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Ever since his 1992 film role as an aspiring bullfighter in Jamón Jamón, Javier Bardem quickly established himself as an action star. He’s played a bank robber, a detective, a crime lord, a twisted monk and a sociopath assassin in No Country for Old Men, which garnered him his first Academy Award for best supporting actor. So, in celebration of his latest big screen project, Skyfall, in theaters today, we decided to highlight a few of our favorite Javier Bardem on-screen characters.
Jamon Jamon (1992)
Filled with sexual energy and twisted romantic relationships, Jamón, Jamón stars Javier Bardem (Raul) and a very young Penelope Cruz (Silvia) in her first movie role. Bardem plays an underwear model and aspiring bullfighter hired by Silvia’s mother to seduce her daughter and end her engagement with Jose Luis. After a complicated love triangle forms, Raul and Jose Luis engage in a fearless battle with real ham legs over Silvia’s love. Ham legs you wonder? I know, don’t ask. Watch the clip below.
Before Night Falls (2000)
Bardem stunned audiences when he deviated from his normal beefcake roles and took on Before Night Falls, based on the life of famed Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas. The role was originally given to Benicio del Toro but after the Puerto Rican star dropped from the project Bardem seized the opportunity that would later reward him with his first best actor Academy Award nomination.
Needless to say it’s impossible to find just one clip of his stellar performance so here’s the official trailer.
The Sea Inside (2004)
After the success of Before Night Falls, filmmakers were finally able to see Bardem’s true acting range but despite the endless offers that came Bardem steered clear of any blockbuster films. His next role would be of a quadriplegic, who campaigns endlessly for the right to end his own life with medical assistance.
The Sea Inside won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Watch below as Bardem imagines a world where he can fly.
No Country for Old Men (2007)
It was the Coen Brother’s No Country for Old Men that catapulted Bardem to A-list status. His bloody, menacing, sociopath performance, as a hit man hired to recover stolen money, earned Bardem his first Academy Award. The clips below show Bardem’s frightening performance.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
Written and directed by Woody Allen, the film stars Bardem as a red-blooded Spanish lover romancing the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall and Penelope Cruz. It’s pretty self-explanatory, plus we already know Bardem isn’t challenged in the women department but who knew he could handle mentally-crazed women.
In 2010 Bardem teamed up with Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu in Biutiful. The drama follows Uxbal, a caring single father with two children, who struggles to maintain a clean lifestyle. His criminal dealings range from drugs to construction but it all takes a horrible turn when he’s diagnosed with a terminal illness. Bardem garnered his second best actor Oscar nomination but lost to Colin Firth (The King’s Speech). The clips below show his emotional struggle with his diagnosis and his concerns for the wellbeing of his children.
Sam Mendes’ Skyfall stars Daniel Craig and Bardem as Silva, a former MI6 agent turned cyberterrorist, who seeks revenge against those he holds responsible for betraying him. According to GQ magazine, Bardem had the script translated into Spanish to better prepare for the role and as it turns out his bleached-golden hair is actually his own. While promoting the film Sam Mendes admitted to lobbying hard for Bardem to accept the role. Let’s give Mendes a pat on the back for that one.
Since we don’t want to give anything away we’ll leave you with Bardem’s take on his villainous character. Be sure to watch Skyfall this weekend and let us know if you think Bardem is the ultimate Bond villain.
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