Antonio Banderas Reveals How His 2017 Heart Attack Influenced Pain and Glory Character

Antonio Banderas is opening up about how he used the pain from his heart attack in 2017 for his new film Pain and Glory.

The actor, 59, spoke to PEOPLE Now about the experience of using a personal matter for the film, and how his director, Pedro Almodóvar, helped him through it.

“It changed me in certain ways. Yeah, and Pedro detected that. He saw it and said, ‘Don’t hide this thing that you have now after your cardiac problem, don’t hide it. I think the character can use that because the character is filled with pain and a lot of diseases and solitude and loneliness,'” Banderas said. 

The Spanish actor said he “knew exactly what he was talking about,” explaining, “Because after you have a heart attack you receive an amount of information about what life is about that is very difficult to describe in words. It just set up a new way of understanding life itself.”

As for what he learned from the experience, Banderas said he distanced himself from things that held no value to him.

“You become more raw. You eliminate things that you think were important in your life and you erase them from your life,” he said. “Money, for example. You realize money is just an intellectual process. The things that are really important they pop up in a really interesting way.”

Banderas suffered a heart attack on January 2017 after experiencing chest pains while working out. In March, he told reporters, “I suffered a heart attack on Jan. 26, but it wasn’t serious and hasn’t caused any damage.”

Pain and Glory follows the story of a director (Banderas) who reflects on the choices he’s made in his life while his present and past come crashing down.

The role won Banderas the Best Actor prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The film also stars Penélope Cruz and Spanish singer Rosalia.

Pain and Glory is in theaters Oct. 4.

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