Javier Bardem Explains The Key To Creating Memorable Villains

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales - Javier Bardem as Salazar

Javier Bardem has played a variety of roles over the years, but has become most known for his villains. His villainous role in No Country For Old Men is arguably one of the best roles he’s portrayed in his career. Now he’s stepping into a villain’s shoes once more for the role of Captain Salazar in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Screen Rant got a chance to chat with Javier on Press Day, where we discussed what attracted him to the role of Salazar, his approach to creating a sympathetic villain, and whether the rumors of him playing Frankenstein in Universal’s Monster Universe are true.

Javier, congratulations on the film.

Javier Bardem: Thank you.

You were way more frightening in this than I thought you’d be. I mean, I’m used to you playing the villain and all and I was like, “Alright. It’s just a Disney film.” But still you kind of had me all like shaking in my boots. What attracted you to the role of Captain Salazar?

Javier Bardem: Well, the idea of playing with both things of trying to make it more realistically, more realistic, and bring in a reason why he does what he does, but at the same time balance it with playing it in a Disney movie, which means lightening it up and bringing some music to it otherwise it won’t belong to that movie. It’ll belong to some other movie. So, that was the challenge I guess.

You know, after watching the film and understanding Captain Salazar’s backstory, I was kind of myself rooting for him a little bit. I’m not going to lie to you.

Javier Bardem: Me too.

But how do you create because you’ve played some iconic villains in No Country For Old Men and in James Bond. How do you create a villain that is so memorable, but is also so sympathetic at the same time?

Javier Bardem: I think that is the key and the key is always about the writing in the sense that, if it is not in the page, on the page, it is not going to be on screen. That is for sure a fact in every movie. When you are working on the movie and hear, “No, it’s not here, but we will find it there.” No. You will never find something that is not on the page because it is a guide. And I guess here and as much Skyfall. No Country was less because he was based on the book and also, you really can’t sympathize with that guy. But Skyfall and here, they have a reason of why the became the way they became and that is important to stress.

Speaking of sympathetic villains, there are rumors of you playing Frankenstein in the Universal Monster Universe. Can you tell me about that a little bit?

Javier Bardem: I can. I can only tell you that I will love to and that there are talks about it, but I cannot really guarantee that that is going to happen or if that is something that’s closed. But, yes, I am very interested and also, they know that I have the head size, so they are not going to waste a lot of money in makeup, which is good. That puts me on the top of the list. [laughs]

If you are playing Frankenstein, do you think that will connect to The Mummy at all?

Javier Bardem: I cannot tell. I cannot tell. I’m sorry. I know things, but I cannot tell.

Speaking of iconic villains, another one that people want to see you as is Darkseid from DC Comics. Is there…

Javier Bardem: And you know what? I am so bad with comics. I don’t know who that guy is.

Yeah. I have literally seen, I don’t know if it was a fan art of you as Darkseid holding Superman’s head.

Javier Bardem: Really?

Yeah. I was just curious if you had heard about any of this.

Javier Bardem: No.

Is this the first time?

Javier Bardem: Yes. Really.

So, this is news to you then.

Javier Bardem: Yes. But I don’t even know who that guy is.

Well, Darkseid. It’s not spelled like, just DC Comics. Darkseid. You’ll find him. And you will probably see yourself as him.

Javier Bardem: It’s funny because I like to draw. I studied painting and I like drawing and I like comics, but it’s been a long time since I’ve read any comics, which I’m not very proud of I have to say.

Well, I think you’ll dig it. Last question for you is how do you think this Pirates film is going to stand out from the rest of the series?

Javier Bardem: Based on the response of the audiences that we’ve been, that has been like in Shanghai, Paris, and Los Angeles, I think it’s right there up with the first one. That’s one thing everyone has been saying. And one thing that I know for sure, because it’s a fact, is people laugh a lot in this one. They had a great time laughing and enjoying it.

It is a lot of fun. It was a fun movie.

Stay Tuned for More Pirates of the Caribbean 5 Coverage!

Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” The rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil's Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea—notably Jack. Jack's only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune, but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” also stars Kevin R. McNally as Joshamee Gibbs, Golshifteh Farahani as the sea-witch Shansa, David Wenham as Scarfield, Stephen Graham as Scrum, and Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa. Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg are directing “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” with Jerry Bruckheimer producing. The executive producers are Mike Stenson, Chad Oman, Joe Caracciolo, Jr., Terry Rossio and Brigham Taylor. The story is by Jeff Nathanson and Terry Rossio, and Jeff Nathanson wrote the screenplay.

Key Release Dates
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) release date: May 26, 2017
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