Javier Bardem's 'Skyfall' Villain An Homage To Classic Bond Baddies

Bardem's character Silva manages to honor tradition yet take a series villain into new territory.

The new James Bond movie "Skyfall" is as good as many of the early reviews say it is because it manages to be both classic and modern at the same time. It pays tribute to the series' 50-year history, while moving the franchise forward in exciting ways.

Perhaps the best example of this contradiction is Raoul Silva, the movie's villain, played by Javier Bardem, one of the series' most intriguing antagonists to date. To call Silva "eccentric" or "quirky" doesn't come close to describing the levels of creepiness Bardem reaches with his Bond villain.

MTV News spoke with Bardem to find out how he developed Silva from the page to what we see onscreen and how Silva harkens back to past villains.

While Silva was written with specificity in the screenplay, Bardem said director Sam Mendes gave him a single word that helped him develop the character. "[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."

For Bardem, the period of developing the character's finer points is essential. "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."

When Empire visited the set of "Skyfall" during filming, Bardem mentioned that Silva was an homage to previous Bond villains. He told us that the idea to do that stemmed from the series' 50th anniversary.

"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."

Check out everything we've got on "Skyfall."