Javier Bardem is Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s ‘Biutiful’ Man

After his terrifying turn in “No Country for Old Men,” Javier Bardem has shot onto Hollywood’s most watched list. While he took the chance to romance Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz in Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” Bardem has steered clear of big and flashy roles, even dropping out of Rob Marshall’s “Nine” in favor of a little rest and relaxation. After a long vacation, he’s now returning to his Spanish roots in “Biutiful,” directed by one of Mexico (and Hollywood’s) Big Three, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

The film follows a man, who is embroiled in unspecified shady dealings, who is confronted by a childhood friend. Given that his old friend is now a policeman, things are bound to be problematic. And if you saw Inarritu’s last film, “Babel,” you know how he can turn a simple story into a ricochet of tragedy.

There’s no word yet on whether Bardem will play the criminal or the cop; but let’s hope it’s the latter for those of us still afraid Anton Chigurh will be hiding behind our closet door. (Yes, I check behind mine every night.)

And there’s a bit of behind the scenes drama on “Biutiful” already. This will be the first movie Inarritu directs without his cowriter, Guillermo Arriaga, after their much publicized split. The two talents came to an unhappy end over writing credits, and Arriaga has moved into directing his own screenplays. All good things must end, I suppose.

Well, Bardem fans — are you disappointed he gave up singing and dancing in “Nine” for another role that, knowing Inarritu, will be tough to watch? Or are you more excited to see him pair up with the Oscar nominated Inarritu?