Antonio Banderas has described new movie Pain and Glory as the film he “needed to do” with his friend Pedro Almodovar.

The Mask of Zorro actor was a regular feature in the Spanish filmmaker’s movies in the 1980s before he made his international breakthrough with 1993 Hollywood film Philadelphia. After more than 20 years, the duo collaborated again on 2011 movie The Skin I Live In, which was a tense experience.

In Pain and Glory, Banderas plays a version of Almodovar, with his character being a fading director who fell out with the leading actor of his movie years before and is trying to make amends ahead of a screening, and Banderas was touched that Almodovar reached out to him about the part.

“With Almodovar, it’s very difficult to doubt. The opposite: it was the movie I needed to do with my friend,” the Spanish actor told Time Out magazine. “We had an experience on The Skin I Live In that was tense, basically because I came after 22 years not working with him with a box filled with tools helping me to be more secure in front of the camera.

“He thought those things were good for my American directors but not for him. When he called me again it was beautiful to know that he’d give his confidence to me to play him. This has been one of the best times of my life as an actor.”

When asked to divulge what happened on The Skin I Live In, the 59-year-old hinted at creative differences.

“It was just professional discussions on the set (about) how to approach the character. It was: you do it your way and then we’ll do it my way. Of course, he’s the director – he’s going to choose his way,” he said, admitting he’d forgotten actors don’t have as much of a say in the process in European films as they do in Hollywood.
Pain and Glory is now showing in cinemas.