One of the actors long rumoured for Skyfall and finally confirmed at the press conference in November was Spaniard Javier Bardem. Earlier in the year he had confirmed that he had been offered the part of villain. However, he delayed making a final decision until seeing the script.
Bardem was born on the 1st of March 1969 in the Canary Islands. Shortly after his birth, his father Carlos Encinas left him leaving him to be raised alone by his actress mother, Pilar Bardem.
Bardem first film debut was in The Scoundrel at the age of six. Despite his early foray into movies, and the fact that several members of his family were actors, Bardem did not initially pursue a career in this field. His interest lay with painting where he believed he would find success.
After several years studying painting, including a four-year stint at the Escuela de Artes y Oficious academy in Madrid, he began to take to several acting jobs. His initial interest was to find a job that could support his passion for painting. However, by the end of the 80s he began to question his commitment to painting and became more receptive to the idea of being an actor.
At the age of 20, he starred in his first major motion picture The Ages of Lulu. His rise to fame however didn’t begin until 1992 where he captured the hearts of audiences with his role in the movie Jamon, Jamon. By 1997, his skills as an actor had attracted the attention of several Hollywood producers and directors. He turned down the invitations to star in a movie because he was uncomfortable with his grasp to English.
Already a recognized star within this country, it was not until 2000 that he gained international recognition for his role in the movie Before Night Falls. His portrayal of the Cuban poet and writer Reinaldo Arenas won him a lot of critical acclaim including an esteemed Oscar nomination—the first time the honour was ever bestowed on a Spaniard.
In 2002, Bardem starred in The Dancer Upstairs—a movie directed by John Malkovich. It was his first major role in English. He followed that with several other roles starring alongside Hollywood actors such as Tom Cruise and Natalie Portman. In 2007, Bardem was cast to play the role of an assassin in the Coen brothers’ adaptation of the book No Country for Old Men, for which he won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor. He also He co-starred with Julia Roberts in the movie Eat Pray Love (2010).
In all Bardem has received three different Oscar nominations and won one. Alongside his Academy Award, Javier Bardem has been the recipient of several other awards including five Goya awards, two Coppa Volpis, one BAFTA award, a Screen Actors Guild and a Golden Globe. He was winner of the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film festival for his role in the movie Biutiful (2010).
Javier Bardem dated Penelope Cruz for three years before marrying her in a low-key event in 2010 and he stared alongside her in Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008). They have a son, Leo Encinas Cruz, who was born in 2011.