Amigos del Español

Javier Bardem


Javier Bardem, a Spanish actor and now Hollywood heavyweight, has made a big splash in recent months with two films adapted from acclaimed novels: Colombian Gabriel García Márquez’s “El amor en los tiempos del cólera” (Love in the Time of Cholera) and American Cormac McCarthy’s “No Country for Old Men.” After being the first Spanish actor to be nominated for the best actor award for “Mar Adentro” (The Sea Inside), Bardem repeated the feat with his portrayal of a sociopathic killer on the trail of a man who stole drug money in “No Country for Old Men.”

Bardem, who appeared in several acclaimed Spanish films before his Hollywood success, also is an avid reader who always has a book under his arm.

Jodie Foster

Actress, director and producer

The Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster is an intellectual when talking about books. She just loves literature and to read a good book.

Your last movie Nim's Island is based in a children's book. Did you also do this so that you'd have a film your kids could see?

Yes, because they've already read the book and they loved it. The book had a big impact on my son—so now after he read the book he can visualize me. It was like he discovered literature in a completely different way. I couldn't get him to come to dinner because he was too busy reading the book again. It was great.

Did you read the book or the script first?

Scarlett Johansson


She is known as Woody Allen’s muse, having already starred in three of his films. But Scarlett Johansson’s decision to appear in his latest project, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, was due to her interest in learning Spanish.

Why Spanish?

Ben Affleck


Although he is better known as an actor and celebrity who dated (and practiced Spanish with) Gwyneth Paltrow and was on the verge of marrying Jennifer Lopez, 35-year-old Ben Affleck’s lone Oscar is the Best Original Screenplay award he and his good friend Matt Damon won for the film “Good Will Hunting.” Affleck also has resorted to the written word for his directorial debut, a crime thriller that is an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel “Gone, Baby, Gone.”

Do you read in Spanish?

Robert Redford

Actor, Director and Producer

Robert Redford came to fame as an outlaw and, movie legend or no, he sees himself as an outsider still. A good Spanish speaker, Redford lived five years in a little town in the south of Spain at the end of the fifties and grew up in south Los Angeles, surrounded by a Spanish community. Good friend of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

You grew up in a Spanish Community in Los Angeles, and lived in Spain for a long time, do you speak Spanish?

Michael Douglas


Considered Hollywood royalty, this 63-year-old native of New Jersey and son of the legendary Kirk Douglas has won two Oscars – one as producer for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and another for best actor in “Wall Street.” Douglas and his family – including his wife, Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones – divide their time between Hollywood, New York, Bermuda and Majorca.

Do you read in Spanish?

Penelope Cruz


Penélope Cruz, the star of Pedro Almodóvar’s “Volver,” has become the first Spaniard to be nominated for an Oscar in the best actress category. Winning is not her primary concern, however. More important for the 32-year-old Cruz is to continue a career that already includes more than 35 films and earn the respect that has eluded her at times in Hollywood, where she has drawn more attention for her beauty and love affairs than her art. But, according to Cruz, as long as there’s a new book to read, there’s always hope.

Which book are you reading at the moment?

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