Bond baddie Javier Bardem has revealed that for years, he half-feared he might be banned from the UK — because he killed Judi Dench’s M in the 007 film Skyfall.
‘For a long time, when I was landing at Heathrow, people on the immigration desk were very unhappy that I killed M.They would tell me: ‘Oh, man, I don’t know if I can forgive you for that!’ the award-winning star told me.
Over Zoom, from the family home in Madrid, he added: ‘With Judi, I felt so bad that if I saw her on set, I couldn’t look into her eyes.She’s a legend — in the whole world! And in the UK, she’s an iconic national symbol.’
Did the great Dame ever forgive him? ‘She did, eventually,’ he sighed.
Bardem joked that he felt almost as bad for bumping off Woody Harrelson in 2007’s No Country For Old Men (he won an Oscar and a BAFTA for that movie).
Bond baddie Javier Bardem has revealed that for years, he half-feared he might be banned from the UK — because he killed Judi Dench’s M in the 007 film Skyfall
Pictured: Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz and Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos
When he’s not playing a cold-blooded killer, the actor said his main aim on set is to put his co-stars at ease.
‘We have a couple of love scenes.I guess when you’re 20, it’s fun to do, it’s exciting, amanbola or whatever.
Now, at the age of 52, it’s kind of like you don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable.’
He and Kidman met on a Thursday and were in front of the cameras by Monday.
‘We faced each other as Lucy and Desi — all the hair and make-up — and we jumped in and created a chemistry together.We were able to get into the scenes of touching, kissing and hugging and feel comfortable.’
Bardem is a revelation as Desi, the song-and-dance man.
He told me he rehearsed for the part while playing King Triton in the live-action Disney picture The Little Mermaid in London.
He sings one song in the Disney film.But in Sorkin’s movie, he performs four — and plays bongos and maracas, and does a mean conga to boot.
When he’s not playing a cold-blooded killer, the actor said his main aim on set is to put his co-stars at ease
Bardem (pictured in Being the Ricardos) is a revelation as Desi, the song-and-dance man
He spent hours practising in the weeks leading up to shooting.’You expose yourself when you’re singing. That’s why we’re shy doing it — or drunk, in a karaoke! — unless you’re a professional.’
Which, he added, he most definitely is not.
‘I made a film called Golden Balls when I was 35 and I was singing a Julio Iglesias song — in a karaoke bar, funnily enough.But to sing seriously? I’ve never done that. Until now.’
In fact, Bardem has now sung in three consecutive films: Little Mermaid, Being The Ricardos — and Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile.
The animated picture, about a pet croc living in a townhouse on New York’s Upper East Side, finished shooting last month.
Bardem has now sung in three consecutive films: Little Mermaid, Being The Ricardos — and Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile.Pictured: Bardem on the movie set of Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
What’s going on, I wondered; is this some sort of therapy to cope with mid-life crisis? (Momentarily forgetting that I’m talking to the man who dispatched Judi Dench.) ‘I’m sure it is,’ he agreed, pleasantly.
But he said the main reason he wanted to be in the Disney and crocodile films was so the two children he has with wife Penelope Cruz could watch them.
‘You can share with them.That’s why Daddy’s away for two weeks, or whatever. And why Mummy’s in a make-up chair for 45 minutes.’
Both stars could land Oscar nominations this year — Cruz for her part in Pedro Almodovar’s powerful new film Parallel Mothers (which opens here today); and he for his portrayal of Desi.
No time to spy as list of Bond hopefuls gets shorter…
Deep-cover informants have confided — so I can share with all of you, of course — that the runners and riders you often hear about being ‘up for Bond’ are more likely to be up and out of it.
Everyone rates — and adores — Idris Elba, but he won’t be named as the man to take over from Daniel Craig.
Mainly because Elba’s too old, at 49, to play the role from scratch.
Craig was 38 when he first played 007 in Casino Royale, and he bowed out at 53.Barbara Broccoli and Michael G.
Pictured: Idris Elba (left), Tom Hardy (centre) and Rege-Jean Page from Bridgerton (right)
Wilson, who keep the Bond conflagrations burning, have spoken of how much they enjoyed partnering with Craig on five films in 15 years, culminating with No Time To Die, which has been making a big play for award season honours.
They want their new Bond to be young enough to make a series of films — a quintet, like Craig — with a storyline that carries through.
By that reckoning, is Tom Hardy, another favourite, too old to take Bond on at 44?Then there’s that sex-god bloke, Rege-Jean Page from Bridgerton. Mmm. My sense is no, no, but you never know.
One problem with taking someone from the TV world is that they’re often caught up in long-term contracts.
No, I reckon they’ll go for someone who’s under the radar.He (it won’t be a she) will be someone with solid theatre acting chops, like Craig, because Broccoli, in particular, is a champion of the stage.
I did hear a rumour. No, it can’t be him. Can it?!