Javier Bardem: “This is fiction, there are other villains these days”

The outspoken Oscar winner is back as the baddie in new Bond flick ‘Skyfall’

Javier Bardem during the presentation of 'Skyfall' in Madrid on Monday. / CRISTÓBAL MANUEL

Daniel Craig steps into the role of James Bond for the third time in Skyfall — out in Spanish cinemas this week — creating a darker and more human 007 than we’re used to. But he’s not quite as dark and human as the villain he faces this time around.

Incarnated by Javier Bardem, Raoul Silva is a complex character, who, with his long, blond hair instills unease with his appearance alone. After causing a stir with his unsettling mop-top as killer Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, Bardem is at it again. Where is his line in outlandish hairstyles going to end? “You’ll have to see Ridley Scott’s The Counselor [the Spanish actor’s latest project], because I’ve done something there...,” he reveals. “In reality, I think our appearance says a lot about us. And for me it’s basic to see how each character is perceived from outside, or how they want to be perceived by others. But it’s fundamental that this aspect has dramatic sense.”

Question. Silva is the first male villain to flirt with Bond sexually...

Answer. We’re opening new markets [laughs]. It was in the script, and on paper it seemed brave because of its novelty. [Director Sam] Mendes explains it better: Silva is not married to anything or anyone. He runs away from labels and prejudices. He is only tied to his pain and anger. That piece of dialogue is a bit of color for the character, but you have to take the whole picture into account.

Q. Is it more pleasurable to play bad guys?

A. I wouldn’t say so. The one in No Country for Old Men was very difficult for me because attaining that absolute absence of humanity was very hard: he is not a human being, he is a symbol of violence. How do you play an idea? And on top of that, I was filming alone, without knowing how the rest of the film was going. In Skyfall, Silva has a lot of nuances, and more color. He is easier because he is more human, with his Oedipus complex.

Q. It’s not the first time you’ve flirted with the Bond saga.

A. Yes, but this time the script was neat. Daniel Craig, with Sam Mendes’ consent, asked me if I would be interested in playing the villain. Months later the script arrived and I liked it.

Q. He is a villain far removed from the current times...

A. This is fiction, there are other villains these days. In this country and abroad. If we discuss the situation that this country is in [...] we are experiencing a humanitarian drama, with over 25 percent unemployment. This government has a complete lack of commitment to the public and social system. The current social movement has demonstrated that it is dignified and that it has clear ideas, and thousands of people are showing their peaceful support. But the thing is the government doesn’t care about that news. And so much unemployment suits the government, so it can worsen labor conditions. This government wants to bring down the debt of this country at the cost of school pencils and exercise books. And to save the banks instead of helping people with mortgages, giving them a decent place to live. I want to stress that this isn’t coming from party colors, but from sensitivity. Humanitarian problems are linked to a complete lack of sensitivity from those who create them. And the people who are taking the decisions today are removed from reality.

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