received a +4 content rating from Movieguide®, calling it “one of the most enjoyable, uplifting movies of 2023.” Part of Movieguide®’s review reads:

JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM is a heartfelt musical about the Nativity Story, the Birth of Jesus Christ. Taken mostly from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the movie starts by introducing Mary and Joseph, the three wise men, and King Herod and his eldest son. Joseph sticks by Mary when he has a dream where the Angel Gabriel confirms Mary’s story about Mary carrying the Son of God. Meanwhile, after the three wise men visit the palace, King Herod sends his eldest son to find the mother of the Christ child and kill them.

JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM is a great musical with lots of jeopardy and some funny comic relief to lighten the mood. The songs are really good, and so are the performances. Although this is a musical version of the Nativity Story, the filmmakers treat the birth of Jesus with the proper reverence it deserves. The script and song lyrics refer to Jesus as Lord, the Son of God, the Messiah, King of all kings, Immanuel, and “God with us.”