Javier Bardem as Pablo Escobar in "Killing Pablo", Not Yet
Feb 8, 2008
Don't get too excited about seeing the fabulous Javier Bardem playing drug kingpin Pablo Escobar in "Killing Pablo," or as the lead in Rob Marshall's already highly anticipated film adaptation of the Broadway hit "Nine," or in any of the other projects to which the Oscar-nominated Spaniard is reportedly attached. At least, not yet.
Bardem tells us, "Those credits are all up in the air. Nothing is set up on any of them." And, he says, he's awaiting "the right thing at the right moment." Of course, at this moment, the actor -- who has scored a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe with his "No Country for Old Men" portrayal of a relentless hit man -- has a schedule crowded with awards activities.
He was set to fly last night to London for Sunday's (Feb. 10) British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards and return for the Feb. 24 Oscars. "You just have to ride the tide, propel yourself forward and not take anything too seriously," he believes.
As far as being the favorite in the Best Supporting Actor ranks, Bardem says, "Honestly, I am surprised by the nomination. With this (character), you have to express a lot, but there's not a lot to express. … You try to do your best, but you never know whether something is going to be well received or not."
He admits there were days during production of the Joel and Ethan Coen Best Picture prospect when "it felt like something you want to go out and have a drink and forget about." However, joking around with the Coens and fellow star Tommy Lee Jones helped, he says. "Joel and Ethan take the work very seriously, but they don't take themselves seriously."
Whatever else, Bardem takes with him Prada clothes (the Italian fashion house is outfitting him) and new friendships from this awards season. He had lots of laughs with Best Actor nominee George Clooney at the Academy Awards Nominees luncheon the other day, for instance, and says, "I think he's a great guy. He's very funny."
CHILLED TO PERFECTION: With a film starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes, you'd normally expect there to be enough of a budget for heating on the set. However, when the two paired as billionaire Doris Duke and her butler, Bernard, in Bob Balaban's "Bernard and Doris" -- which debuts on HBO tomorrow night (Feb. 9) -- "the biggest challenge was probably staying warm. We didn't have heating," recalls Balaban, speaking of working in an unheated mansion with snow outside. "We had to work around seeing people's breath. … Here we had great acting by great actors -- a cast beyond what I could have dreamed of -- and we had to go get food ourselves. The hard part was she was supposed to be the richest woman in the world."
As it turned out, Bvlgari loaned jewels as a favor to Sarandon, with whom the firm has had a long-time association. And, when told the production didn't have enough money to provide security, the firm provided guards itself. There were other such breaks, says Balaban, but most importantly, "because of Ralph and Susan being in the movie, we could focus on the interior workings of a unique relationship. We didn't need to take them riding camels in the distant Sahara."
Unique it was. The two shared such a bond that the larger-than-life tobacco heiress left her fortune to the gay alcoholic butler.
Balaban says that he took the project to Sarandon first, describing Duke as "a passionate woman who cared about things, who was ahead of her time, intelligent, committed, and seemed to have a great sense of fairness." In other words, someone to whom Susan could relate. Once she was aboard, "we discussed who the ideal Bernard would be. Little did I know, when I got in touch with Ralph, that he had been dying to work with Susan." Even in the cold.
HERE AND THERE: British actress Lena Headey, who is currently starring in "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," tells us she's still getting used to life in Los Angeles after relocating here for the TV show. "I miss the kind of social culture we have in London. It's a very different thing wandering around the park or wandering back home … not having to get in a car and drive 20 hours to go to dinner. I miss that," she notes. "But there are things about L.A. that I've really fallen in love with. There's the climate, and there's a sense of easiness to it, which I think has to do with the weather. I'm really enjoying it."
DOUBLE DUTY: With Tim Allen getting ready to direct as well as star in the big-screen comedy "Crazy on the Outside," casting is underway for subsidiary characters -- including a grandmother in her late '70s or early '80s described as a strong supporting role.
With reports by Stephanie DuBois and Emily Feimster.
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