Exclusive Interview with Javier Bardem Who Plays Captain Salazar

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Pirates of the Caribbean has some notorious villains. In reality, most of the characters are pirates so I guess you can say they all have a little hidden villain in them. But Captain Salazar takes the award for being the scariest man and crew on the sea. Played by Javier Bardem who has a knack for villainous characters, he brings a terrifying edge to the character. We sat down with him to discuss the film and his experience. 

Photo credit Lousie of MomStart.com

Video below with the full interview

One of the highlights of Javier’s characters was the makeup and black goo that comes out of his mouth while speaking. It’s something that makes you cringe when you see it but the way that Javier explains his thought process behind it, truly opens his character up. 

Q- I want to know how long it took you to get makeup every day and what the black stuff you had to be oozed out of your mouth. 

JAVIER BARDEM:  Way less than it takes for all of you…. Three hours.

Me-  How was it talking through the black goo coming out of your mouth?

JAVIER BARDEM:  That was as I called it monkey poo. (we all groan) It was a liquid. They told me it was supposed to be like chocolate, chocolate my ass.  That taste worse than that, so, and I was supposed to put it on my teeth. I said give me that, (raise a pretend bottle) so I drunk it and then I went to play the first scene, I think it was with Geoffrey Rush and it starts to pour out of my mouth and he was very disgusted. And I thought it was like rage pouring out, right? It’s not blood. It’s like the rage of the character coming out, like-like something more physical, like a bull. I’d always thought the character was like a bull, like a wounded bull with the blood and like moving like wounded and breathing like … out of breath and with a very strong idea for revenge towards this little guy (Jack Sparrow toy on the table). 

Q- Was it difficult to portray the emotions through all of that makeup?

JAVIER BARDEM:  Very good question, that was one of my concerns to see if my facial expression can go through the mask…Once I had the mask on my face, I realized that I could express myself through it, which is important. Otherwise, your performance is killed by it.

Photo credit Lousie of MomStart.com

And, one of the things that these special effects people have done so well in this movie is that they brought magic into the performance without killing it, like the hair, it’s fantastic. And they could have gone maybe more or stronger on it or, but they are writing this in the right place, so it’s there but it doesn’t kill the physicality of the performance.

I always love hearing actors talk about how they become involved in a film. Everyone we spoke to chased this film. From the cast to the directors they all wanted to be a part of the franchise because they were such fans of it. Javier Bardem was no different. 

Q-  So, how did you become involved in the project?

JAVIER BARDEM:  I got involved back then, 2010, because Penelope was shooting “Pirates 4” so I went to the set in Hawaii, a beautiful place, and Los Angeles it was, and London, and I was very envious. I was very jealous because I was seeing all this amazing production taking place, the water, the special effects, the boat, the sword fighting. I wanted to be one of those. So, I talked to — I said to Jerry, Jerry please, give me a job.

Q-  It was that easy?

JAVIER BARDEM:  No, I said that because I thought that he was going to say yeah, right, but then he called me five years after and I was so surprised and honored because as a movie goer, I love the franchise. So, I knew that production wise and experience wise it was going to be great. Now it was a matter of what’s the story and what can I bring to the character, and when they gave it to me, I thought it was this great thing about one same character played in two ways, 1) he’s alive and it’s all about pride and it’s all about honor and when he’s dead, which he’s like it’s all about betrayal and pain and revenge. I liked it. And it’s a Disney movie. You have to bring it up. You have to lay it up because it’s a family movie but even though I think it’s very powerful. It has some powerful moments, the movie itself.

“PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES” Javier Bardem (Captain Salazar) © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Q- Can you tell us about what that was like to see yourself with all the CGI?

JAVIER BARDEM:  Yeah because I was working a little bit on the darkness with — not with the makeup because the face was there but the hair, they showed me some pictures and videos and it was like yeah, right, looks great but how is it going to look like at the end, so when I first saw the movie, having in mind that I was never on the sea. The whole movie was shot on studio, so I didn’t see that ship, the sea for a second. That’s not true. The scene on the beach when they’re escaping from the sharks and I’m getting close to the shore, that was an amazing beach, a natural park called “White Sand Heaven” in Australia, beautiful. Crazy, the sand is so white and — but the rest was on the studio and when I saw the movie, it’s like I’d been on the sea forever. [LAUGHTER] And what I most was amazed by was that the hair, it’s like hypnotic, no?

Photo credit Lousie of MomStart.com

*Swoon at that heavenly accent (listen to the video and you will know what I mean)* He is right though, Captain Salazar’s hair and his ghostly crew are very hypnotic. The special effects department had their work cut out for them. Obviously so, they wrapped shooting in 2015 and it took two years to finish the film because of all the great effects. 

The highlight of our interview was the way that Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp met on the set of Before Night Falls.

Q-What’s it like working with Johnny Depp and what was the chemistry like on set?

JAVIER BARDEM:  I met him in 1999 in Mexico in Vera Cruz doing a movie called “Before Night Falls” by Julian Schnabel, and it was an inventive movie, a beautiful movie about a gay, Cuban poet that was imprisoned by the Castro regime and then he came to states and a very important figure in the Cuban culture, also in the gay community, and there was two scenes that he came down to play for us as a favor to Julian, because he knows Julian Schnabel.

In one, he’s playing this very strong Cuban general, and another one, he plays a drag queen named bon-bon. So he went down to play that, and I was in a trailer and I went out of the trailer, I saw this beautiful blonde hair and a beautiful ass and I said ‘that’s a beautiful ass’, and they said it’s Johnny’s, it’s a beautiful ass. I don’t care! 

And then I said that to him, I said I don’t know you, but you’ve got a great butt man. And then since then, we’ve been good friends and he was a gentleman then. He was super nice, very caring, very funny, and don’t give himself too much importance at all. I remember that it was so hot, we were shooting on a roof and it was summertime. It was 3 p.m. We were all — people were like fainting out of the heat, and there was only one umbrella and of course the production went running to watch him with the umbrella and he was like no. The umbrella is not for me. The umbrella is for Javier because that’s the guy who has to keep shooting when I leave. You need to protect him. And that was without making too much noise about it, but I saw that and I thought that was — that talks a lot about him.

And when I do the movie now, in 2015, he was the same guy except that he’s playing Jack Sparrow which is an iconic character and he’s starting to you know, then rolling, boom, he becomes Jack Sparrow and he’s so funny to watch and he will do and say anything and he will be brilliant so I had to cut sometimes the scene because I was laughing, I cannot make it, I cannot hate you, but he’s a great colleague and a beautiful guy.

Make sure to check out Javier Bardem in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell Now Tales in theaters May 26th. Check back tomorrow to see my interview with Geoffry Rush who plays Barbossa. 

Full interview can be heard here. 

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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.

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