Javier Bardem, the Oscar-winning star of 'No Country for Old Men,' often goes for films that other A-listers wouldn't touch. His latest film, 'Biutiful,' directed by acclaimed Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, is screening at the Toronto International Film Festival. Set in the mean streets of Barcelona, where illegal immigrants can die of abuse and neglect, where substance abuse, poverty, and overcrowding make it a kind of hell on earth, Bardem's character Uxbal is a powerful crime boss who traffics in slave laborers and stolen goods.

But as with most of Bardem's characters, Uxbal also has a good side; he loves and dotes on his young children. He has grace and a healing touch that he uses to comfort dying people and their relatives, but he can't seem to save himself.

Moviefone caught up with Bardem at the Toronto Film Festival.

Check back closer to October 20, when ''Biutiful' is set for release, for our full interview with Bardem. Javier Bardem, the Oscar-winning star of 'No Country for Old Men,' often goes for films that other A-listers wouldn't touch. His latest film, 'Biutiful,' directed by acclaimed Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, is screening at the Toronto International Film Festival. Set in the mean streets of Barcelona, where illegal immigrants can die of abuse and neglect, where substance abuse, poverty, and overcrowding make it a kind of hell on earth, Bardem's character Uxbal is a powerful crime boss who traffics in slave laborers and stolen goods.

But as with most of Bardem's characters, Uxbal also has a good side; he loves and dotes on his young children. He has grace and a healing touch that he uses to comfort dying people and their relatives, but he can't seem to save himself.

Moviefone caught up with Bardem at the Toronto Film Festival.

Check back closer to October 20, when ''Biutiful' is set for release, for our full interview with Bardem.

The film is so dark, unrelenting, grim and beautiful in parts... did it have an effect on you that was hard to shake?
I realized that working with the kids was a key part of the role, because Alejandro and I worked very hard to make sure those kids knew they were making fiction, not something real, for their own sake. They pretended, they didn't go through those emotions and they're great. Alejandro would say "Cut!" and the kids would go back to their toys and their goofy manners, That's the way it is and that's the way it should be. You don't have to get lost in your own thoughts and things. You have to really protect yourself. Getting lost doesn't make your performance better and doesn't help you to live a better life. It was a good example of how important it is to emotionally detach, psychologically, for what you do. That doesn't mean there weren't harder days than the others, but it was five/six days a week being that person for five months.

What was the hardest thing about being that person?
The end. We shot in chronological order. We were tired. But you can't help but love the person you created... and then you have to say goodbye to him. It was about being a person who is struggling with so much contradiction in his life. He has to find light in the dark world that surrounds him and also in the world that he has created for his life. And the legacy he has to give to the kids to learn good values in life, which is contrary to what he is doing. He has to really focus on what is important to learn and teach the little ones.

When we meet Uxbal, he's a street thug, not of much value. But you see how he loves his children and wants to change things. Is this one of your bravest roles, do you think?
He's a father with two kids and that's brave for anybody! But the real bravery is to witness the bravery of some others who are trying to do the same thing for their kids. We related to them. We are constantly in denial about them in our society, but we take good advantage of them, we put them in slavery. He sees those values, which helps him cope with the fact that we are all the same, we all want the same things, and there is no difference. Facing an end, he must be brave. What's he's doing is the only thing we do alone.

'Biutiful' is set for release on October 20.