MI6 profiles Javier Bardem, who will play the mysterious villain in the 23rd James Bond adventure, "Skyfall"...

Meet The Cast - Javier Bardem
22nd December 2011

Javier Ángel Encinas Bardem ("Hav-ear Bar-dem") was born on 1st March, 1969, in Las Palmas, in the Spanish Canary Islands. His mother, Pilar Bardem, is an actress in her own right, with a strong career that spans 40 years of stage and film work. Pilar separated from Javier's father, José Carlos Encinas Doussinague, when Bardem was still young.

The Bardem family is a familiar one in the Spanish film industry: Javier's uncle is the famed producer/director Juan Antonio Bardem and both his elder siblings are actors. Juan Antonio was imprisoned during the Franco regime for opposing the Spanish fascism of the '40s through to the 1970s.

Unsurprisingly Bardem was on his first TV set at a very young age. He appeared in "El Pícaro" in 1974, aged just six years old. "El Pícaro" (the scoundrel), a black comedy, ran for a single season but is now regarded as a Spanish classic.

Bardem found himself in a number of other uncredited roles, as was the family tradition, during the late '70s and early '80s. Yet, after leaving school, Javier opted to focus on his passion, painting. He applied and accepted into EAOSD (Escuela de Artes y Oficios) in Madrid. Whilst the would-be actor was passionate for his subject, painting alone was not enough to earn a living. As such, Bardem purportedly took jobs as waitstaff and as a security guard before landing a few paid acting roles.

In 1986 the young actor won himself a role in the obscure and lowly rated TV drama "Segunda enseñanza". He played Pablo in 10 of the 13 episodes. His first major film role came when he inadvertently won a part in a flick by the infamous Spanish director Bigas Luna. The film was "Las edades de Lulú" (1990). The title translates to "The Ages of Lulu" and was a seedy story of sexual awakening in the underworld of Madrid. On its UK release several scenes were banned by the BBFC for their sexually explicit content.

Name: Javier Bardem
Character: [CLASSIFIED]
Film: Skyfall
Awards: 1 Oscar, 1 BAFTA, 1 Critics Choice Award, 2 European Film Award, 1 Golden Globe, 1 Saturn Award
Hair: Dark Brown
Eyes: Brown

Above: Daniel Craig (right) and Javier Bardem at the "Skyfall" press conference in London.

By the mid-1990s Bardem was winning regular supporting roles in Spanish romantic comedies - notably the 1992 film, "Jamón, Jamón", on which Javier met his would-be wife: Penélope Cruz. The actor went on to earn the starring role in "Huevos de oro" (1993), which translates as "Golden balls". Bardem plays a rowdy construction worker with the comically ambitious dream of constructing the tallest, phallic themed building in the city. The comedy was well received in his native tongue and co-starred Benicio Del Toro, a Bond alumni for whom "Licence To Kill" was a career kick-starter.

"When I was little, I went watching Mr. Connery doing James Bond with my father. Who in the world would think I'd be in one of those movies?"

In 2000 Bardem played the lead in the biopic of Cuban poet and novelist, Reinaldo Arenas. "Before Night Falls" was an Anglo-Spanish collaboration and co-starred Sean Penn. The drama was very well received and Javier Bardem was nominated for a Best Actor award at the 2001 Academy Awards ceremony. Bardem missed out on the Oscar but earned at Best Male Lead nod at the Independent Spirit Award as well as kudos from the US-based National Society of Film Critics Awards.


It would take more than a single award-winning picture to make Bardem the household name he has become, but "Before Night Falls" undeniably assisted the rising star in his break into English-language filmmaking. In the early 2000s Javier Bardem landed lead roles in police thriller "The Dancer Upstairs" and drama "Mondays in the Sun" (both 2002). The latter picked up a slew of awards (39 in total), including Best Actor for Bardem at the European Film Awards. The former was the directorial debut of actor John Malkovich who gave sound advice to his new friend and colleague, Javier Bardem. That advice was simply to be mindful and selective with his roles. Since taking this on board, Bardem's filmography has slimmed but as the future would show, his choice of projects produced an impressive string of award-worthy features.

Another biopic earned the Spanish star more kudos, at home and abroad. This time Bardem took the role of Ramón Sampedro, a crudsaider for euthanasia and the right to die. "Mar adentro" (2004) was distributed to the English and American markets under the banner "The Sea Inside". It won Best Foreign Film at the 2005 Academy Awards, as well as a Critics Choice Award in the same category.

Bardem is probably most well known to English and American filmgoers as the creepy villain Anton Chigurh in Coen brothers' "No Country for Old Men" (2007). Bardem co-starred with Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson, Josh Brolin and Kelly Macdonald in the well-received crime/thriller. For his efforts, Bardem earned another Oscar, this time Best Supporting Actor and the film cleaned up at the 2008 Academy Awards, with trophies for Directing, Best Picture, Cinematography, Editing, two Sound awards and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The same year Javier played the love interest in Woody Allen's romantic homage to Spain: "Vicky Cristina Barcelona", which also starred Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall. This Woody Allen film marked the third time since the early 1990s that the would-be couple of Bardem and Cruz worked together for feature film.

"I am very excited, my parents took me to watch the movies, and I saw all of them, and to play that is going to be fun. They chose me to play this man, but I cannot give you many details." - On starring in "Skyfall".

In 2010, the Spanish star earned himself a role in the film adaptation of the popular travel novel: "Eat, Pray, Love". The film, which starred Julia Roberts as the soul-searching Liz Gilbert, earned mixed reviews. The same year Bardem and Spanish actress Penélope Cruz were married. They had been dating since 2007 and attempting to keep their personal lives out of the press. Cruz gave birth to a baby boy on 22 January 2011. Although he was raised a Catholic, Bardem has a public aversion to the church and ardently supported the legalisation of same sex marriages in his homeland.

Bardem was first linked to the production of the 23rd James Bond adventure, "Skyfall" in January 2011. Industry blog Deadline revealed that the Spanish actor was in talks to play a villainous role in the then-untitled Bond 23. Bardem swiftly admitted he was considering an offer from the James Bond producers, Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli but had yet to read the script. Between January and October he frequently told the media that he was a fan of the 007 franchise and grew up on Bond. When the possibility of a role in the planned "Dark Tower" series loomed over his schedule the official parties, Bardem included, remained quiet. Finally, in October 2011, just a month before the official "Skyfall" press conference, Bardem confirmed he had accepted a role as the villain in the forthcoming Bond film.