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Spanish actor Antonio Banderas, who suffered a heart attack two months ago, tells a press conference at the Malaga Spanish Film Festival on March 25, where he won a lifelong career award, that he is well and that the best of his career is yet to come. EFE/Daniel Perez
Spanish actor Antonio Banderas, who suffered a heart attack two months ago, tells a press conference at the Malaga Spanish Film Festival on March 25, where he won a lifelong career award, that he is well and that the best of his career is yet to come…

Antonio Banderas: "The best of my career is yet to come"

Spanish actor Antonio Banderas, who suffered a heart attack two months ago, said he is well and and wanting to get back to work." He is waiting to play Pablo…

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Spanish actor Antonio Banderas, who suffered a heart attack two months ago, said he is well and that the best of his career is yet to come.

Banderas is in the spotlight Saturday in his native Spanish city of Malaga, where he is to receive the lifetime career award at the Malaga Spanish Film Festival, and where at a meeting with reporters he looked back at his beginnings and said that, when he closes his eyes, all that has happened to him is "like a dream."

One of the first questions at the press conference was about the state of his health, and Banderas was very clear about it: "I had a heart attack on Jan. 28, but I was very lucky, it was benign and caused no damage."

"I underwent an operation where they implanted three stents in my coronary arteries, and since I had suffered from arrhythmia for quite some time, I underwent thermoablation, but it wasn't as dramatic as they say," he said Saturday.

He blamed what happened on the fact that the heart of this workaholic had been given "a real beating" over the last 37 years of his life, but said that now he feels "very well and wanting to get back to work."

In the 1970s Banderas debuted as an actor at Malaga's Romano Theater: "I came dressed as a Roman on a Vespino motorbike," Banderas remembered.

About his coming to the US in the early 1990s with The Mambo Kings, he recalled that he stayed at a hotel in New York and, since he didn't speak English, he wouldn't venture to call room service.

"Under the hotel there was a corner store where somebody called Rodriguez worked. I looked for him, ordered some mortadella and ate a sandwich," he said.

He also had words for Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, to whom he owes "so much," but is also a "very tough" direct who is very complicated to work with," because a shoot turns into "a kind of creative hell."

Banderas believes the best of his career "is yet to come" and wants to start directing again, something he enjoyed doing in two of his films, though at the time, he admitted, he might has been "a little too green."

He is also waiting to play his fellow Malaga native Pablo Picasso in a film by Carlos Saura showing the creative process of the famous painting "Guernica," the artist's response to the bombing of a northern Spanish village of that name by Nazi German and Fascist Italian warplanes before World War II.

"The problems of rights have been cleared up with a new screenplay, but I don't really know how things stand. I committed myself with Carlos to the previous screenplay, which had a powerful emotional impact and a wonderful narrative rhythm that reflected what happened in those 33 days when Picasso created 'Guernica,'"

In his personal life, the lifelong workaholic, who never knew when to stop and work was "like eating popcorn," wants to take a little time off and "rethink a lot of things." 

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