The first James Bond film that Javier Bardem ever saw was 1979’s Moonraker, in Madrid, when he was 12. And when the young Spaniard walked out of the theater, he realized that he wasn’t drawn to Roger Moore’s debonair 007 but rather to the film’s villain Jaws. ”There was something very scary about him,” says Bardem, 43. ”But he also made me feel like he was such a nice man. You could tell in his eyes.”
An odd confession, perhaps. But maybe it explains how Bardem was able to summon one of the most memorable Bond villains in ages in Skyfall. As the creepy, kinky, and sadistic cyberterrorist Silva, Bardem gives us a 21st-century vision of evil. Silva is the kind of techno-savvy baddie who can bring down governments with a keystroke and make the most unflappable secret agent in Her Majesty’s double-0 arsenal squirm. Take Bardem’s now-indelible entrance in the film, when he has Daniel Craig’s Bond tied to a chair in his abandoned island lair and threatens and flirts with him at the same time, subversively toying with Bond’s sexual identity. It’s Ian Fleming with more than a dash of Sigmund Freud. Of course, Bardem’s Silva doesn’t manage to defeat Judi Dench’s M and MI6. But for the first time in decades, Bardem made a Bond villain feel both dangerous and dangerously alive.
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