Magazine article Variety

Bardem Muses on ‘Loving’ Role

Magazine article Variety

Bardem Muses on ‘Loving’ Role

Article excerpt

PASSION PROJECT

"LOVING PABLO," ABOUT Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, is a passion project for Javier Bardem. He clearly relishes the title role in which he plays opposite his wife, Penelope Cruz, who plays Escobar's lover. The pulpy biopic, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival before moving to the Toronto festival, is directed by Spain's Fernando Leon de Aranoa, based on the book "Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar," by Virginia Vallejo, the Colombian journalist with whom Escobar had an affair. Bardem spoke to Variety about the challenges of bringing "Pablo" to the screen and what it was like to work with Cruz for the first time since they've become a couple.

You are one of the producers on "Loving Pablo," which has had a long gestation. How tough was it to bring to the screen?

I had long been been intrigued by Pablo Escobar. When I started to dig into this character almost 10 years ago, he wasn't as much in the public eye. And during that period I was offered [projects with me playing] him several times, but I never felt a human link to any of those roles. I wanted to make a movie about what was on his mind; about his personal side. And I really wanted to make this movie in Spanish. But we tried and tried, and just couldn't find the financing. Then, to move things forward, we decided we would do it in English, with Spanish accents, and we were able to mount the production.

So "Pablo" will be dubbed in Spanish for Spanish audiences?

Yes. But in Spanish-language territories it will also be going out in English.

Are you going to dub yourself in Spanish?

No. I have tried to dub myself in Spanish several times for my American movies. But at this point [in my career] my dubber is better than I am at capturing the nuances in Spanish of how my voice sounds in English. Also, Spanish audiences by now are used to his voice. So If I dubbed myself in Spanish, it would throw them off. …

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