Directed by Sam Mendes, the latest installment in the 50-year-old superspy franchise sheds light on where Bond came from and why he made some of the choices he did. It also focuses on how the past decisions of Dench's character, M., MI6 chief and a maternal figure to Bond, come back to haunt her. Bardem plays Raoul Silva, the brilliant baddie of the piece.
"There was one day I was shooting and I saw Judi and Daniel looking at me and then I forgot the lines because I was like: 'Jesus, that's M., and that's James Bond. And I'm in a crystal cell, so they're looking at me, so I am the villain in a James Bond movie.' And I forgot the lines and Sam came to me. 'Cut!' And he said, 'What happened?' And he was laughing because he kind of knew and I was like: 'I'm sorry. I'm a human and I just realized I'm in a James Bond movie,'" the 43-year-old actor told reporters at a recent New York press conference.
"That same day, we were shooting the scene with Judi, a very intense scene, and I hear [the Bond theme playing]. And I said, 'What is that?' And that was the music, the tone to Judi Dench's cellphone. I said, 'Wow, that was brilliant.' I have to say, it was like a dream come true. M. herself giving the music to the scene. But, no, you can't think too much about it. You just do your thing. All I can say, is it's a privilege for me to be in a movie that celebrates 50 years of Bond and being such a good movie as it is."
In discussing how he prepared to play Silva, Bardem compared his character to Anton Chigurh, the serial killer he portrayed in "No Country For Old Men."
"I realized we were dealing with something that was fun to create and also that will bring an opportunity to pay humble homage to the Bond classics with something more modern in the combination of creating somebody that above all is a human being rather than a larger than life character and who is broken person with a very specific goal to achieve, which is way easier to portray than a symbolic idea, which is what it was more or less in 'No Country For Old Men,'" Bardem explained. "A deity of violence and horrible fate itself was what Chigurh was, but there was no human being behind him. Here, there is a broken person. We wanted to create somebody that creates uncomfortable situations, rather than being somebody scary or threatening. Somebody who really creates a scenario of insecurity of something unexpected to happen for another person who he is dealing with."
One example of how Silva tries to accomplish this is a scene in which he flirts with Bond, who is tied to a chair.
"The main goal was to create this uncomfortableness. Within that, you can read anything you want or you wish," Bardem said, addressing buzz about his character's sexuality. "He's more into the thing of putting the other person in an uncomfortable situation where even James Bond himself doesn't know how to get out of it."
Suffice it to say, secret agent 007 handles the situation with his trademark calm and wit, as did Craig when he was asked at a separate press conference about the scene.
"Someone suggested that Silva may be gay," Craig said. "And I'm like, 'I think he'll [expletive] anything."
"Skyfall" is in theaters now.