When we spoke with Bardem during the press day for "Skyfall," he admitted that while Silva was fleshed out on the page, director Sam Mendes gave him a single word to help develop him.
"[Silva] was open to different interpretations. It was Sam's idea for the word 'uncomfortableness' that made the imagination be triggered in me," Bardem said. "From that word and from that key point came the look and the behavior and the tone and all that."
Bardem said that that kind of character development can only come out of having a good director. "That's the fun part of it, knowing that nothing is written in stone, so you can really play with it and try different things on set," he said. "For that, you need a director that allows you to do that, and Sam is an amazing director."
Part of Bardem's job as the villain of "Skyfall" was to honor the 50 years of bad guys. "We knew that this is the movie that celebrates 50 years, so we knew in some way, there must be something classic about the Bond villain to do this little and humble homage," Bardem said. "From that, we can also start to add some flavor to Silva that will remind us what Bond villains used to be in the early times."
"Skyfall" opens on November 9.