He’s become a household name through the astronomical success of Skyfall, now Javier Bardem is to become a permanent fixture on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The latest Bond movie opened in the US on Friday, with the actor having been awarded his star as part of the build-up. Bardem himself has been typically modest about the whole thing, as he believes “it’s too soon”. Many would tend to disagree however, with Skyfall director Sam Mendes, no less, saying: “He’s our Brando and our Burton for this generation”.
High praise indeed, but anyone who has seen Skyfall in all its glory, along with 2008’s No Country For Old Men, will realise that Bardem is more than worthy of it. In fact many have argued that his performance as Raoul Silva has made him the greatest Bond villain yet. Think of iconic baddies such as Goldfinger and you begin to appreciate what the Spaniard brings to the screen.
In a film that has broken record after record, the fact that his performance has stood out above all else is further testament. Mendes has also said that not only was Bardem the instant choice for the part of Silva, but that he also instructed the screenwriters to build the story with the actor in mind – how many people can say that they’ve had a Bond movie custom-made especially for them?!
All of this is due in no small measure to Bardem’s roots in Spanish cinema. He is the youngest member of a family that has been in the business since the very early days of the country’s movie tradition. Starting at just six years old in El Picaro (The Scoundrel), he went on to tread the boards in theatre, before starring in black comedy Jamon Jamon (Ham Ham). His breakthrough role then followed, playing the downtrodden Cuban writer Reynaldo Arenas in Before Night Falls.
The journey from Las Palmas to Hollywood star has been well and truly completed. On November 16th America will be able to see exactly why.