Bardem recently met with director Sam Mendes to talk about playing the villain in the next James Bond film, temporarily titled “James Bond 23” and set for a Nov. 9, 2012, release.
The actor, who is Oscar-nominated for his lead work in the Spanish-language drama “Biutiful” and who won in 2008 for another villainous role in "No Country for Old Men," hasn’t said yes to Mendes -- yet. He wants to read the screenplay first. But, judging from the grin on his face when we spoke on Monday, he’s very open to the idea.
“I’m a huge fan of the James Bond saga,” Bardem says. “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?”
The deal breaker for him, if there is one, will be, as always, if the material doesn't hold up. But Bardem says he was intrigued by what Mendes told him at their meeting.
“They’re changing the whole thing, the whole dynamic,” Bardem says. “I’d be playing Bond’s nemesis, yes, but it’s not that obvious. Everything is more nuanced. It’s very intriguing.”
And the escapism of the Bond franchise would seem a solid fit for an actor newly determined to leave his work behind when he goes home at night.
“But who knows? Maybe I will go back home saying, ‘I have the world in my hands,’” Bardem laughs. “Evil can be very seductive.”
-- Glenn Whipp
Photo: Javier Bardem in "Biutiful." Credit: Roadside Attractions