Was Pablo Picasso A Selfish Genius? 'Genius' Season 2 Stars Answer That Question

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Antonio Banderas plays Pablo Picasso in Season 2 of National Geographic's Emmy-nominated series Genius with T.R. Knight and Poppy Delevingne portraying people in the famous artist's life. CineMovie asked the actors whether it takes a madman to become a genius, but speaking strictly of Picasso, they described him in another word.

Season 2 of Genius examines another celebrated and influential individual. Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who lived in France for most of his life. Pablo Picasso imagined and interpreted the world in totally new and unorthodox ways, reinventing our perception of creativity in the process. Executive produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, Genius explores how the Spanish-born artist’s passionate nature and relentless creative drive were inextricably linked to his personal life, which included tumultuous marriages, numerous affairs and constantly shifting political and personal alliances in a 10-part series.

T.R. Knight (Grey's Anatomy, The Catch) returns to Genius playing a different character. He portrays Picasso's first friend in Paris, journalist and poet Max Jacob, who introduced the Spanish-born artist to the French culture and language. Poppy Delevingne plays the young, suffering mistress and model, Marie-Thérèse Walter who desperately wanted Picasso to marry her and become a family with their daughter.

T.R. Knight gave us insight into his Max Jacobs character in Genius season 2. He describes Jacobs friendship with Picasso as "great," but there was tension in that Jacobs, a gay man, was living in a society not accepting of homosexuals, and his attraction to Picasso was something he couldn't act on. Knight also revealed Picasso was aware of the attraction and took advantage of it, adding both sides did. The actor cherishes playing these types of characters.

“To get the opportunity to delve into troubled people... fascinating... complex people is just a joy,” said the actor.

Poppy Delivigne's real-life character also had a complicated life with Picasso. The Spanish artist met 17-year-old Marie-Thérèse Walter while he was married to Olga Khokhlova, a Russian ballerina. Walter became his muse and lover which led to fathering a daughter. Poppy, the model turned actress describes the love affair as loving, but tragic in that she longed to marry the notorious womanizer which he never did in their 10-year relationship.

Picasso then fell in love with Dora Maar, a new muse and surreal photographer. Picasso himself admitted he told the women to fight it out, and the winner would be all his. That scene is included in the series.

Picasso wasn't a total douche, according to the actress. "He treated them well and provided for them but her hopes for marriage were dashed when Dora entered his life."

Fortunately for Poppy, her co-star Antonio Banderas was nothing like Picasso. As a newcomer to the acting scene, she looked to Antonio for guidance, and he was generous with her and the other actors in collaborating on their scenes together, giving suggestions and asking for their thoughts on his character.

“He’s been so generous and kind, and he makes everyone in the room feel very at ease and very comfortable. That’s something that’s quite rare.”

When referring to individuals as geniuses, do celebrated minds like Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso have to be a little mad to be labeled "genius."

“I think selfish," replies Knight. "It’s interesting because we’re talking a lot about the relationships that he had and some of the people he chewed up in hindsight or didn’t treat as he should’ve. Ignored or whatever word you want to put to it.” He compares it to romantic relationships.  "It's antithetical. You want to be the best person for that person. If all that energy goes into work - there’s no time for others."

Given what we know about Picasso and what's explored on the National Geographic series, was Pablo Picasso selfish?

“I don’t think you cannot call him selfish. I don’t see how one could," he said fearing this would be the headline that gets him in trouble with Picasso's family.

Poppy also chimed in. "I would think that you’d have to call him selfish.'

Genius premieres April 24 on the National Geographic channel at 9 p.m./8c

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