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Page 3 Profile: Antonio Banderas, hollywood actor

Zorro returns?

Even more exciting news is afoot. The Spaniard will play ‘Super Mario’ in a new film starring Rodrigo Santoro (the camp villain Xerxes in 300) and The West Wing actor Martin Sheen.

Isn’t Mario Italian? And wasn’t the last Super Mario film a disaster?

Ah, he won’t be playing Nintendo’s affable plumber. The Mario in question is Mario Sepulveda, the best-known of the Chilean miners who captured the world’s hearts when they were trapped underground in a 69-day ordeal three years ago. The electrical specialist was the star of the videos that the group sent to the surface. Even as their condition deteriorated, he was witty and good-spirited, signing off one clip with “over to you in the studio”. The film, titled The 33, is the official film version of the 33 miners’ tales. The relatively unknown Patricia Riggen will direct the feature, which has been developed in collaboration with the workers, their rescuers and their families.

How did Mr Sepulveda feel about the casting?

He was delighted. “Banderas is very charismatic,” he said. “I like him a lot and I think this movie is going to make him even more famous than he already is.” The actor will certainly have a lot to get his teeth into. Despite the wave of euphoria once they came above ground, the 69 days down below were spent in sweltering heat and barely-breathable air. Until supplies could be sent down, a 48-hour emergency food store was made to last for 17 days. And while at first the miners were treated to exotic trips and treated as heroes, they were quickly forgotten. They returned to poorly paid jobs and some began suffering psychological problems. “I’m thankful for things in life,” Sepulveda told the Associated Press. “Some are good, others bad, but God gave us another chance.”

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