The challenges of playing Captain Salazar attracted me to him
Academy Award-winning actor Javier Bardem was no stranger to Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ Pirates of the Caribbean franchise when he signed on to play Captain Salazar in the fifth instalment of the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. His wife, Penelope Cruz, was a part of the cast for On Stranger Tides. In this film, Bardem plays a Spanish captain, commanding a flotilla of ships, who was defeated by Jack Sparrow when he was only 12 years old. Now, he is out for revenge. The Spanish heartthrob, best known for his roles in No Country for Old Men and Biutiful, speaks about his new challenge.
How did you feel when you learned that you would be playing the role of Captain Salazar?
I was familiar with the franchise. I was on the set of On Stranger Tides with my wife. I was very happy to be a part of the group because I saw them working on the movie and I thought they did a great job.
What was your first reaction to Captain Salazar after you read the script?
I had some ideas and some images based on what the makers were saying about the character in the script. I had some images of a wounded bull, full of rage and with a strong need of revenge. But then, we also had to find the humour in it.
Will we get to see you speak with a regional Spanish accent as Salazar?
Yes. The film is set at a time when the best sailors were from Andal-usia, from the south of Spain. So we decided to bring the Andalusian, south-of-Spain flavour into it. I try to bring that in, which is not easy because the dialogues are in English. But there’s something in the way that Salazar moves, talks, and interacts with other people that aims to impart that flavour.
Was playing Salazar a challenge?
The challenges of playing the character attracted me to him in the first place. There is a point in the story where I can relate to him. I can understand his mentality. I like to escape as much as I can from a black-and-white characterisation. Of course, he’s a villain, but we can also find empathy for him. We can find a way of being in character that people can relate to in one way or the other. That’s the challenge.
What do you think fans should look forward to in this instalment?
Entertainment of the highest quality. There are new characters that are going to bring new meaning, a different dimension to what it’s been so far.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales releases today