Silva: The gay Bond villain?

Javier Bardem enjoys a haunting turn as Silva in “Skyfall.”

As Silva, the big bad guy in “Skyfall,” Javier Bardem joins an impressive legacy of Bond villains that includes such icons as Blofeld and Scaramanga. So how does Bardem make his entry into the canon stand out? Director Sam Mendes had a few ideas: “I want a certain kind of villain, and I have a very particular idea of the kind of flamboyant, lip-smacking relish of this kind of villain,” Mendes explains. Here are some key elements a larger-than-life bad guy needs to cross James Bond:

An air of menace: This is a bad guy who gets his kicks playing with people, according to Bardem. “Sam gave me this great note, which is uncomfortableness,” he says. “We wanted to create somebody that creates uncomfortable situations rather than being somebody scary and threatening.”
That sense of uncomfortableness comes across most strongly during a charged scene in which Silva begins flirting with Bond. “It was part of the game, but he’s not entirely gay,” Bardem explains.

A sense of fun: “Camp is a word that somebody taught me the other day,” Bardem admits. “I realized that we were dealing with something that was fun to play, and that will also bring the opportunity to do … a humble homage to the Bond classics mixed with something more modern.”

A private island: Just as important as a Bond villain’s personality quirks is his choice of hideout. When Bond convinces Severine (Berenice Marlohe) to take him to Silva, he soon finds himself approaching a deserted island off the coast of China. This is where Silva has set up his base of operations. As he teasingly asks upon meeting Bond, “Do you like my island?”

A personal connection

It becomes clear before long that Silva has past ties to MI6 and its head, M (Judi Dench), a connection that makes him all the more threatening. “There’s a clear motive. Something happened to him that changed his whole perspective of the world that has to do with the motive in the movie,” explains Bardem. “So I think the power of this character is that we understand what he’s going through, what he went through. It’s very personal, it’s very human. This is not a man with bigger thoughts of destroying the world or something like that. It’s more like a person with a very specific goal in mind. And that makes him even more dangerous.”


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