Once again, Antonio Banderas is enjoying the traditions of Semana Santa in his hometown of Malaga, Spain. The actor always tries to find room in his busy schedule to follow the processions and join his cofradía (brotherhood) for Easter. He has traveled with his wife, Melanie Griffith, their daughter Stella del Carmen and Dakota, the daughter of Melanie and her former husband, actor Don Johnson. Dakota recently made her debut as a model in an advertising campaign for the Spanish brand Mango.
The whole family, with the addition of Dakota’s boyfriend, are enjoying the processions from a balcony downtown and, although this time we have seen Melanie sporting a cool leather jacket, in previous years, Banderas’ wife was seen wearing the very traditional Spanish black mantilla to join the party.
As he told reporters a few years ago, Banderas would love to live this festivity in the streets with everyone else, but his tremendous popularity doesn’t allow him to do so. Furthermore, the processions are just too passionate and massive to add a Hollywood star to them! However, the actor does not hesitate to participate in his own way in the traditional religious celebrations. Last Sunday, he took part in the procession of the brotherhood named Lágrimas y favores (Tears and Favors). Banderas has been a hermano (member) since the age of seven, and has humorously recognized that the first time he was photographed wearing the traditional habit in a procession, in 1994, his American fans were shocked because they thought it was a parade of the Ku Klux Klan, as the uniforms that members of both organizations use are quite similar.
‘Akil’ Banderas’s directorial adventure
Soon after the Easter holidays, the Banderas family will go back to work. Last week, Variety magazine reported that Antonio Banderas has chosen Melanie to star in his third film serving in the role of director to “Akil”. Banderas has written the script and will produce and direct the film himself. According to him, even international movie stars are having trouble obtaining funds for their projects these days, especially in Spain. “My country is going through a massive financial crisis. It is very difficult to get funding for a film. I conceived “Akil” so that the project does not depend on others,” Banderas has said.
“Akil” tells the story of a relationship between an American woman and an African immigrant man who arrives at the Spanish coast aboard a boat. According to Banderas, “This is a love story between two people with completely different age, attitude, religion and wealth, but who end up being essential to each other”. Banderas’s previous movies as a director were “Crazy in Alabama” (1999, also starring Melanie Griffith) and “El camino de los ingleses” (2006).
Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith, 18 years of love
Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith began an affair in 1995 while filming the Spanish comedy “Two Much” and were married in 1996. When they met, Antonio was 35 and was married to actress Ana Leza. Melanie, at 38, was married for the second time to Don Johnson. Theirs was a crush that both thought it would not last, but they’ve been together for 18 years since going public with their romance.
Their marriage has survived constant rumors of separation, the strongest of which happened last summer, when the actor was photographed dancing passionately with a young blonde in a Mexican nightclub. But both Antonio and Melanie have made it clear many times that they love each other and have no intent to divorce.
Melanie’s problems of addiction to drugs and alcohol have also been an ordeal for the couple. The actress has dealt with this problem since her teens and has always been very honest about it. She’s been in rehab three times: 1998, 2000 and 2009. Antonio has always supported his wife and he has even said that going through these difficult circumstances has strengthened their marriage. “I did not know she was so strong. It makes me love her even more because she fought like a lion and succeeded, which brought us even closer,” said the actor to AARP magazine in 2011.
So Melanie Griffith not only keeps proudly wearing the tattoo on her arm that says, “Antonio” but is gathering strength in Spain to get ready to star in her husband’s third film. That’s what I call complicity! And for Semana Santa and for the rest of their year, we wish them the best.