Few painters have been as awe-inspiringly prolific as Pablo Picasso. One of the most influential and celebrated artists of the 20th century, his career spanned more than 80 of his 91 years, during which time he produced an estimated 50,000 works. His passionate nature and relentless creative drive were inextricably linked to his personal life, which included tumultuous marriages, numerous affairs and ever-shifting political and personal alliances. Constantly reinventing himself, Picasso always strove to innovate and push the boundaries of artistic expression, leading to his worldwide renown as a genius.
Premiering with two back to back feature-length episodes Sunday, April 22, at 9.50pm UAE time/8.50pm KSA time, the second season of National Geographic’s Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actor's Guild Award-nominated 10-part global event series, GENIUS: PICASSO, explores the Spanish expatriate's devotion to his craft, his contribution to modern art and his turbulent personal life. The new season, from Fox 21 Television Studios, is executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment, MWM Studios and EUE/Sokolow Entertainment. Showrunner, executive producer, writer and director Ken Biller also returns.
“We are very excited to bring to our regional viewers Genius: Picassio at a time where the Middle East region is experiencing an Art renaissance with the advent of museums such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the explosive growth of local artists. In depicting the life of one of the 20th century most influential artists and personalities, I believe that this series will inspire a whole new generation of budding artists while engaging viewers of all ages with one of the most fascinating journeys of human exploration, creativity and brilliance,” said Sanjay Raina, General Manager, National Geographic Abu Dhabi MENA and Senior Vice Presidents, Fox Networks Group.
Antonio Banderas (“The Skin I'm In," “The Mask of Zorro,”) brings to life the artistic career of the titular artist: Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz Picasso. Joining him as the younger Pablo is Alex Rich (“Glow,” “True Detective”), who rejects academic study and joins the circle of young bohemian artists and writers struggling to make it in early 20th century Spain and France.
Clémence Poésy portrays Françoise Gilot, a French painter and best-selling author whose decade-long affair with Picasso yielded two children and who was his only lover strong enough to withstand his ferocious intensity and move on with her life. Sebastian Roché (“Young Pope,” “The Man in the High Castle”) is Emile Gilot, Francoise’s tyrannical father. Robert Sheehan, plays Carles Casagemas, a Spanish art student and poet who was one of Picasso’s closest friends. Poppy Delevingne (“Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”), portrays Marie-Thérèse Walter, a lover and muse of Picasso, who mothered his first daughter. Aisling Franciosi (“Game of Thrones,” “The Fall”) is Fernande Olivier, a French artist and model, of whom Picasso painted more than 60 portraits.
They join returning cast members from the first season, Samantha Colley (“The Crucible”) as Dora Maar, a French photographer and painter who was also Picasso’s lover and muse; T.R. Knight (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Catch”) as Max Jacob, one of Picasso’s first friends in Paris; Seth Gabel (“Salem,” “Fringe”) as Guillaume Apollinaire, one of the foremost poets of the 20th century and a frequent collaborator with Picasso; and Johnny Flynn (“Lovesick”) who makes a special appearance as French actor Alain Cuny.
The second season of the acclaimed series began production last year, filming in many locations where Picasso himself once lived and worked. This included a three-day shoot in Málaga, Spain — birthplace of both Picasso and Banderas — where production filmed in the same house in which Picasso was born, the church where he was baptised and the bullring where he found much inspiration in his youth.