The Dad Of Those 'Spy Kids'

Antonio Banderas - Spy Kids
The action comedy "Spy Kids" surprised many in the spring of 2001 by reaching blockbuster status and taking over $112 million at the box office.

Of course, a blockbuster has to be followed by a sequel in Hollywood and Antonio Banderas has to return as the kids' father, Gregario Cortez, in "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams."

Banderas visits The Early Show Monday to discuss his new film, working on his fourth collaboration with director Robert Rodriguez and five new films awaiting release.

Banderas plays Cortez as a daring secret agent, suave and seductive husband and also a dad worried that his growing kids no longer need him.

This time, Banderas gives his character new comic twists by adding to his vulnerability. He is a husband afraid of his in-laws, a working man about to be passed over for the promotion he deserves, and a father who needs to know his kids still think he's their hero.

The actor has a few films ready for release. He co-stars with Lucy Liu in "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever" (to be released in September). He has a supporting role in "Frida", starring Salma Hayak as Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (to be released in October). Banderas co-stars with Rebecca Romijn-Stamos in Brian De Palma's "Femme Fatale" (to be released in November). He will play a 1970s Argentinean playwright with the psychic ability to see the locations of the missing loved ones of people in "Imagining Argentina." It is a movie based on the 1987 novel of the same title by Lawrence Thornton (to be released in 2003). He also re-teamed with director Rodriguez for "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," the third in an unofficial trilogy begun with "El Mariachi" (will be released in 2003).


  • Born Jose Antonio Dominguez Banderas in Malaga, Spain, Aug. 10, 1960.
  • Banderas began his career working with an independent theater company in his home town of Malaga at age 14, having abandoned dreams of playing professional soccer after breaking his foot. He helped form the theater troupe and traveled around southern Spain in an old truck, putting on street productions.
  • In 1980, he moved to Madrid; worked as a waiter and department store clerk while trying to get acting jobs.
  • Banderas worked from 1981-1986 as an ensemble member of Spain's National Theater.
  • The stage actor made his feature film debut, "Labyrinth of Passion," in 1982 — his first collaboration with Pedro Almodovar
  • Banderas acted in Carlos Saura's "Los Zancos/The Stilts" in 1984.
  • The actor teamed again with Almodovar for "Matador."
  • Third film with Almodovar, "Law of Desire", cast him as a heterosexual discovering homosexual love in 1987.
  • In 1988, Banderas co-starred in Almodovar's "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown", starring Maura. His then-wife Ana Leza was also in cast.
  • Appeared as himself in Madonna's tour documentary "Truth or Dare" in 1991. The "Material Girl" gave his career a big boost by publicly and unrequitedly lusting after him.
  • In 1992, Banderas acted and had to learn the entire script phonetically in first Hollywood film, Arne Glimcher's "The Mambo Kings."
  • In 1994, Banderas made a second movie with director Saura for "Outrage," played opposite Glenn Close and Winona Ryder in "The House of the Spirits," acted as Tom Hanks' lover in "Philadelphia."
  • In 1994, the actor portrayed sinister bloodsucker Armand in Neil Jordan's film adaptation of "Interview with the Vampire" and acted in "Of Love and Shadows," another picture adapted from a work by Allende.
  • The year 1995 gave Banderas his first leading role in a Hollywood film, Robert Rodriguez's "Desperado." That year he also co-starred with future wife Melanie Griffith in "Two Much."
  • Banderas played Che in the film musical "Evita", opposite Madonna in 1996.
  • In 1998, Banderas became an action hero when he starred alongside Anthony Hopkins in "The Mask of Zorro."
  • Banderas made his feature directorial debut, "Crazy in Alabama", starring Griffith.