The new film "Biutiful" is the story of a man who is facing death, which forces him to come to terms with the legacy he's leaving behind. He's not only reevaluating, but he's also reconciling all the elements of his life: family, work, spirituality and his own mortality.
"To be able to forgive, starting with your own self, and to be able to listen to the other, and give room to the other person, listen to him and that's what he does," said Bardem. "And because he does that, everything around him changes."
"For me, this film is about life and about light, not about death and darkness. That's why it's called 'Biutiful,'" said director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
Teaming up with Gonzalez Inarritu was a dream for Bardem, who had always wanted to work with the director. And Gonzalez Inarritu had Bardem in mind for the lead role when he co-wrote the screenplay.
"It was a very intense process, but very satisfying artistically. I think it was a fantastic experience," said Gonzalez Inarritu.
"It was a very rewarding journey. I mean, it's great material -- it's great writing, it's great directing, it's a great story," said Bardem.
There are very intense themes addressed in "Biutiful."
And to help leave that experience behind, Bardem jumped into another film, one that took him to an island oasis with Julia Roberts.
"I finished 'Biutiful' and six months later I was doing 'Eat Pray Love' in Bali because I needed it," said Bardem. "I really needed to go to another situation, the opposite direction of being more in a light place, doing something that was lighter than 'Biutiful,' which doesn't mean less important, it means lighter."
"Biutifil" is rated R, and it's in theaters now.
Bardem won't have another film out until 2012. But there is an even bigger, more important production in the works. He and his wife Penelope Cruz are expecting their first child early next year.