He made Madonna
blush like a virgin, no easy thing to do. In Truth or Dare
the soulful Spaniard turned up backstage to find himself the target of her gland ambition—which he gently deflected by presenting his wife, Anna. "I still don't know why Madonna
was so interested in me," says Banderas, perhaps the only one who doesn't. At 31 and long a star back home (owing to Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
and five other kinky movies by Pedro Almodóvar, the David Lynch of Spain), he recently blew away American audiences in The Mambo Kings
, a hot, sweaty hit that made you want to towel off the screen. Banderas, who learned English via Berlitz, meets the main prerequisite for sex symboldom: He denies he wants to be one. "If being a good actor means having to accept that people talk about the way I look, I am prepared to laugh about that side of it—when I am in a good mood." And he likes to tell about the time he dropped to one knee to declare his love for an approaching girl. "She walked right on by," he sighs. Of course he was 5 at the time; today his romantic aura is less resistible. Ask Madonna
, who wouldn't mind Banderas as a costar in Evita
. Material Girl and Mambo Man: Bring a towel.