Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Have I Typecasted Javier Bardem?

Javier Bardem is the youngest member of a Spanish family that is well-established in the film industry.  He has done 44 movies to this point in his career.  I have seen only three, and he played small to medium roles in two of those.  The other, however, is one of my favorites - No Country for Old Men

In No Country for Old Men, Bardem plays the role of Anton Chiguir.  Chiguir is a hired gun, tracking down a stolen suitcase full of money for a Mexican drug cartel.  He is ruthless, cold, and completely exempt of emotion.  Chiguir is completely without scruples, murdering person after person who gets in his way, and doing it without the slightest hint of emotion.  He is resolute and stoic, perhaps best represented by his weapon of choice: a captive bolt pistol most commonly used to kill livestock.  Chiguir murders people in the same way, and with the same emotion that a slaughterhouse worker kills a calf.

Bardem plays the part masterfully, convincing the viewer that he is a mass-murdering psychopath, completely believable in the role.  He is, in fact, so believable that I find myself unable to separate Bardem from Chiguir.  Sometimes this happens to actors and it completely ruins their careers.  They can't separate themselves from the character they played in one of their first films, so they only get similar parts to the initial role through which the public defines them.  The phenomenon is known as typecasting. 

Now I'm not saying that Javier Bardem has been typecasted by Hollywood, and that he will only be able to play serial killers from now on.  That's definitely not the case.  He is a very talented actor.  In fact, I thought his latest venture as Felipe in Eat, Pray, Love was a pretty solid performance ...

Except I couldn't help but expect him to pull out that cattle gun and blow a hole in Julia Roberts' forehead.  

Was I guilty of typecasting him?  Or was I guilty of projecting the direction I wanted the movie to go in? 

Still not sure.