Bond villains have always flirted with homoeroticism. You could say it’s as much a part of of the franchise’s 50-year-old formula as all of the girls, gadgets, and glamor. Whether it’s Goldfinger aiming his laser at 007’s royal jewels, the coy cat-in-his-lap quips of Blofeld, or even Lotte Lenya’s butch villainess Rosa Klebb in From Russia With Love, the Bond films have subtly toyed with a sexual subtext. But in the latest Bond installment, Skyfall, Javier Bardem pushes the gay envelope farther than it’s ever been pushed before.
The Spanish actor dons a blonde wig as the latest 007 nemesis, Silva — a cyberterrorist who has a complicated history with Bond’s boss at MI6, M (Judi Dench). And his first encounter with Daniel Craig’s license-to-kill agent is sure to get fans squirming in their seats. Which, according to Bardem, was exactly the point.
Asked if his character has an interest in Bond beyond just world domination, Bardem admits, “You could read it that way. That option was there in the script. The word that [director Sam Mendes] kept using was ‘uncomfortableness’. Beyond the sexuality, he wanted it to feel like you don’t know if Silva’s joking or not.”