I am so impressed with Javier Bardem these days I thought I'd write a post about him. I think in a world where Brad Pitt is considered the ultimate dream-man with his once-so-pretty face and in a world where teenagers are in love with 15-20 year old boys whose face is more feminine than many women's, it is time for European men to show how we do it. Because here, men are more popular than boys and it's the best that way.
When it comes to ideal actors, I think it's not only the talent that matters, it's also the charisma, the humour, the intelligence. With all his shyness, deep voice and irony, señor Bardem makes the list.
The first Bardem movie I've seen was probably Before night falls (I admit, the reason I decided to watch it was because it also stars Johnny Depp) where he impersonated Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas, learning Cuban Spanish and English with a Cuban accent (by the way, have you noticed that his English accent is way more perfect than, for example, Antonio Banderas's, or in general, most of those people's whose mother tongue is Spanish/Italian? But, it might be because his ex is an English teacher. Here's what he had to say about her back when they were together: "I'm in love with my English teacher. We have man of our lessons in bed") and losing 30 pounds (nearly 14kg).
Then, four years later he made pretty sure that I remember his name forever: in Mar adentro his performance was exceptional (his character was 55 year-old so he had to got some help from make-up artists to make his 35 year-old face younger) - so touching, so thought-provoking. No wonder the film received an Oscar for Best foreign language film. If you watch only one Spanish movie, watch this one, it is one of the best.
His most recent roles in Goya's ghosts and No country for old men helped him get even more noticed out of Europe and nowadays he's a star. And he deserves it so much... He has maganaged to remain a very nice man, down-to-earth, shy, who takes his mother with him to the Oscars and who said after Al Pacino called him to say he loved one of his performances: "I don't believe in God, I believe in Al Pacino."
He is the man you could listen to for hours because he always has something to say, something that's different from others's opinion. When they asked him if making a movie was a challenge for him, he said all the actors make complaint about how hard it is to play a role, both physically and psychically but "give me a break. It's just a movie."
Look at that wide, honest smile. His not-so-usual face, great movie choices and entertaining interviews suggest not only his star is not stagnating, it is rising so fast hopefully it won't stop until it reaches the very top.
P.S. Do not miss him in Love in the time of cholera - in my country it came out a while ago, in your country it might be about to be released on DVD, anyways - watch it! :)