Javier Bardem finds that Spain is no country for stupid remarks

His smouldering looks and on-screen presence usually do the talking. But this time it is what the Oscar-winning Spanish actor Javier Bardem has said that has landed him in trouble with his compatriots.

The boyfriend of Penelope Cruz stands accused of attacking his countrymen in an interview with The New York Times, labelling them "a bunch of stupid people". Bardem was replying to home-grown criticism that he had "sold out" by going to Hollywood.

Despite winning an Academy Award for his role as the psychopathic hitman Anton Chigurh in the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men, Bardem said he was greeted with flak on returning home. "The Spanish are tough," he told the newspaper. "They criticise my work and say I sold out. You want to say: 'Stop it – you're a bunch of stupid people.'"

But when his controversial remarks were reported in Spain this week, Bardem felt obliged to do some swift back-pedalling. The 39-year-old actor has now issued a statement claiming there was an error in translation. He said he "feels a deep respect and thanks" towards the immense majority of Spaniards, and that he did not insult the Spanish people in the interview.

Bardem said he felt proud of his country and that he only meant to direct his criticisms towards a small group of people who had attacked his career. "Contrary to what I was quoted as saying, I feel very proud of my country and through my work I have always tried to contribute to its culture within and outside Spain and to honour my people," he said.

He insists he has not been seduced by Hollywood. He said that because he cannot drive, he finds it tough to get around Los Angeles and still feels that his real home is Madrid.

Bardem is known as a left-wing activist who has publicly demonstrated in favour of Spain's ruling Socialist party and for social reforms. He used his Oscar acceptance speech to criticise Spain's conservative Popular Party. Bardem's political activism has won him no friends on the right in Spain, and it seems likely that his latest comments were directed at politically motivated detractors.

Born into a family of actors, Bardem was raised by his mother, who was often unemployed for long spells. He has said that made him realise how tough life could be. "I come from a very political background," he once said. "It's good to go back to your roots and see everything with a second camera."

In the latest interview, Bardem did admit that he had fought to prove that winning an Oscar, had not changed him. "After something like the awards, you've changed a little bit, but everyone around you has changed tremendously. You have to bring them back, you have to show that you are the same stupid, limited guy and not this kind of golden boy."

Bardem stars in Woody Allen's latest film, Vicky Christina Barcelona, alongside Cruz, Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall, which was shot in Spain and will be released this month. Referring to his role, Bardem said: "I'm with these three beauties. I was afraid no one in the audience would believe they'd ever be with me. I was in the make up trailer saying: 'You'd better work a miracle.'"

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
    RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

    RuPaul interview

    The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
    Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

    Secrets of comedy couples

    What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
    Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

    Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

    While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
    The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

    The best swimwear for men

    From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer