Javier Bardem is opening up about his new role — and how his weight gain affected his wife Penélope Cruz
Credit: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Javier Bardem is opening up about his new role — and how his weight gain affected his wife Penélope Cruz.

The Oscar-winning actor, 49, portrays Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar in his new film Loving Pablo — which also stars Cruz, 44, as journalist Virginia Vallejo, who had a tumultuous love affair with Escobar.

“She wasn’t happy,” Bardem tells PEOPLE with a laugh, of Cruz’s reaction when she saw her husband in his full Escobar look — which included a prosthetic belly. “I mean, she wasn’t happy in the sense that she knew what was coming. She knew what was coming.”

“There are some scenes that are pretty intense, and she knew that she had to go through that emotional journey because her journey in the movie is pretty, pretty strong,” he adds.

Bardem reveals he got to indulge in “a lot of chocolate, pasta, and beer, non-alcoholic beer” in putting on weight for the role.

'Everybody Knows' premiere and opening ceremony, 71st Cannes Film Festival, France - 08 May 2018
Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz
| Credit: James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock

“I gained weight in order to be able to flip through between different weights,” the actor says of wanting to be able to play Escobar at different ages throughout filming. “And there’s a moment where I have the prosthetic, and there’s another moment where I don’t have the prosthetic.”

As for losing the weight, the actor says he’s “still working on it.”

“That’s why I’m dressing dark,” he jokes.

Loving Pablo is in theaters Oct. 5.