After the ratings hit and critically acclaimed Genius: Einstein, the National Geographic channel's first ever scripted drama returns for a new series focused on the life and times of the controversial 20th century artist Pablo Picasso.
One of, if not, the most celebrated and internationally renowned artists of the last century, Picasso co-founded the cubist and collage movements, created thousands of artworks in his lifetime which included the infamous Guernica mural. But as with many legendary artists, his life was not without controversy and the new series of Genius aims to shed light on both his artistic achievements and his tumultuous personal life.
Executive produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, an incredible cast is lined up to play Picasso and some of the most influential figures of his life.
Get to know the cast of Genius: Picasso below…
Antonio Banderas as Pablo Picasso
One of the most prodigious and indeed controversial artists of all time, Picasso’s art challenged and changed forever the way modern art is interpreted. And of course, his personal life was far from calm. A serial womaniser, he took many mistresses in addition to his two wives.
Antonio Banderas plays Pablo Picasso from his late thirties to the end of his life at a ripe 91 years of age. Famed Spanish actor Antonio is perhaps best known for his leading role in the Mask of Zorro, films and for movies such as Desperado, Original Sin, The Skin I Live In, Once Upon a Time in Mexico and voicing Puss in Boots in the Shrek movies and its spin-off Puss in Boots.
Alex Rich as the young Pablo Picasso
Alex Rich plays a young Picasso as he attends art school and grapples with his family’s expectations of his talents against his personal artistic vision and ambitions. Alex is an up and coming American actor and previous roles include playing Florian in Netflix hit GLOW and Tyler in the hit crime series True Detective.
Clémence Poésy as Françoise Gilot
Françoise Gilot is a French painter and critic who had a decade long affair with Picasso. They met when she was 21 and he 61 - and while they never married, they had two children together. Picasso called her “The Woman Who Says No” as she was one of the few women in his life who dared to defy him and love him on her own terms. In Genius her character is portrayed by Clémence Poésy, a Parisian fashion model turned actress whose additional work includes starring in the television series The Tunnel and playing Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter franchise.
Sebastian Roché as Emile Gilot
Emile Gilot is portrayed in Genius as Clemence’s tyrannical father, giving some reasonable explanation for why she would be drawn to such an older man as a partner. He was a highly-academic man who wished his daughter to follow in his footsteps, and ideally train as a lawyer. He is deeply disturbed by her ambitions to be an artist. Sebastian Roché is a Scottish-French actor whose roles include playing Miael Mikaelson in both The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, and Reichsminister Martin Heusmann in The Man in the High Castle.
Robert Sheehan as Carlos Casagemas
Carlos Casegemas was Picasso’s peer at art school and one of his closest friends. The two moved from Barcelona to Paris but their friendship was cut short when Carlos committed suicide due to his unrequited passion for French model Germaine Pichot – whom Picasso would later take for a lover of his own. Robert Sheehan is an Irish Actor whose recent roles include appearing as a series regular on Fortitude and The Umbrella Academy.
Poppy Delevingne as Marie-Thérèse Walter
Marie-Thérèse Walter was Picasso’s mistress between 1927-1935 and they had a daughter, Maya, together. The two embarked on their relationship when she was just 17-years-old (he was 45 and still living with his first wife Olga Khoklova) and she posed for his works, including in Le Rêve. Poppy Delevingne is an English model and actress, with additional acting roles including playing Clara in Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Signora Colonna in the upcoming The Aspen Papers.
Samantha Colley as Dora Maar
Dora Maar was one of Picasso’s long string of mistresses, who replaced Marie. A French photographer, poet and painter, she was Picasso’s mistress and muse in 1935 and photographed the process of Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica. Samantha Colley is an English Actress whose other roles include playing Eliza Skerrett in the hit ITV historical drama Victoria.
Watch Genius: Picasso on Monday, April 23rd at 8pm on National Geographic, BT TV channel 317.
National Geographic is one of 60 premium channels available on BT TV along with other channels such as E!, Comedy Central, Discovery and many more.
Image credits: REX/Shutterstock/PA Images