Oscar-winner Javier Bardem spent five months in the Barcelona slums filming “Biutiful,” in which he stars as Uxbal, a single father and undocumented worker wrangler who can also communicate with the recently deceased. It didn’t exactly make for a light workload, but for Bardem it was worth it just to team up with writer and director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“Amores Perros,” “21 Grams,” “Babel”).

What attracted you to the project?

Many things. The director, Alejandro — I’m a huge fan of his previous works, and I knew he was going to be an amazing actors’ director based on the performances that I saw in his movies. But more important than that ... was the material. The script, beautifully written by him, and the character, which is very complex.

Did the role make you see life and death any differently?

No, not really. The good thing about being an actor, the gift of being an actor, is that you are forced — beautifully forced, we choose to be forced — to see the world with different eyes. You cannot get attached to what that character feels about an issue. You have to put yourself away and be him. It’s not you.

Given how much “Biutiful” focuses on people living in the shadows of Barcelona life, has the experience of making this movie changed the way you look at cities?

Spain is my country, and I smell things in a different way because I know the language, I know the culture, I know the place. And I knew about all those things, but it wasn’t until I got the chance to be in those situations, with those people, in those real places, that the experience of being conscious of something transcended an intellectual aspect of it. It goes to an emotional level. We all understand how bad it could be.

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