Antonio Banderas as Burger Beard in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.
Antonio Banderas as Burger Beard in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. Photo K C Bailey

Antonio Banderas steps out of Boots and into SpongeBob

ANTONIO Banderas is no stranger to family films.

The Spaniard played a secret agent dad in Spy Kids and his character Puss in Boots was so successful in the Shrek franchise the sword-wielding feline got his own movie. Banderas joins the successful SpongeBob franchise as the only on-camera actor in the latest live-action and animation mash-up, which sees SpongeBob and his friends step on to dry land to pursue a diabolical pirate (Banderas) who has stolen the secret Krabby Patty recipe.

Q: How much did you know about SpongeBob SquarePants before getting involved in this movie?

A: To be honest, not too much but that was okay because what I wanted to do was focus on the movie, as it is slightly different from the TV show.

Q: What did you enjoy the most about working on a family film that combines animation with live action?

A: Kids have a world of fantasy in which many things are permitted that are not allowed in the real world. And that enables you as an artist to be able to enter that universe and expand. I enjoy the possibility of playing a character that is larger than life and being so expressive.

Q: Is this a way to also bring out the kid you have inside?

A: Absolutely. Many people ask me if I do these movies for my kids, and my answer is always the same: 'No, I do them for me!' Picasso used to say that even though he came from afar he was still a kid, and I feel the same way. I will never abandon my inner child.

Q: But how is it to work opposite animated characters that are not really there in scenarios that are not animated?

A: It's technically challenging because there is no one there to relate to. So, they would move these sticks with colours in front of me and I would have to remember which character was attached to each stick. And then all their voices would come from the same place - which can also be confusing, as you are normally used to looking at whoever is talking to you. But once I got used to it all, I would arrive to the set and just do it.

Q: What was your biggest challenge on this set?

A: Believe it or not, and even though it may sound silly, my biggest challenge was wearing that pirate beard. At the end of the day - after 12 hours of wearing it - my skin was really irritated. It almost felt like my face was on fire.

Q: What kind of a man is Burger Beard?

A: He is an interesting character because he is as bad as he is naive. And he is also kind of romantic, as he is obsessed with making these perfect hamburgers. The problem is that the way he sets out to achieve his goals isn't very nice.

Q: And on top of being the villain he is a pirate?

A. Yes, and to play a pirate is even more fun because in a way they represent freedom. You have to understand that back in their time they did all the things that normal people couldn't do. So those characters are bigger than life, and they do not limit you, and in this particular context even more, due to the extraordinary imagination and the humour. To be able to laugh while you are doing your job is great.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is in cinemas now.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

Stars: Tom Kenny, Antonio Banderas, Bill Fagerbakke.

Director: Paul Tibbitt

Rating: PG

Reviewer's last word: Colourful and manic, this expansion of the quirky and beloved animated TV series will delight SpongeBob fans with its innovative blend of cartoon characters with live action.

Star profile: Tom Kenny

Quirky fact: Before getting into voice work for animated children's shows, Tom was a stand-up comedian and is a childhood friend of Bobcat Goldthwait.

Best known for: SpongeBob SquarePants, Adventure Time, Futurama, CatDog.

If you like this movie you'll like these: Home, Spongicus, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.

Quote: "People are always saying that I must have been the class clown, with all these voices. No, I was way too shy to be the class clown; I was a class clown's writer."

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