How Did Javier Bardem Make The Transition To English Speaking Movies and Who Is His Wife?

Regardless of where you come from, there are a range of activities that are similar to every culture in the world, creating a web of shared experiences. One of these connecting things is the stories that films tell, and actors like Javier Bardem have managed to share their gift of acting with audiences that are both predominantly Spanish speakers as well as those that are English speaking.

In his career, Bardem has featured in many high profile roles for which he has not only received nominations from prestigious award bodies but has actually won some of these awards.

Javier Bardem Hails From A Long Line Of Actors and Filmmakers

Javier Bardem was born in the Canary Islands on the 1st of March, 1969 to famous Spanish actress Pilar Bardem and her husband, Jose Doussinague. His mother was the more active parent in his life as his father, who was prone to anger fits, struggled to keep jobs.

Most of the actor’s childhood was spent with his mother who eventually left her husband and saw to it that her children, which includes Javier’s older siblings; Carlos and Maria, received the proper care they needed. As a result of this, most of Javier’s time growing up was spent around actors. When he was not on the set of films, he was with family members that included two other big-time actors; grandparents Rafael Bardem and Matilde Sampedro, and his uncle Juan Antonio Bardem who was a director and screenwriter.

The Actor Made His First Film Appearance When He Was Six

All the time Javier Bardem spent on movie sets as a child was bound to lead to him acting someday and this eventually happened when he was six years old. However, as he grew older, acting did not appeal to him as much and he was more interested in taking up painting. But since he was not good at that, he made the decision to focus on acting.

By 1989, Javier became a full-time actor, appearing in a number of films. The first big film he was part of was The Ages of Lulu where he appeared alongside his mother and was able to put on a brilliant performance. The director of the film, Bigas Luna, was so impressed by the performance of the young actor that he cast him in the lead role for the next film he made, 1992’s Jamon Jamon. The film was an international success and exposed Bardem to audiences outside of Spanish speaking countries. In the following year, the duo again collaborated on Golden Balls.

Javier Bardem
Bardem and Cruz in Jamon Jamon

The Genesis of Javier Bardem’s Roles in English Speaking Films 

Following Javier Bardem’s performance in the popular 2000 film, Before Night Falls, he was approached to play the lead role in Steven Spielberg‘s Minority Report in 2002 which he declined.

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Actor and producer John Malkovich, who had previously tried to get Bardem to work with him in an English-speaking role, was later able to convince him to do so in 2002 after the actor had declined several other offers. His reasons revolved around the fact that he was not fluent in English.

The Dancer Upstairs, which was Malkovich’s debut as a director, was the first English-speaking film Bardem appeared in. He was given the lead role in the movie after he had taken the time to master the English Language. Becoming proficient in English made it easy for the actor and he has expressed his gratitude to Malkovich a number of times.

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His Full Transition to Hollywood and the Success He Has Enjoyed

As mentioned above, John Malkovich had reached out to Javier Bardem to take English speaking roles but he was unwilling to do so. In that same year, however, he accepted a role in Before Night Falls which was directed by a fellow Spaniard and had him speaking English, although at a limited capacity.

Bardem’s performance was so good that he received an Academy Award nomination for best actor. This was his first nomination and the first time a Spanish person would get nominated for that award in the history of the Academy Awards.

Years later, Bardem has been able to build a reputation for himself as a brilliant actor and he managed to do this in films such as No Country for Old Men, Love in the Time of Cholera, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Biutiful, Mother! and Skyfall. For his work in No Country for Old Men where he played a sociopathic assassin named Anton Chigurh, Javier Bardem won a Golden Globe Award, an Academy Award, and a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor. He also took home a Critics’ Choice Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for the same role. This feat helped to establish him as one of the greatest actors of his time.

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Bardem is Married To Fellow Actress Penelope Cruz

Javier Bardem
Power Couple: Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz

When Javier Bardem’s career in acting began, the first film that gave him international acclaim was Jamon Jamon. It was also while he was working on this project that he would meet his future wife, actress Penelope Cruz. At that time, Cruz was still a teenager while Bardem was in his early twenties. While nothing was able to transpire between them, their on-screen romance indicated that they had some chemistry.

Penelope Cruz has since grown to become one of the most prolific actresses of Spanish descent in modern times. She has worked in the film industry for over two decades and has to her name numerous film appearances and awards. In that period of time, Bardem and Cruz have worked together on nine different projects. But it was not until 2007 when both of them starred in Vicky Cristina Barcelona that they began to date.

About three years after that, in 2010, the couple got married in the Bahamas. The Bardems lead very private lives and are known to stay out of the tabloids, hence very little is known about them. What is, however, public knowledge is the fact that they have two children; Leo Encinas and Luna Encinas. Their son Leo was born in 2011 on the 23rd of January while daughter Luna was born on the 22nd of July, 2013.

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