Javier Bardem has played some truly villainous roles, but it seems he has nothing but warmth for his children.
The actor and his wife, Penelope Cruz, have a 10-year-old son, Leo, and a 7-year-old daughter, Luna. Since becoming a parent in 2011, he’s opened up about his changing priorities, hopes for his kids’ future and more.
In honor of his birthday, we’ve rounded up eight quotes about fatherhood from Bardem.
On Changing As A Parent
“As a father, you have to get rid of what you’ve learned and reeducate yourself to be able to raise them. It’s one of the biggest challenges as a father. We come with what’s ours, with everything that was important for us, for good or for ill, and you have to unlearn that to help an unlearned person, from when they’re born until they learn what they want. And that starts with the issue of ownership: We don’t own our children. They’re not ours, but rather we’re at their service. We brought them here and it’s up to them to decide.”
On His Kids’ Potential Future In Show Biz
“I don’t know. What right do we have? This profession isn’t easy. I’m one of the lucky ones and my wife is another. We belong to that small percentage of those who can live well from their work. … I don’t know what profession my children will choose and, if it’s this one, I don’t know how the profession will treat them. Not the people, but the profession itself, because I study and work with actors with extraordinary talent who have no opportunities.”
On Changing Priorities
“Only in the sense that nothing is that important anymore. Helping to educate someone, knowing you have to educate yourself, knowing that what you learned once may not be what you need to know now in order for someone to be held. It’s a great thing. Now there are new times, there are new values, thank God, and you have to learn them. Time and experience help Penelope and me as parents and as a couple who also work together.”
On Being Present
“I am getting older so the things I appreciate most now … to be a good dad, to be the best husband I can be, which is the hardest thing in the sense that you have to put your attention into it and give time and love to the people that you really love and care about. Time is everything, time is quality. Especially for kids.”
On Climate Change
“I’m a father of two kids … and I didn’t want scientists telling them the world is going to collapse and all that. But the truth is that we are at a crossroads where strong decisions have to be made from all of us, on a personal level, and we know how difficult that is to do. … Being a father, I ask, ‘What are we going to give them in the future?’ How can we survive from here to 20 years from now, with the heat that is going to be on Earth? And that’s why we are trying to make some noise about it. Because we need the support. And we want it to happen in the best way possible.”
On Family In Film
“Family is sacred for everyone. Where film is concerned, it’s important to show everybody with their own … goals: ‘This may not be the person you are rooting for, but you should listen to him or her because they have a point.’ And that can be very difficult. That’s why a director like Asghar Farhadi, for example, uses family as a key in his movies, because it’s such a sensitive matter for all of us. In Everybody Knows, we can see ourselves in those characters.”
On Putting Children First
“Before, when I was younger, I wanted to eat the whole world, jump into it unprotected. Now I’m almost 50 and, you know, I hate that. Now I understand more the importance of being a father, of being willing to die for a child. To have a family is to be in a room that’s sacred, meaning that I’m not going to let that go or let anything invade that room.”
On Portraying Fathers
“At this point, I don’t care who the character is or how he behaves or how he dresses as long as he’s rich inside. Of course, when you play such a strong figure as a father, it’s a very intense feeling, because you’re trying to construct a relationship with a son or daughter in something fictional that represents a very important relationship in real life.”