National Geographic just aired its season finale of Genius — with Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein — Tuesday night, but executive producers Ron Howard and Ken Biller already have identified their Season 2 subject: painter Pablo Picasso, to be featured in a new season due next spring.
Picasso’s career spanned some 80 years and 50,000 works. Among his most famous: The Old Guitarist, from his Blue Period; Guernica, sparked by the Nazi bombing of the Spanish town and Les Demoiselles D’Avignon, inspired by his lover, Fernande Olivier.
What sold them on the Spanish modern artist?
“His name stirred curiosity in people,” Howard explained. He was a household name and yet you don’t really know the story of his life or what inspired him, drove him or troubled him, and how through the turbulence, he achieved such artistic greatness in so many different ways and over so many years. It’s that combination that made him feel like a great choice for Season 2.”
Plus, says Biller, “It was important for us, in terms of proof of concept for the show, to make a declarative statement that Genius is not only about scientists.”
They also confirmed that Season 2 will continue the non-linear storytelling approach they took with Einstein’s story, but that may not be the case for future seasons.
“Because Pablo Picasso lived such a long life and we want to give the audience a sense of the entirety of his life, our intention at this point is to cast a younger and older Picasso as we did with Johnny Flynn and Geoffrey Rush,” Biller said. “We don’t have any casting in mind yet but we’re certainly hoping to attract that same level of talent.”
And as with Einstein, they’ll show all parts of Picasso’s life,…