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“My mother said to me, If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope. Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.” – Pablo Picasso –
Wed Apr 04 2018 18:05:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Starring Antonio Banderas and Alex Rich in the joint role of Pablo Picasso,

10-Episode Series Hails From Fox 21 Television Studios and Imagine Television and Is Executive Produced by Academy Award Winners Brian Grazer and Ron Howard;
Special Two-Part Premiere Tuesday, April 24, at 9/8c


Clémence Poésy, Robert Sheehan, Poppy Delevingne and Aisling Franciosi Feature Alongside Returning Cast From Season One, Samantha Colley, T.R. Knight, Seth Gabel and a Special Appearance By Johnny Flynn

(Washington, D.C.– April 4, 2018) 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 a double episode Tuesday, April 24, at 9/8c, 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. In the U.S., marquee sponsors for GENIUS: PICASSO are Lexus and Viking.  


Antonio Banderas (“The Skin I'm In," “The Mask of Zorro,” “Shrek”) 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 (“The Tunnel,” “Final Portrait”) portrays Françoise Gilot, a French painter and best-selling author whose decadelong 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 (“Fortitude,” “Misfits”), 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 Emmy-, Golden Globe- and SAG Award-nominated 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 fall in France, Spain and Hungary, including 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 baptized and the bullring where he found much inspiration in his youth.


“Bad artists copy. Good artists steal.”


Intercutting between Pablo (Rich) as a young man determined to express his own point of view with his art and the technical master and visionary creator known as Picasso (Banderas), GENIUS: PICASSO opens in the Spanish coastal town of Málaga. The child Pablo (Alessio Scalzotto) learns to draw under the tutelage of his father, José Ruiz Blasco (David Wilmont, “Anna Karenina,” “The Guard”), who is an art instructor at a provincial school.


Rejecting his education, paid for by his wealthy uncle, Dr. Salvador Ruiz (Jordi Mollà, “Riddick,” “Knight and Day”), Pablo meets Carles Casagemas (Sheehan) at a tavern in Barcelona where free-thinkers gather. Kindred spirits, the two travel to Paris in search of fame and fortune but are just two of many aspiring Spanish artists drawn to the French capital. Inspired by the Parisian nightlife but dismayed by having to imitate classic styles favored by art sellers, Pablo sets about creating artwork that will sell, including his depiction of the dance hall "Le Moulin de la Galette." But when tragedy strikes, Pablo's work takes a dramatic turn and he adopts a palette devoted almost exclusively to shades of blue.


Living in a tumbledown residence in Montmartre, Pablo frequents the local cabaret, Au Lapin Agile, where his circle of friends, including French poet, painter, writer and critic Max Jacob (Knight), gathers. It is here he meets his mistress Fernande Olivier (Franciosi) and paints her with intimacy, affection and tender eroticism. Abandoning the palette and subject matter of his Blue Period, Pablo turns to images of fairgrounds and circus performers, whom he depicts in a range of chalky pink hues, reminiscent of the poems of Guillaume Apollinaire (Gabel), one of several poets among his closest friends. His cheerful style attracts the attention of new collectors and patrons, including some wealthy Americans living in Paris: Gertrude (Tracee Chimo, “Bad Jews”) and Leo Stein (Iddo Goldberg, “Peaky Blinders”).


“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist."


Picasso (Banderas), now in his mid-40s, married and with a young son from his first marriage, begins a clandestine affair with Marie-Thérèse Walter (Delevingne), a much younger woman. Picasso and Walter share informal living arrangements for a time after their daughter, Maya, is born. Though Walter’s unassuming and yielding personality provides a haven to Picasso during his tempestuous marriage, her lack of intellectual curiosity and spirit become problematic for him. Picasso soon begins a new affair with the accomplished and beautiful photographer Dora Maar (Colley), who is his equal in drive, intellect and passion. Maar becomes his lover and constant companion, documenting the painting of "Guernica," his powerful visual statement about the Nazis bombing the small Spanish town just before World War II.


While out to dinner with the soon-to-be-discarded Maar, Picasso flirts with Françoise Gilot (Poésy), who is dining with her school friend and fellow artist Geneviève Aliquot (Stephane Caillard, “Bastille Day”) and the film actor Alain Cuny (Flynn). Although she is 21 and Picasso is 61, the two soon embark upon a partnership that is both romantic and professional, during which time Maar struggles with depression. Picasso has two children with Gilot — son Claude and daughter Paloma — eventually parting ways after more than a decade.


Filmed throughout Europe — including Paris, Málaga, Barcelona, Budapest and Malta — the series features a number of well-known personalities who crossed paths with Picasso, including Coco Chanel, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque and Jean Cocteau. GENIUS: PICASSO premieres globally in April on National Geographic in 172 countries and 43 languages.


GENIUS: PICASSO is executive produced by Imagine’s Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Francie Calfo, and co-produced by Anna Culp; showrunner, executive producer, writer and director is Ken Biller. From MWM Studios, Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane are executive producers and Melissa Rucker is co-producer. Sam Sokolow and Jeff Cooney from EUE/Sokolow Entertainment are also executive producers. For National Geographic, Carolyn G. Bernstein is executive vice president and head of global scripted development and production. The series is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, Imagine Television and MWM Studios.


For more information, visit or our press site, or follow us on Twitter using @NGC_PR.


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About National Geographic Partners LLC:

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 128 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching over 730 million people around the world in 171 countries and 45 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit or, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.


About Fox 21 Television Studios: 

Fox 21 Television Studios is a production unit housed within Fox Television Group devoted to making creatively ambitious scripted and unscripted series for all distribution platforms. Fox 21 Television Studios is responsible for the for the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning sensation from Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (with FX Productions); the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning “Homeland,” starring Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin; the critically acclaimed “The Americans” (with FX Productions) starring Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell; “Dice,” from Scot Armstrong, Sean Furst, Bryan Furst, Richard Shepard, Bruce Rubenstein and Andrew Dice Clay; “Queen of the South,” executive produced by David T. Friendly and Natalie Chaidez; and “Chance” from Kem Nunn, Alexandra Cunningham, Lenny Abrahamson, Michael London, and Brian Grazer. Upcoming series include Genius (with Imagine, MWM Studios and EUE/Sokolow Entertainment) from Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, Gigi Pritzker, Rachel Shane, Sam Sokolow, Jeff Cooney, Ken Biller and Noah Pink; “Seven Seconds” from Veena Sud; and Ryan Murphy’s latest anthology, “FEUD: Bette and Joan,” starring Oscar winners Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon.


About Imagine Entertainment:

Imagine Entertainment was founded in 1986 by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer to create independently produced feature films, television programs and other original programming. Imagine Entertainment has been honored with over 60 prestigious awards including 43 Academy Award nominations and 187 Emmy nominations. Past productions include the Academy Award Best Picture winner “A Beautiful Mind,” as well as Grammy Award Best Film winner “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years.” Additional films include “Get on Up,” “Rush,” “J. Edgar,” “Frost/Nixon,” “American Gangster,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Apollo 13,” “8 Mile,” “Liar, Liar,” “Backdraft” and “Parenthood,” to name a few. Upcoming films include “The Spy Who Dumped Me.” Television productions include Fox’s “Empire” and “24” franchise, Nat Geo’s MARS and Breakthrough, NBC’s “Parenthood” and “Friday Night Lights,” Fox’s and Netflix’s “Arrested Development,” and HBO's “From the Earth to the Moon,” for which Howard and Grazer won the Emmy for Outstanding Mini-Series. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer began their collaboration in 1985 with the hit comedies “Night Shift” and “Splash,” and continue to run Imagine Entertainment as chairmen.


About MWM Studios:

Founded in 2001 by producer Gigi Pritzker, MWM Studios (formerly OddLot Entertainment) is a film and television production company that develops, produces, finances and arranges distribution for quality commercial properties for the U.S. and international markets. MWM Studios teams with first-class filmmakers and provides them with resources that go far beyond equity investment to produce a range of high-quality films. Most recently, they produced the first season of "Genius" for National Geographic, which went on to be nominated for ten Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe, as well as the Academy Award-nominated film “Hell or High Water,” written by Taylor Sheridan and starring Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster, for CBS Films. MWM Studios' past releases include the 2010 Academy Award-nominated drama “Rabbit Hole,” starring Nicole Kidman; “The Way Way Back,” starring Steve Carell; “Drive,” starring Ryan Gosling; the futuristic sci-fi film “Ender’s Game;” and Jon Stewart’s directorial debut, “Rosewater.” MWM Studios is a division of MWM, a diversified media and entertainment company empowering creators to cross-pollinate content between film, television, live event, digital video and AR/VR in order to grow brands in a more enriching, entertaining and engaging way.


About EUE/Sokolow Entertainment:

Founded in 2010 by producer/director Jeff Cooney and veteran television producer Sam Sokolow, EUE/Sokolow Entertainment is an independent television studio that develops, finances, produces and arranges the distribution of premium television shows and content. EUE/Sokolow Entertainment attracts high-end talent to develop television properties in a forward-thinking business model designed for today’s global television marketplace. EUE/Sokolow is currently developing AJ Lee's New York Times best seller "Crazy Is My Superpower" and Deepak Chopra's novel "Lords Of Light" for television and has recently independently produced pilot/presentations of “Diplomatic Immunity”, a comedy starring Australian comedy troupe The Peloton; “Shalom Y’all”, a comedy by showrunner Caryn Lucas based on the work of Julia Fowler; “Win With Les”, starring Josh Lucas and created and written by Blair Singer; and are in development with Jaleel White and social media platform MiTu on an untitled original digital series. Since opening their doors, Cooney & Sokolow have set up shows at HBO, ABC, NBC, Freeform, Nat Geo, TNT, E!, Lifetime Movie Network & OWN. EUE/Sokolow Entertainment is a subsidiary of EUE/Screen Gems, whose infrastructure includes studio complexes in Atlanta, Wilmington and Miami that have been home to productions such as “Stranger Things” (Netflix, “Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” (Lionsgate), “Sleepy Hollow” (Fox), “Iron Man 3” (Marvel Studios), “Six” (A&E/History Channel), “The Conjuring” (New Line Cinema), “Under the Dome” (CBS), “East Bound and Down” (HBO).


National Geographic Media Contacts:

Stephanie Montgomery, 202-912-6632,

Marcus Cammack, 202-912-3204,


Fox 21 Television Studios Media Contact:

Erin Moody, 310-369-1044,



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