Javier Bardem is a Spanish actor who has made an intoxicating career in Hollywood, where he is known primarily for his roles as typical villains. They are Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men by Coen brothers, the terrorist Silva from the next part of Bond film series, Lorenzo from the Goya’s Ghosts and, of course, the evil Captain Salazar from the fifth film of Pirates of the Caribbean. However, he escaped the fate of playing the template Latino villains who are so loved in American cinema. Each of his antiheroes absolutely does not look like the previous one. Macho and gigolo roles, as well as tragic heroes, are not alien to him.
Javier Bardem ‒ the most popular Spaniard in Hollywood
In 2001, he was nominated for an Oscar for the role of the homosexual poet from the drama called Before Night Falls, and in 2008 he received the long-awaited award for the skillfully embodied image of Chigurh becoming the first Spaniard in history to receive an Oscar.
Childhood and family
Javier Angel Encinas Bardem was born on the first day of spring 1969 in the Spanish city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canary Islands).
Javier Bardem in childhood and now
The future of the boy was predetermined: his mother Pilar Bardem, as well as his maternal grandfather and grandmother, were quite successful actors in their homeland. The uncle of the actor is the famous Spanish film director Juan Antonio Barden, who loved Cuba with all his heart. Moreover, Javier remembered that his ancestors appeared on the scene even in those times when the actors were considered a lower caste in Spain and it was forbidden to bury them in cemeteries.
With mother and brother at the Oscars Award Ceremony (2008)
After the parents divorced, two-year-old Javier with his mom, elder brother Carlos and sister Monica moved to Madrid. In childhood, he was possessed by cinema. He often dreamed imagining himself in the place of his favorite heroes ‒ Chewbacca and Han Solo from Star Wars, James Bond or Indiana Jones. At the age of 4, the boy made his film debut with a small role in the film The Scoundrel.
The young man was surprisingly versatile: he devoted a lot of time to sports, in particular, he was keen on boxing and weightlifting, and even was in Spain rugby team. In addition, he toured with an independent theater troupe and studied painting at an art school.
In his youth, Javier Bardem was keen on boxing.
In 1989, Javier ran into hooligans who beat him. They could break his fate by breaking his nose. They managed the latter, the first one, as you might guess, they didn’t manage to do. Physical deficiency only added a spark to Javier’s appearance.
Career in homeland
Viewers saw Javier Bardem’s first great work in 1990 ‒ the actor played in Bigas Luna’s erotic drama called The Ages of Lulu, telling viewers about all the diversity of sexual experiments through young Lulu’s eyes.
Shot from the film The Ages of Lulu
Two years later, Javier again worked with Luna in the black comedy Jamón, jamón. In this film, he played the character of a playboy from a sausage warehouse, who seduced the 18-year-old character of Penelope Cruz ‒ his future wife. After this role, even people indifferent to the world of cinema started talking about him in Spain.
Young Javier Bardem in the movie Jamón, jamón
At that time his family was in poverty: the mother was offered work less and less, and he agreed to any options. For example, once he worked as a stripteaser ‒ the young actor was paid decently. Mother, who worked as a cleaning woman and counted every penny, was proud of her son.
Then a number of films with unequivocal names followed, such as Huevos de oro, Boca a boca, Entre las piernas, Éxtasis, La teta y la luna, The Bilingual Lover with Ornella Muti, Amo tu cama rica.
Javier Bardem in the movie Huevos de oro
However, the talented actor felt confident also in serious genres. In 1994, Javier won Goya National Award for Best Supporting Actor for the character of a terrorist from the film Running Out of Time by Imanol Uribe. In 1996, he was already awarded a statuette as Best Actor in the film Boca a Boca, where he played the unemployed actor Victor, who was involved in the plot to kill a famous plastic surgeon.
Bardem received his first Goya Award for the character in the film Running Out of Time
In 1997, Javier played in the film Carne trémula directed by Pedro Almodovar, and earned the third Goya award. A year later, at the Berlin International Film Festival, viewers called Bardem the best European actor since they were very impressed by his performance in the phantasmagoric thriller Perdita Durango. This is the first film in which Javier’s character kills people. The second one was released 10 years later and brought the actor an Oscar.
Shot from the film Perdita Durango
Nevertheless, the image of the seducer relentlessly followed the Spanish star. Bardem began to change the image, and the first role in the confirmation of this was the role of a gay who took a heterosexual away from the family in the drama called Second Skin (1998).
Career in Hollywood
This film became a warm-up before a more glaring work, thanks to which Javier loudly announced himself far beyond the borders of his native Spain. In 2000, the biographical film Before Night Falls directed by Julian Schnabel was released, in which Javier got the role of the Cuban dissident Reinaldo Arenas, a homosexual poet who was to become the leader of Fidel Castro revolution, but fell into disgrace due to his orientation, was driven out from the island and died of AIDS at the age of 47.
On the left side ‒ Reinaldo Arenas
The director of the film recalled that he had learned about Bardem through the film Jamón Jamón Then he thought that either this fellow was an actor from God, or he really was a ham seller. During the filming, Schnabel even was worried about Javier’s mental health: He becomes what he plays...
Javier Bardem and Julian Schnabel on the set of the movie Before Night Falls
Javier lost 15 kilograms of weight and dyed his hair to visually fit the Arenas image. He read all the works of the poet, flew to Cuba, and learned to speak English with a Cuban accent. Before that, his language knowledge was limited to the texts of his favorite AC/DC.
For the role in the movie Before Night Falls Javier Bardem lost 15 kg
The efforts were not in vain: Javier got the Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival, Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Javier became the first Spaniard nominated for this award. The work was praised by the viewers, critics, and friends of the late poet, one of whom admitted that he felt betrayed when at the premiere he saw Javier, who had already come out of Arenas' image.
Javier himself becomes the one whose role he plays
But the main thing, which the actor still considers one of the happiest moments in his life, is the fact that he received praise from the mouth of his idol Al Pacino. When he returned home one day, he heard a message from Pacino on the answerphone, who was delighted with his play in Before Night Falls. Bardem saved the tape with the voice of the great actor, and he boasted about it to his acquaintances, complaining only that he did not have time to pick up the phone in time.
Javier Bardem in the movie No Country for Old Men. The scene at the gas station
In 2002, the leading role in the film The Dancer Upstairs followed ‒ John Malkovich’s directorial debut. In the same year, Bardem played the character of an unemployed dockworker in the Spanish tragicomedy Mondays in the Sun by Fernando León de Aranoa. The actor especially gained weight and began to work in defiance of his sexual texture ‒ and the viewers believed that on the screen there was a person living only on benefit. As a result, there was another Goya Award in his pocket for the Best Actor.
Shot from the movie Mondays in the Sun
Javier Bardem devoted the year 2004 to work on the drama The Sea Inside directed by Alejandro Amenábar. The actor was awarded the prizes of the Venice Festival and the European Film Academy for the role of a paralyzed man who is fighting for the legalization of euthanasia. It was just this work that left a deep mark in the mind of the actor. Javier began to look differently at life in general and some things in particular ‒ he learned to resign oneself to the idea of death and love a person in any case.
I realized that death can be natural. It is not necessarily full of injury and drama.
He spent most of the filming in bed. Every day he was made up lying down for five hours, followed by a ten-hour working day that ended in sleeping at the home bed. Even on the weekend, Javier did not allow himself to leave the house. And all this in order to get used to the role ‒ Bardem’s character was bedridden for 30 years.
In The Sea Inside the actor plays a sick bedridden
In 2006, the actor got the role of a fanatical clergyman in Milos Forman’s film Goya’s Ghosts, in which Javier, Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgård presented to the viewers the tragedy of a girl with a broken fate, who was subjected to the torture of the Inquisition due to accusations of apostasy. Bardem performed the role of treacherous inquisitor Lorenzo.
Shot from the movie Goya’s Ghosts
Next was the work in the movie No Country for Old Men directed by Coen brothers ‒ a crime drama of 2007. The character of Anton Chigurh, the killer with cold empty eyes, a terrible bowl haircut, and a pistol in his hand brought Javier an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. He had to kill people on the screen for the second time in his career. Javier hates violence and agrees to show it only in exceptional cases.
Bardem received an Oscar for Anton Chigurh from the film No Country for Old Men
For his work in the drama Biutiful, released in the same year, Javier Bardem got Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor. The character of the actor works in an illegal field: drugs and pirate video production. In addition, he put up with the betrayal of his wife and raises his children himself.
I hate violence. I like to talk about love, about important things that unite us, not separate.
A little later, the work in the drama Eats Pray Love directed by Ryan Murphy was finished, in which Javier played together with Julia Roberts.
Javier Bardem and Julia Roberts
Another line that is worth special mentioning in Bardem’s filmography is Skyfall by Sam Mendes. The 23rd film about the adventures of James Bond with starring Daniel Craig was released in 2012. Viewers again saw Javier in a villainous role ‒ cyber-terrorist Raoul Silva, who was a charismatic psychopath-narcissus. His extravagant appearance was created by the actor himself, who was inspired by the image that sunk into his heart in early childhood ‒ the villain Jaws from the James Bond film of Roger Moore’s times.
Javier Bardem in make-up from Skyfall
The role of open-hearted Reiner from The Counselor by Ridley Scott and Felix from The Gunman with Sean Penn was also successful. And during the filming of the fourth part of Pirates of the Caribbean, Penelope Cruz persuaded the actor to take part in the next episode of the franchise. In this way, Javier Bardem became captain Salazar, who was obsessed with the idea of revenge over Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp).
Javier Bardem as Salazar (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Bardem does not slow down ‒ in 2017, the viewers saw him in tandem with Jennifer Lawrence in Darren Aronofsky’s psychological horror film "mother!".
The trailer of the movie mother! with Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence
The actor was also busy on the set of the movie Loving Pablo, in which he got the role of the famous drug lord Pablo Escobar. The part of his beloved woman plays Penelope Cruz.
Bardem played the role of Pablo Escobar
Javier Bardem’s personal life
Javier Bardem is happily married to actress compatriot Penelope Cruz. The loving couple knew each other for many years, worked together on some films, but the relationship did not go beyond friendship. Passion flared up in 2008, on the set of the film Vicky Cristina Barcelona when each had several unsuccessful love-affairs behind them: in Penelope’s past anamnesis there was her ex-husband Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Matt Damon, and Matthew McConaughey, and Javier had already lost the count of the beauties seduced by him.
Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem in their youth (Jamón, jamón, 1992)
After the shooting days, they met in some cozy restaurant, discussed the critical moments of their characters, gave each other advice, and remembered the old days. Gradually, the actors became close. In 2010, when she was 36, he was 41, the couple legalized relations. Compared to Hollywood standards, the wedding was very modest, although the bride's dress was made by John Galliano himself.
Shot from the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
After the wedding, the couple moved to Madrid, where their son Leo was born on January 25, 2011. Two and a half years later, Penelope became a mother for the second time. The daughter was called Luna.
One of the strongest star couples
Actors lead a rather closed way of life, and mothers with children very seldom get into the lenses of the paparazzi.
In the photo: baby Leo, Javier Bardem’s eldest child
Javier Bardem now
In 2020, two premieres with the participation of Javier should be held. This is the film "Dune" in which he will play Stilgard, as well as "The Roads Not Taken", in which Bardem will play the role of Leo.
Javier Bardem in 2020
Also in 2020, the actor is closely involved in the filming of "The Frankenstein Bride." The director noted that earlier in the film, the participation of Angelina Jolie was supposed, however, due to the cut budget, the actress will not participate in the film.
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