Back in September, the National Geographic channel announced Spanish star Antonio Banderas would play painter Pablo Picasso in the second season of their Emmy-winning anthology series, Genius. Now we get our first glimpse of the artistic raconteur with the first trailer.
A flamenco guitar opens up the audience’s introduction to Banderas’ gray-haired Pablo Picasso. The opening lines, “People say I am a genius. That it all came easy to me,” indicate that like the previous installment’s attempt to lift the veil on Albert Einstein, this season will show us Picasso wasn’t born with all the skill. Mixing shots of Banderas with newcomer Alex Rich as young Pablo, the trailer gives us a good indication of what Picasso was all about: work and women.
Blobs of color are rapidly interspersed with half-naked women and a rollicking guitar riff emphasizing that Picasso was the 20th-century equivalent of a rock star. There’s a marked uptick in the sexuality of this season, with several shots of Banderas lying in bed and discussing how his muses can be anything he wants them to be. At one point a Jerry Springer-esque catfight breaks out between two of Picasso’s ladies. Might they be hoping to entice a wider audience with Tudors-level salaciousness?
The second season certainly looks intriguing. Banderas evokes comparisons to his portrayal of Armand in Interview with the Vampire, a laconic cool figure who can seduce anything and anyone. Picasso is a figure most people assume they know, and hopefully the Ron Howard and Brian Grazer-created series can tell us something new. Picasso was one of the most prolific artists with a career spanning 80 years and it’s unclear from the trailer how much of his life the series will detail.
Season two of Genius premieres April 24 on the National Geographic Channel.