The first time I watched the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAN MEN TELL NO TALES trailer, all I could think was “Wow, that’s one creepy creep” (Didn’t know Salazar was a ghost yet!). When Javier Bardem plays a villain, he plays a villain well. There is a reason Javier won the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role as hitman Anton Chigur in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. His portray as Raoul Silva in the James Bond thriller SKYFALL, once again proved that Javier plays a nefarious villain up on the big screen. To me it was no surprise that he’s heading to the high seas as Captain Salazar to face off against the legendary Captain Jack Sparrow.
On my recent trip to California for #PiratesLifeEvent, we had the opportunity attend the DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES press junket, and interview Javier. Despite his character being one filled with anger and rage, Javier walked into the room with an infectious smile across his face!
I think he was shocked how many of us were in the room (25 bloggers). He pointed out to us while laughing that since we are all moms, we would need to go easy on him in the interview, since he was a dad himself. We said we would take it easy on him.
How long it took you to get makeup every day?
He jokingly replied “way less than it takes for you all.” But his serious answer was three hours!
How was it talking through the black goo coming out of your mouth?
Javier: That was as I called monkey poo. [GROANS] It was a liquid. They told me it was supposed to be like chocolate. Chocolate my a**!! That taste worse than… and they was supposed to put it on the teeth. So I drank it and then I went to play the first scene, I think it was with Geoffrey Rush and it starts to pour out of my mouth and he was very disgusted. And I thought it was like a rage pouring out, right? It’s not blood. It’s like the rage of the character coming out, like something more physical, like a bull.
You had so much makeup packed on your face and really intense emotions during the film. How did you portray emotions?
Javier: Very good question. That was one of my concerns to see if my facial expression can go through the mask, but these guys (makeup artists) won the Oscar for MAD MAX. They are young, from Australia, and they did an amazing job and once I had the mask on the face, I realized that I could express myself through it, which is important. Otherwise, your performance is killed by it.
One of the things that these special effects people have done so well in this movie is that they brought magic into the performance without killing it, like the hair, it’s fantastic. I think we have gone maybe more or stronger on it or, but they are writing this in the right place, so it’s there but it doesn’t kill the physicality of the performance.
How did you become involved in the project?
Javier: I got involved back in 2010, because Penelope (Cruz, his wife) was shooting PIRATES 4. So I went to the set in Hawaii, a beautiful place, and Los Angeles and London. I was very envious. I was very jealous because I was seeing all this amazing production taking place, the water, the special effects, the boat, the sword fighting. I wanted to be one of those. So, I talked Jerry (Bruckheimer, the producer), “Jerry please, give me a job.”…
Then he called me five years after. I was so surprised and honored because as a movie goer, I love the franchise. So, I knew that production wise and experience wise it was going to be great. Now it was a matter of what’s the story and what can I bring to the character, and when they gave it to me, I thought it was this great thing about one same character played in two ways, 1) he’s alive and it’s all about pride and it’s all about honor and when he’s dead, which he’s like it’s all about betray and pain and revenge. I liked it. And it’s a Disney movie. You have to bring it up. You have to lay it up because it’s a family movie but even though I think it’s very powerful. It has some powerful moments, the movie itself.
Can you tell us what it was like when you saw yourself after all the CGI was added in?
Javier: Yeah because I was working a little bit on the darkness with… not with the makeup because the face was better but the hair. They showed me some pictures and videos… So when I first saw the movie, having in mind that I was never on the scene. The whole movie was shot on studio, so I didn’t see that ship, the sea for a second… That’s not true. The scene on the beach when they’re escaping from the sharks and I’m getting close to the shore, that was an amazing beach, a natural park called “White Sand Heaven” in Australia, beautiful. Crazy, the sand is so white and — but the rest was on the studio and when I saw the movie, it’s like I’d been on the sea forever.
You’ve played some pretty out there villains in the past. Did you pull inspiration from previous roles or where did you find inspiration for Salazar?
Javier: I tried to see what’s the thing that makes them different from each other. I’ve played three, which is NO COUNTRY, SKY FALL, and this one. But I guess the movies are very powerful in their own genre. They are different genres, being SKY FALL and this one similar in some ways because it’s a fiction world, fiction in the sense that if you play a villain in James Bond or here, you have to, as I said, before bringing it up a little bit because people are expecting that. When NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN was a drier movie, a drier story and more rough.
So the only thing that I was inspired by was the idea of this wounded animal. Also the idea that in those times, the Spanish army was very powerful in the seas. The captains were from the south of Spain and the south is where the flamingo is, the whole bull fighting culture belongs to… I wanted to bring some of that flavor into the character which for a foreigner it wouldn’t be that obvious but for a Spanish audience, I guess they will get a little bit of a glimpse into that.
You do a lot of artwork that’s really stunning. At the end of a long day do you ever go back and draw or paint anything that inspired you during the film?
Javier: Yes, always I bring my own sketches and not because I want to impose that but it’s how I see it. Then of course somebody that draws better than me just does it. But actually I studied painting and I wasn’t very good at brushes. I was more into the pencil and the ink.
Javier: I met him in 1999 in Mexico in Vera Cruz doing a movie called BEFORE NIGHT FALLS by Julian Schnabel, and it was an inventive movie, a beautiful movie about a gay, Cuban poet that was imprisoned by the Castro regime. Then he came to the States and a very important figure in the Cuban culture, also in the gay community. There was two scenes that he came down to play for us as a favor to Julian, because he knows Julian Schnabel.
He was super nice, very caring, very funny, and don’t give himself too much importance at all. I remember that it was so hot, we were sitting on a roof and it was summertime. It was 3 p.m. People were like fainting out of the heat, and there was only one umbrella and of course the production went running to watch him with the umbrella and he was like “No. The umbrella is not for me. The umbrella is for Javier because that’s the guy who has to keep shooting when I leave. You need to protect him.” And that was without making too much noise about it, but I saw that and I thought that talks a lot about him.
And when I do the movie now, in 2015, he was the same guy except that he’s playing Jack Sparrow which is an iconic character… He’s so funny to watch and he will do and say anything. He will be brilliant so I had to cut sometimes the scene because I was laughing, but he’s a great colleague and a beautiful guy.
You were a rugger. You played rugby? What position do you play?
Javier: Yeah, I play rugby, European rugby, yes. I play #3. I play in Spain and I’m saying that being a rugby player in Spain is like being a bull fighter in Japan, it doesn’t make any sense. [LAUGHTER] I mean, in the sense that we don’t have a very strong rugby culture. We love it, more and more now, because it’s become professional. So people are now getting to know it better, but back in my day, there were not so many. I was captain of the national team.
I loved it. I love — and I wish that for my own kid. Mama is maybe not agreeing with it. But I think rugby, it’s a great philosophy on the field. First of all, referee is God. There are rules to follow. Like football, you cannot — I mean, there are rules to follow, and also there is no room for stars. Like in rugby, there’s no such thing as football.
Javier was gracious enough to take a photo with all us bloggers. I think I snagged a grab spot in the photo, don’t you think? Honestly though, it really was a pleasure to chat with “Captain Salazar” and learn a little more about the production behind his character.
Check out Javier in action as Salazar in the DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES trailer.
In addition, to celebrate the film’s upcoming release, check out this PIRATES Activity Pack! Activities include a maze, creating your own spy glass, and much much more.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES is in theaters May 26, 2017 in 3D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D!
Want to see more of my adventures in LA? We can connect on Twitter (@AshBG) and on Instagram (@ashb4211). I’ve posted some photos from my trip! Make sure you follow the hashtags #PiratesLifeEvent and #BambiBluray.
While I attended an expense paid trip by Disney to Los Angeles, all opinions are 100% my own.
Interview Photo Credits: www.MomStart.com