In the pantheon of reaction GIFs, the one where Antonio Banderas looks away from a computer screen to close his eyes and exhale with rapturous joy ranks close to the top. Not only is it perfect for any celebratory situation, from getting a good grade back on a paper to reading a solid comeback to a stupid tweet, but it reminds the world forevermore of the mid-90s era when Banderas was everywhere and in everything, breathing life into otherwise forgettable movies.
During an interview with GQ about Banderas’ career and latest films, Pain And Glory and The Laundromat, journalist Gabriella Paiella asked him not just about his work and life, but, as is journalistic duty, whether or not he was aware of his ongoing role as a popular GIF’s leading man.
While discussing the early to mid-90s period when Banderas gained international fame for his first English-language roles, Paiella asks him “a question about that time”—specifically about a tiny moment in 1995's Assassins that, she says, will require “showing [Banderas] a GIF” to explain. He’s asked if he knows that the scene “has become very popular online.” Banderas, described as putting “on glasses to look at the GIF anyway,” says “everybody” tells him about the clip.
“I got him, the enemy, the person that I wanted, and he was so happy,” Banderas says of the scene, treating Paiella to a live recreation of a moment burned onto the surface of the internet’s collective grey matter. “I don’t totally understand this new generation and those meme things,” he adds. “It’s fun, I guess.”
Just the same, when the article was tweeted out, Banderas played along with this generation’s love of “those meme things” by replying to it with the GIF of himself.
The rest of the interview (especially an unexpectedly expansive answer about playing Shrek’s Puss In Boots and diversity) is well worth reading—but only if you’re able to recover from Banderas’ casual dismissal of your desktop folders filled with curated reaction GIFs as “fun, I guess.”
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