Spanish actor Antonio Banderas said Tuesday "the time has come" in his life to play fellow Malaga native Pablo Picasso.

He said he planned to take on the role in Spanish director Carlos Saura's "33 dias," a film about the creation of the painting "Guernica."

"I turned down the chance at one point of playing Mr. Pablo, but the time has come in my life where I understand him better, and I am nearly at the age he was when those events happened, in 1937, when he was 55 or 56, and I'm getting close," Banderas, who turns 54 this summer, said.

The film "is a portrait of a really hard time, amid the Spanish Civil War, and a request from the Republic to make a mural that Picasso initially rejected and later accepted when the bombing of Guernica occurred," Banderas told reporters during a ceremony at Malaga city hall in southern Spain.

The project means working once again "with a friend and a man who Spain owes much from the standpoint of cinematography and culture, Mr. Carlos Saura," the actor said.

Vittorio Storaro, "a great legend in world cinema," will be the director of photography and Gwyneth Paltrow, who is "absolutely in love with Spain and speaks Spanish and French perfectly," has also agreed to be in the film, Banderas said.

The project has been delayed because the production company that owns the movie rights and originally agreed to finance the film ended up filing for bankruptcy protection, the actor said.

Banderas is spending Holy Week in Malaga and plans to travel to Colombia on May 3.

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