Is Javier Bardem Bound for Bond?

107940374 Is Javier Bardem Bound for Bond?Javier Bardem, new father and Oscar nominee, may just have gotten even busier. Deadline reports that Bardem has been offered the villain role in next year’s James Bond movie, a spot most recently occupied by French actor Mathieu Amalric. Evidently, post-Heath Ledger Oscar and after long budgetary delays, Bond’s producers have decided that a big name would gin up interest in the movie — Bardem’s going to get viewers through the door more ably than did Amalric, or other past villains. (Quick — who played Dr. No?) If he takes it — and Deadline notes that Bardem opted out of the Josh Brolin role in the recent Wall Street sequel — this is the latest step on Bardem’s march to superstardom.

Bardem has played the villain before, in No Country for Old Men, but that was a bit edgier than the stodgy Bond franchise. Between the potential Bond villainy, his rumored place (per IMDb) in the Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower, and his role in Eat Pray Love, Bardem is carving out a niche for himself as the actor in big-budget movies that aren’t offensively stupid (one’s mileage on Eat Pray Love may vary). A Bond film directed by Sam Mendes is about as prestigious a paycheck role as one can get — which can’t be said of the role he passed up in Wall Street, which would have had him racing motorcycles with Shia LaBeouf. (He also turned down the lead in Nine – wise man.) Perhaps Bardem can sneak some scripts for tentpole movies that don’t seem awful to his wife, Penélope Cruz, last seen in Sex and the City 2. There’s a difference between cashing in and selling out, you two — we don’t want to end up resenting the Spanish invasion!

ddaddario@observer.com :: @DPD_