September 22, 2010

Javier Bardem is Not Your Usual Latin Lover in “EAT PRAY LOVE”

Audiences worldwide have enjoyed critically acclaimed actor Javier Bardem’s diverse performances over the years. In 2008, Bardem received the Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actor for No Country for Old Men, and just last May, he won Best Actor at the 2010 Cannes film festival for Alejandro Innaritu’s Biutiful. Now, Bardem stars opposite Julia Roberts in Columbia Pictures’ inspiring romance drama, Eat Pray Love where he plays Felipe, a Brazilian traveler who sweeps Julia’s character off her feet.

In the film, Liz Gilbert (Roberts) is a modern woman on a quest to marvel at and travel the world while rediscovering and reconnecting with her true inner self. At a crossroads after a divorce, Gilbert takes a year-long sabbatical from her job and uncharacteristically steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life. In her wondrous and exotic travels, she experiences the simple pleasure of eating in Italy, the power of prayer in India, and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of love in Bali.

What Liz isn’t expecting when she arrives in Bali is to meet a new love. One of the reasons she felt she had to upend her life is that she has also been in a relationship or just getting out of one; now, in Bali, she has just figured out how to be happy on her own. But when she meets Felipe, she can’t get him out of her head. Is she ready to risk her newfound strength by letting him fully into her life?

“The physics of this love story are as tried and true as time,” says producer Dede Gardner. “Liz questions the new love she is feeling and runs away from it, only to realize she can’t live without this other person and goes back to get him, hoping it is not too late. The chemistry between Julia and Javier is a perfect match.”

“I was very intrigued but also very nervous about working with Julia,” says Bardem. “I truly admire her and am a fan of her work, but I had never met her personally. I was coming into the film late in the game, and I didn’t want to change the rhythm of things. But Julia was so welcoming and as human as a person can be, and funny as hell. She is so present when she is working, it almost hurts.”

Roberts says that as the long shoot – literally around the world – reached its final days in Bali, Bardem infused fresh energy into the project. “He gave all of us a new joyous sense of purpose,” she says. “He is so great in the part of Felipe, because he really is just so human and natural.”

Bardem, a Spaniard, practiced a Brazilian accent for the role. During rehearsals in New York, the Academy Award®-winning actor had dinner with the real-life Jose Nunes, whom the Felipe character is based on.

“The role of Felipe isn’t your a typical Latin lover, and Javier wasn’t interested in playing it that way,” says Gardner. “The fact is Felipe has grown children and once suffered from a broken heart. He is calm and funny, and lives his life with simplicity.”

“I read the book right after I read the script,” says Bardem. “It talks about something very common to all of us, which is broken hearts and how to overcome the pain. But there is humor in the story too. I could relate a hundred percent. We are always trying to be somebody else, either because we are not happy with what we are, or because we want people to love us and accept us. Felipe is just pure, and it is so striking and refreshing for Liz to meet someone who gives her permission just to be the way she is, and in the process falls in love with her for it. That is very powerful.”

Opening across the Philippines on Oct. 6, Eat Pray Love is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit to get the latest movie news, video clips, games and free downloads. Find us on Facebook and join our fan contests.

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