Javier Bardem: 'Characters are like buildings'

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A 2010 Spanish drama film starring Javier Bardem, "Biutiful" tells the story of a conflicted father on the road to redemption. Uxbal (Bardem) is struggling to reconcile love, spirituality, crime, guilt and mortality amidst the dangerous underworld of modern Barcelona. Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.
January 6th, 2011

Javier Bardem thinks of his film characters like "buildings".

The 'Biutiful' actor - who is married to fellow Spanish star Penelope Cruz -likes to construct characters after reading them in scripts and starts from the base upwards.

He said: "A character is like a building. I've never studied architecture, but I imagine that first you have to prepare the plans, lay down the base, a solid base that has to do with the character, and from there build it up.

"Once this is all clear, you can add the details: I want blue walls, I want wood floors, I want him to speak this way or move like that. But first you have to think."

However, the 41-year-old star was not always "attracted" to the idea of working in showbusiness, and only changed his mind when he saw his mother Pilar Bardem - a famous Spanish film actress - and her dedication to the craft.

He told the Scotsman newspaper: "I watched my mother act all my life, and yet I wasn't attracted to acting as such.

"What attracted me was my mother's effort, her dedication, the seriousness of the work, the desire to do something. But what that something was didn't matter to me. It could just as well have been painting or writing or even rugby."