I saw The Laundromat yesterday. Did these projects come up around the same time?
Banderas: I finished with Almodóvar. I think it was three or four weeks and then I traveled to Los Angeles and we started filming there. The feeling with Steven [Soderbergh] is also very cool. These two guys both have a very strong personalities. In the case of Almodóvar, this is a guy who never betrays himself. Never. He had a lot of opportunities, they offered him so much money. He never bent. He has been absolutely loyal to his style. You like it or you don't like it that's clear. But he never stopped being himself. In the case of Steven, he's a man that loves experimentation. He just jumps in there with an incredible grace. That's what we did. I never did a movie in my life in which I am talking with the camera the whole time, the camera which reflects you, you are looking at yourself the whole time when you are talking to the camera. We are in this kind of satire approach to this Machiavellian artifact created by governments and lawyers called taxes. It should be very easy but it's not. It's not because it's actually used as a political instrument.
Almodóvar's last film was affected by the release of the Panama Papers. [Editor's note: He was named in the documents, right around the time his movie Julieta was being released internationally.]
Banderas: He didn't even have an idea he had a company there.
Did you talk to him about doing The Laundromat?
Banderas: No. I said to him, I'm going to do this with Steven. He said, "You'll love Steven." He said have fun. He was not worried. The realization that movie comes with at the end is that it's legal. And if it's legal who is guilty? Well, the ones who made the laws. They would never recognize that, because they do the laws, subject to interpretation. Do you think it's normal that the tax section code of the United States of America is 86,000 pages? [Editor's note: While that section is still very long, that number is an exaggeration.] It should be as long as one page that says citizens pay 20 percent and that's it. People who make less than $25,000 a year -- zero, they don't pay taxes. And companies pay 25 percent, for everybody all around the world. Well, it's not like that. Well, because the left wings are going to tell you: left are going to increase taxes because the state is going to give you better schools, they are going to give you better roads and bridges, and they are going to give you better social security and they are going to give you a lot of things. The right says we are going to lower taxes because then we will have more investment, more business, more employment, more wealth. This is the point. Now, I love to pay taxes, but if I have to pay taxes and the public schools are still dangerous and they are not at the same level as private school, I am not happy. If I'm going to be paying taxes and Social Security is not for all Americans, I'm not going to be happy. If I'm going to continue paying taxes and all the taxes are going just to empower the military, maybe I'm not going to be happy. If I pay taxes and you are going to build a wall between Mexico and the United States, I'm not going to be happy about that. And the whole thing comes to the conclusion that somebody may say to you that you have a very powerful weapon that is called voting, and you say, yeah, but if I give you money and on top of that you are going to use the money to do a campaign to vote you back again, what is this trick of taxes? It's very complicated. There are certain levels. There are people in those Panama Papers that were criminal organizations that were laundering money. But there were other ones that said if you are going to work outside your country it's good you have a company so you actually can pay less taxes by the law. If somebody asked you right now you are going to pay more or less taxes? What are you going to say?
Banderas: Everybody's going to say that. So they said, "Is it legal?" And the lawyer's going to say to you, "Absolutely." You say, "OK, then do it." And you know what the final trick of it all is? If it's not legal and he lied to you, you are responsible. Not him. He's not accountable for anything.
I have a very silly question I want to conclude with.
Banderas: I will give you a smart answer.
There's a GIF of you looking at a computer in the movie Assassins that has gone viral. Do you remember that scene?
Banderas: That moment is a moment of pleasure of a guy that is actually a maniac and he thinks he's just found a way to obtain his objective. He points at his target and he sees this and he says, I got you. That's how I remember how I did at the time.
Have you seen it online at all?
Banderas: No, I didn't see it.
Do you have any reactions to going viral?
Banderas: It's fine. It's fine with me. No problem. I'm used to being exposed and all of those images can be used. It's part of the game. It's part of the agreement, it's an invisible agreement you establish with the public and yourself.