Born in the Canary Islands in 1969, Javier Bardem comes from a family of actors and filmmakers – which makes his Oscar nomination for “Before Night Falls” as the first Spanish actor to be nominated that much sweeter. But Javier Bardem will tell you he doesn’t hold much stock in awards. He began acting at age six, and also enjoyed painting and rugby, but it was acting that was his true calling. By the beginning of the 1990s, he was acting full time in Spain, appearing in “Jamon, jamon” in 1992 opposite then-17-year-old Penelope Cruz. Over the next eight years, he appeared in more than 20 projects in Spain before being cast as Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas, an AIDS victim in “Before Night Falls.” Directed by Julian Schnabel (and featuring an appearance by Johnny Depp), the film marked Javier’s first English speaking role and was so powerful it brought the 31 year old his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor. John Malkovich then brought him on for the actor’s directorial debut in “The Dancer Upstairs,” a film featuring Spanish and South American actors but spoken in English. While Javier has claimed that speaking English in film is an extra challenge, it also forces him to be in the moment, reacting to things as if he’s really that character.
Following the exposure from “Before Night Falls,” Javier had the privilege of carefully selecting his subsequent projects – his main choice being the quality of the script. He appears briefly for Michael Mann in “Collateral” as Felix, portrayed assisted suicide activist Ramon Sampedro in “The Sea Inside” (Best Foreign Language Film for 2004), and plays the painter Francisco Goya also starring Natalie Portman in “Goya’s Ghosts.” He is the principal villain in the Coen Brothers comeback film “No Country for Old Men,” one of the best films of 2007. Not yet 40, Javier Bardem’s impressive work in the 2000s will undoubtedly continue for the next couple of decades. He has proven that cinema can cross multiple boundaries, that language is no barrier, and all is possible through the language of film.
Javier on the Web
Complete listing of Javier’s film work.
TV Guide: Javier Bardem
Photos, bio and news of Javier.
Brief but informative bio of Javier.
Javier’s page features a bio, plenty of photos from recent films and upcoming movies.
MTV Movies Blog
Interview with Javier on working for Woody Allen.
Javier on “No Country for Old Men.”
Javier on making “The Sea Inside.”
Javier on the Screen
While acting his whole life and appearing in more than two dozen Spanish films throughout his twenties, with his Oscar nomination in 2000 for “Before Night Falls” (losing to Russell Crowe), Javier played Agustin Rejas for John Malkovich in “The Dancer Upstairs” in 2002, as well as the Spanish film “Mondays in the Sun” that same year. He appears in “Collateral” giving orders to Tom Cruise, won Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for “The Sea Inside” in 2004. Most recently, Javier can be see in the Coen Brothers film “No Country for Old Men” and as the lead in the adaptation of the Gabriel Garcia-Marquez novel, “Love in the Time of Cholera.”
Other than snagging #9 on the Sexiest Men of the Year list, and shrugging off rumors of romantic entanglements with Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem is concentrating on the work: 2007 alone brings “No Country for Old Men,” a return to form for the Coen Brothers, and “Love in the Time of Cholera.” In 2008, he’s a painter dealing with Cruz, Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall in the new Woody Allen move “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” In 2009, he’s Pablo Escobar in “Killing Pablo,” the biopic of the Columbian gangster directed by “Smokin’ Aces” helmer Joe Carnahan. Javier is also attached to play a film director in the feature version of the stage play of “Nine,” and he’s also rumored to star alongside Matt Dillon for Francis Ford Coppola in “Tetro.”
On his job:
“Don't say that what I am doing is art.”
“We actors always say how difficult and physically demanding a role was. But give me a break, it's only a movie.”