Banderas drew on his heart attack for emotions in new film

TORONTO — Antonio Banderas says his emotional state from having a heart attack a few years ago influenced his award-winning performance in the Pedro Almodóvar film, “Pain and Glory.”

Banderas won the best actor trophy earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival.

In an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival, Banderas told The Associated Press that drawing on personal experience has always helped him, but Almodóvar stressed that he especially embrace it for the performance.

“I had a heart attack two and a half years ago and it changed me in certain ways, yeah, and Pedro detected that, and he saw it, and he says, ‘you know, don’t hide this thing,’” he said.

Banderas says he understood the famed Spanish director’s message.

“I knew exactly what he was talking about, because after you have a heart attack you receive a lot of information on what life is all about that is very difficult to describe in words, but it just set up a new way of understanding life itself,” Banderas said.

The 2017 cardiac event significantly changed his life, the 59-year-old said. Family and friends became more important.

“You become more raw,” he said. “You eliminate things you thought were important in your life, you erase them out of your life.”

He was also able to determine the parts of his career that were essential.

“I would say my passion for acting and for telling stories as it was at the beginning ... that came back,” he said.

His new look on life culminated with getting the top acting honor for “Pain and Glory” at Cannes in May.

“It was very beautiful, because I’ve been an eternal nominee. I never got to get up there,” Banderas said.

In “Pain and Glory,” Banderas plays a film director with physical difficulties and a lifetime of regret. Parts of the story directly reflect Almodóvar’s life, forcing the actor to tread carefully with his approach.

Author JK Rowling makes huge gift for MS research

LONDON — Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has made a substantial donation for research into the treatment of multiple sclerosis at a center named after her late mother.

The 15.3 million-pound ($18.8 million) donation announced Thursday will be used for new facilities at a research center based at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The author’s mother suffered from the disease and died at the age of 45.

The new gift follows a major donation Rowling made in 2010 that started the Anne Rowling clinic at the university.

Rowling said she is encouraged by advances being made and proud that the clinic is not only doing important research but has also provided “practical, on the ground support and care for people with MS.”

The Associated Press

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