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Javier Bardem’s new film “Sanctuary” finds him campaigning for a Global Ocean Treaty that aims to reduce the negative impact of fishing, mining and drilling on the oceans. The actor sat down with Guy Lodge at the Variety Lounge presented by Credit Suisse during the Zurich Film Festival to talk about the documentary, “The Little Mermaid” and the younger generation’s impact on the environment.

“It’s a documentary that was born by just the fact that I was invited to join the campaign to create the biggest marine sanctuary in history in the Antarctic ocean,” Bardem said of “Sanctuary,” written by Alvaro Longoria and produced by his brother Carlos Bardem. “It’s a whole journey that I do in order to understand the most extreme changes that are affecting the rest of the planet.”

Even though there is a lot of talk about climate change in the news, Bardem does not believe it’s making Hollywood more environmentally conscious. However, he pointed to Rob Marshall’s upcoming live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid,” for which he’s in talks to star in as King Triton, as a blockbuster that could help bring more awareness to the issue.

“‘The Little Mermaid’ [is] a movie I would love to do for many reasons,” Bardem said. “I was sharing with Rob the obligation that if you do a movie like this, you should include some of this ocean situation into the picture because it’s going to be seen by millions and millions of young people.” 

One of those millions of young people will be Bardem’s six-year-old daughter. “I would become instantly her hero if I am in that movie,” Bardem joked before pointing out the importance of using his voice to speak to young people about climate change. 

“This is the generation that is going to create the difference. I am sure of that. I am very proud and I’m very thankful for all of them. And at the same time, I’m very sorry for Greta [Thunberg] to have to sustain that level of pressure, being 16 years old,” Bardem said. “Greta has changed the world.”

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