OnlyOnAOL: How Antonio Banderas keeps his motor running

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Antonio Banderas on "The 33"


BY DONNA FREYDKIN

The years have been kind to Antonio Banderas. Just don't tell him that.

"No, no. I see pictures of myself from those days and I look like a yogurt," he says, laughing. "It's true. It's not so much how I look. It's how I feel. I'm 55. I have curiosity. There's no killing the engine that made me be an actor. I didn't kill the kid. The engine is still very alive."

And it drove him to star in "The 33," opening Friday, about the Chilean miners rescued after being trapped underground for 69 days. Banderas is their leader, known as Super Mario. He had followed the ongoing media coverage of the actual collapse in 2010, and when he got the script, couldn't fathom not doing it.

"It would be stupid for me to say no. It's a good character. The story was very emotional for many people, and for me too," says Banderas. "And it became a suspense movie with a happy ending."

Thankfully, Banderas doesn't freak out when he's stuck in small spaces.

"We shot in real mines. Even if you're not claustrophobic, it was miserable. We had a hard time. We had to understand the ordeal of these men, being cold, everybody got sick. Coughing, sick in the stomach, stuff like that," he says.

But the Spanish actor brushes off talk of any hardships. For him, the work is its own reward -- and none of it, he says, was planned. That's how he's wound up starring in projects as diverse as "Philadelphia," "Evita," "Shrek" and "Spy Kids."

"I don't like the word 'career.' It would have not allowed me to do the things that I wanted to do," says Banderas. "I resisted being put in a box. I have done practically every genre. I've done horror movies, musicals, comedies, animation. I directed. I did the theater."

He's the father of daughter Stella, from his marriage to Melanie Griffith. The little girl, who appeared in 1999's "Crazy in Alabama," which Banderas directed, is all grown up.

"She's now in college, actually. I feel proud of her. I would feel proud of her no matter what she does. She's a good human being," says Banderas. "I cannot believe that amount of time has passed."

And unlike her sister Dakota Johnson, Stella won't be entering the family business.

"I don't think so. One of them is, my stepdaughter. I don't think Stella is going to go there. She has seen the other side of this. The star of the Christmas tree shines, but it's cardboard paper in the back. She has seen the cardboard paper," he says.

For more on Banderas' stepdaughter Dakota, check out these photos.

33 PHOTOS
Dakota Johnson -- Jamie Dornan -- Fifty Shades of Grey
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OnlyOnAOL: How Antonio Banderas keeps his motor running
"Fifty Shades of Grey" stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are leaving very little to the imagination ahead of the film's big release on Feb. 13. 
Actor Jamie Dornan poses for photographers with wife Amelia Warner on the red carpet for the world premiere of the film Fifty Shades of Grey at the 2015 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Wednesday,Feb. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 11: Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attend the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' premiere during the 65th Berlinale International Film Festival at Zoo Palast on February 11, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
Amelia Warner, left, and Jamie Dornan arrive at the 16th annual InStyle and Warner Bros. Golden Globes afterparty at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 11: Actress Dakota Johnson and actor Jamie Dornan attend the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' premiere during the 65th Berlinale International Film Festival at Zoo Palast on February 11, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)
BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 11: Actress Dakota Johnson and actor Jamie Dornan attend the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' premiere during the 65th Berlinale International Film Festival at Zoo Palast on February 11, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)
Dakota Johnson admits that she sometimes questions her decision to take on the virginal role of Anastasia Steele in the highly anticipated erotic book-turned-movie Fifty Shades of Grey, according to ETOnline.
She’s on a promotional blitz for “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which debuts this weekend, and Dakota Johnson just made a surprising comparison to her film and Harry Potter.
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attend a special fan screening of "Fifty Shades of Grey" hosted by The Today Show at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2015 file photo, author EL James attends a special fan screening of "Fifty Shades of Grey" in New York. James, who was also a producer on the film, says she pushed hard on creative decisions to make sure her readers would be happy with the final product. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attend a special fan screening of "Fifty Shades of Grey" hosted by The Today Show at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Dakota Johnson arrives at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attend a special fan screening of "Fifty Shades of Grey" hosted by The Today Show at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Jamie Dornan (L) and Dakota Johnson attend the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Fan First Screening at Ziegfeld Theatre on February 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
Dakota Johnson arrives at the LACMA Art + Film Gala at LACMA on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Dakota Johnson attends the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic on Saturday, May 31, 2014 in Jersey City, N.J. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Dakota Johnson attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" on Monday, May 5, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Dakota Johnson attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" on Monday, May 5, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK NY - FEBRUARY 06: Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan seen at 'Today Show' studios on February 06, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Actors Jamie Dornan (L) and Dakota Johnson attend the 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' New York Fan First screening at Ziegfeld Theatre on February 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the upcoming 'Fifty Shades of Grey' film.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: In this handout photo provided by NBCUniversal, Presenters Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan speak onstage during the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02: Presenter E.L. James (L) and Jamie Dornan, winner of the Vertu Breakthrough award, attend the GQ Men Of The Year awards in association with Hugo Boss at The Royal Opera House on September 2, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
Jamie Dornan arrives at the BAFTA 2015 awards season tea party at The Four Seasons Hotel on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Jamie Dornan arrives at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Actors Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attend the 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' New York fan first screening at Ziegfeld Theatre on February 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Actors Jamie Dornan (L) and Dakota Johnson attend the 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' New York Fan First screening at Ziegfeld Theatre on February 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
Dakota Johnson arrives at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Dakota Johnson and her mother Melanie Griffith attend the "Don Jon" premiere on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Dakota Johnson attends Art of Elysium's "Heaven" on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Katy Winn/Invision/AP)
Dakota Johnson attends the "Don Jon" premiere on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Dakota Johnson attends Fox Fall Eco-Casino Party at The Bookbindery on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
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