Freelance Spain
Spaniards for the 21st Century

Javier Bardem
Spanish film actor. 

Javier Bardem in Before Night FallsJavier Encinas Bardem was born on March 1, 1969 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canary Islands). Long considered one the best of Spain’s new batch of movie actors, he started gaining international recognition in 2000. Unlike Antonio Banderas, whose ascent into Hollywood circles has been a slow and steady process of increasingly bigger roles in mainstream movies, Bardem has made himself known among American film cognoscenti with a few crucial roles - most noticeably, as the homosexual Cuban poet and disident Reinaldo Arenas in Before Night Falls, shot in Mexico and directed by the artist Julian Schnabel, which was a complete departure from the macho image he portrayed in the first of his major Spanish films, Jamón, Jamón. Bardem was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor for Before Night Falls.

The Spanish actor had already caught the eye of American film makers, but most of the roles he was offered was to play the perennial Latino bad guy. Bardem - who played rugby and boxed as a youth - turned the offers down, to avoid being slotted forever as the stereotyped baddie. Following his appearance in Before Night Falls, his next big project was a starring role in The Dancer Upstairs, the directorial debut by actor John Malkovich, a story revolving around the Peruvian guerilla group Sendero Luminoso filmed in Spain in 2000.

After the success achieved, Javier Bardem returned to the Spanish cinema starring in "Los Lunes al Sol" (2002), a social criticism on a group of unemployed Spanish shipyards, that achieved a great l success in Spain. He has won the prize to best actor in the Festival of Venice with his last movie "Mar Adentro", directed by Alejandro Amenávar. Mar Adentro, that probably will be the Spanish representative for the Prizes of the Academy in Hollywood, has been rewarded in Venice with the "silver lion". Bardem's next jobs, in the phase of postproduction or on the verge of being premiered, they are Che (Steven Soderbergh) or Killing Pablo (Joe Carnahan) among others.

Bardem comes from a family of showbiz people. His mother, Pilar Bardem, is a respected actress, and his uncle Juan Antonio Bardem, was one of the few bright lights in Spanish film directing during the dark Franco years.

His parents separated when he was two, and his mother moved with the children to Madrid. When he was four his mother secured her young son a minor role in the Spanish television series, El Pícaro. As a youth, Bardem studied painting in the Escuela de Arte y Oficios art school, at the same time playing small roles in more TV series, but it was when his friend Spanish film director Bigas Luna offered him a part in Las Edades de Lulú (1990) that his acting career began in earnest. Bardem made his name in 1992 with a leading part in Jamón, Jamón, also directed by Bigas Luna and co-starring Penelope Cruz. Bardem was nominated for Best Actor Award at the San Sebastián Film Festival for that film, but the award would have to wait for another two years (Bardem won it for his portrayal of a Basque terrorist in Dias Contados).

In 2000, Bardem won the American National Society of Film Critics' award for best actor for his role in the film Before Night Falls and at the beginning of 2001 he was nominated for the prestigious Golden Globe, though the award ultimately went to Tom Hanks, for Castaway. That was followed by an Academy Award nomination.

FILMS

Las Edades de Lulú, 1990
Amo Tu Cama Rica, 1991
Tacones Lejanos, 1991
Jamón, Jamón, 1992
Huidos, 1992
El Amante Bilingue, 1993
Huevos de Oro, 1993
El Detective y la Muerte, 1994
Días Contados, 1994
Extasis, 1995
Boca a Boca, 1995
Airbag, 1996
Perdita Durango, 1996
Carne Trémula, 1997
Entre Las Piernas, 1998
Los Lobos de Washington, 1998
Before Night Falls, 2000
Los Lunes al Sol, 2002
Mar adentro, 2004

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