The Spanish star has been dazzling audiences as the show's focal point, Italian filmmaker Guido. The role has been played previously by Marcello Mastroianni — in the musical's source material, the 1963 Federico Fellini film "8 1/2" — and Raúl Julia — in the original Broadway production.
Though a video recording of the original Broadway production is available in the archives of New York's Public Library at Lincoln Center, the actor has shied away from viewing it. "I consciously didn't want to go to see [Julia's performance] because I didn't want to get intoxicated in a good way because he's very good actor. I have listened to him, obviously in the recording, but I didn't see it."
In Nine, Guido struggles with the reality and memories of the many women in his life while attempting to revive his failing career with his next film — which he has yet to write. Banderas explained, "The big problem with Guido is that he wants to take everything with him, every woman, every feeling and life is not like that, you have to make choices and you have to mature. And Guido Contini is a kid, he's nine.
"I think ultimately Guido Contini is an intellect, he's Frederico Fellini himself; introspective. Nine is the story of a man receiving the lesson of adulthood and maturity. I think that was actually where Fellini was at the time he wrote the piece; in a moment of confusion with his own personality and with the world that was surrounding him."
The humble Banderas credits his collaborators for his Tony recognition. "I'm thankful, basically, to everybody who has brought me here, especially David Leveaux." Now, that he has experienced Broadway, would he return? "Definitely, yes."