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  • Writer's pictureThomas Bonifield

Antonio Banderas Brings a "Powerful Musical Voice" to "Journey to Bethlehem"

The Spaniard plays King Herod in this Nativity story production that hits theaters next week.

Antonio Banderas appears as King Herod in a scene from "Journey to Bethlehem."
Antonio Banderas appears as King Herod in a scene from "Journey to Bethlehem." Image: Affirm Films.

With well over 100 acting credits stretching back to the early 1980s, Antonio Banderas is a big star among Hollywood actors. But singing? That is correct, he will endeavor to wow audiences not just with his acting talent, but also with his dulcet tones in the Christmas musical Journey to Bethlehem, which tells the story of the birth of Christ.

From Affirm Films, Sony Pictures' faith-based division, this one features two top-notch artists from the world of Christian music as well: rapper Lecrae, who plays the angel Gabriel, and Joel Smallbone of the duo For King & Country in the role of Antipater, son of Herod; they will, not surprisingly, do what they do best by singing in addition to acting.

Among the many song and dance numbers is a menacing - and yet amusing - routine that stars Banderas in his role as the Jewish king. It is featured in a promotional clip for the film, and it shows Herod reveling in his power as he prowls about his palatial lair. Affirm Films' boss Rich Peluso, himself a committed Christian, says the actor reanimates the villainous monarch "with such fun and life, and a powerful, powerful musical voice," adding that the song in question - It's Good to be King - is one of the "best songs in the movie."

Banderas, who says he thinks he became an actor because of musicals, calls the character both "fun" and "scary," because "Herod was a cruel man - didn't respect human life." Alas, we all know that this one nevertheless has a happy ending, as the actor mentions in that featurette about his song.

"You know, there is only one character actually that is going to be triumphant out of this story, and that is the little baby."

In addition to Herod's villainy, the PG-rated movie features plenty of tenderness - particularly it would seem from the Mary and Joseph characters, played by Fiona Palomo and Milo Manheim, and a healthy dose of comic relief, too, often supplied by the wisemen.

Journey to Bethlehem releases on Friday, November 10th in an estimated 1,800 theaters, which is a good number for a faith-based picture. In the meantime, check out the aforementioned clip about It's Good to be King to get a better idea of what to expect.


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