Javier Bardem struggles to get work in native Spain

Javier Bardem
Javier Bardem

NANTES (France) • He is Spain's best-known actor, but Javier Bardem says he has trouble getting work there.

"I work much less in Spain than I would like to," the Oscar-winning star said.

"I don't get the scripts because people think I live abroad or that I would be looking for stratospheric money, which is not true," he added.

"If a film has a budget, of course, I want to be paid, but if not, we can find another way," Bardem said as the Nantes Spanish Film Festival in western France staged a retrospective of his work.

"I am prepared to be flexible," said the actor, who tends to alternate between Hollywood blockbusters like Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge (2017) and edgier independent European and American films.

Bardem, who lives with his wife Penelope Cruz and their two children in a suburb of Madrid, has always been deeply engaged in his homeland. The son of an activist actress from whom he inherited a passion for left-wing causes, he began his career in the 1990s with directors like Bigas Luna and Pedro Almodovar, who were challenging the country's view of itself after decades of dictatorship.

Bardem, who turned 50 last month, made his name in Luna's Jamon Jamon, playing the ultimate Spanish macho man opposite Cruz in 1992.

He won his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the Coen brothers' No Country For Old Men (2007) and is still very much attached to the "romance" of watching a film in a cinema, "sitting in front of a big screen".

That said, he would happily work for a streaming platform if the project was right.

"Amazon and Netflix are making the kind of cinema now that the studios refuse to make," he said, pointing to films like Alfonso Cuaron's Oscar-winning Roma.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2019, with the headline 'Javier Bardem struggles to get work in native Spain'. Print Edition | Subscribe