Javier Bardem faces every role, every hairdo head-on

05:00 AM, Oct 24, 2013

Javier Bardem, right, stars as the spiky-coiffed Reiner alongside Michael Fassbender in the new crime thriller 'The Counselor.' Kerry Brown, 20th Century Fox/


Written By by Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY

Hair, no matter how stylish, does not make a screen performance. But it sure helps.

The way a character looks shouldn’t be more important than the way a character walks or a character talks, for example,” says Javier Bardem, who stars as Reiner in The Counselor, opening Friday. “But the look is important.”

There certainly has been a focus on Bardem’s hair in his three most memorable screen appearances. It started with his Oscar-winning performance as oddly coiffed killer Anton Chigurh in 2007’s No Country for Old Men. In 2012’s Skyfall, Bardem went blond as Raoul Silva, a role that pundits have dubbed the best, and creepiest, James Bond villain ever.

And in The Counselor, directed by Ridley Scott, Bardem adopts an extremely spiky look as a flamboyant drug-trafficking middleman who finds himself in deadly dealings with a Mexican drug cartel alongside Michael Fassbender.

A breakdown on the hair roles:

• Reiner from The Counselor: Scott suggested publicly that Bardem was inspired by Hollywood producer Brian Grazer for his outrageously spiked hair.

That is something that Ridley joked about,” Bardem says. “It is not true. I never do a character based on one person. The idea always comes to you in many images, people you know, people you see in pictures, people you imagine.”

But the wild hair was telling for a man losing his grip on a dangerous life.

I wanted to create a guy who has this hairstyle because he is not in control, not even with his hair,” he says. “It’s everywhere. Things are random.”

• Chigurh from No Country for Old Men. Bardem let his hair grow long for the part so that an appropriate haircut could be found for the psychotic hit man. “When you have it long, they can work with your hair in any way,” he says.

Cormac McCarthy, who wrote the novel on which the film was based, showed Bardem a picture of a man in a Texas bar in the 1960s wearing the strange bowl-shaped creation. Inspiration struck. A hairdresser performed the same look on Bardem’s hair, which took about a half-hour.

In the place we were, there was no mirror. But someone came in the room, and he fell down laughing. And then I found a mirror,” Bardem says. At first, he swore at how ridiculous he looked.

Then, the second thought was that it was brilliant,” he says. “It tells you so much. It’s so clean. It tells you about a very destructive mind who can be scary but also ridiculous and weird.”

• Silva from Skyfall. After reading the script, Bardem knew that his villain’s mission was to make James Bond (Daniel Craig) as uncomfortable as possible.

In the emotionally trying interrogation scene with the British spy, Silva uses everything at his disposal — sexual, physical and emotional energy. And hair.

So the idea was to create someone uncomfortable to watch,” Bardem says before breaking up with laughter. “What’s more uncomfortable to watch than me being blond?”

The bleach blond is not a wig or hairpiece.

That’s my hair,” he says. “And I ruined it.”