Spanish Director Gabe Ibañez On His Love of Sci-Fi and Casting Antonio Banderas as a Robot Hunter

In the sci-fi film Autómata, Spanish filmmaker Gabe Ibáñez directs and co-writes a story that follows Jacq Vaucan (Antonio Banderas), an insurance agent whose job it is to investigate when a robot malfunctions. Jacq is shocked to learn androids have started to break their strict protocol and find a way to modify themselves and, in turn, become a threat to the remaining human race.

We caught up with the Madrid native to talk about working with Antonio Banderas and his love of sci-fi.

[insert-video youtube=Wh_wmaOZcWo]

Do you want people to see Autómata and find a deeper meaning behind it, or is this just an entertaining movie to enjoy?

I was trying to make a movie the way people did in the 60s and 70s. What interested me was having a concept behind this movie. These kinds of movies are important to us. There is a deeper story I hope people get that talks about the robots and the violence in the world and how we are getting there.

So, people shouldn’t go into this film thinking they’re going to get something like I, Robot or Transformers, correct?

It’s something different, yes, but I think people who like science fiction would like something different like this. I think we’ve made a movie that a lot of people can enjoy. Classic science fiction movies like this are very powerful.

I’m a big fan of science fiction with more intimate storytelling like in films like Moon and Solaris. Do you like that kind of understated sci-fi?

I like a lot of different sci-fi, but I prefer movies that make you feel something, whether it’s a big movie or a small movie. I don’t really like the fantastical science fiction movies though. I prefer science fiction that is more realistic.

Do you think an actor like Antonio Banderas would’ve been given the opportunity to star in a film like this had it been made in the U.S. and not Spain?

You know, it would be difficult. Antonio has his Spanish accent and in Hollywood things are done differently. But, in this case, I chose Antonio to do this movie. It’s great to be able to give a Spanish actor this kind of role. Antonio works hard and is talented and is very passionate about his movies, so to be able to get him for this film was amazing.

What excites you about cinema in Spain right now? What can we expect to see in the near future coming out of the country?

You know, it’s difficult to create movies in English that work in Spain. But that’s something that is happening now and will happen more in the years to come so we can get more of these movies into international markets.


Automata opens on October 10 in select theaters and is available on iTunes, Amazon, and other VOD platforms.