Javier Bardem has worked with some of the finest directors around, ranging from the likes of Terrence Malick to the Coen brothers. From an early age, he was heavily involved in the world of cinema but he managed to surpass expectations by becoming a global icon through unforgettable performances in masterpieces like No Country for Old Men.
Last year, Bardem appeared in two of the biggest productions (including Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic Dune) and earned critical acclaim – especially for his performance in Being the Ricardos. He is currently involved in numerous major upcoming projects but Bardem also has a few regrets about certain career decisions.
He first gained global recognition in the year 2000 when he starred in Julian Schnabel’s film Before Night Falls which earned a lot of praise from critics and fans. In addition to those accolades, Bardem also received one of the best gifts of his life when his idol Al Pacino personally called him to congratulate him on his work.
Due to this boost in popularity, Bardem got many more offers but one wasted opportunity stands out from the rest. After seeing what Bardem was capable of, Steven Spielberg approached the actor to cast him in his 2002 sci-fi film Minority Report which would go on to become one of Spielberg’s most well-known works.
An adaptation of a short story by Philip K. Dick, Minority Report explores the concept of the surveillance state by imagining a society where crime is tackled by following a system which predicts that a criminal is going to do something heinous even before they get the chance to do it. Such interventions raise ominous questions about free will and our technological future.
Bardem was offered the role of a Department of Justice agent called Danny Witwer but he had some reservations about the part. At the time, he claimed he rejected the role because he “didn’t want to just run around chasing Tom Cruise” which is why it eventually went to Colin Farrell who delivered a strong performance.
“When I met him [Spielberg], I was really star-struck,” Bardem later reflected while talking about the meeting concerning Minority Report. “Now I can, because I’ve done those roles. But at the time, it was difficult for me to jump into a foreign-language performance. My English is better now. You may not believe it, but it’s better.”