The Skyfall star was cast alongside Jessica Chastain in the film about a Hispanic businessman who fights to protect his heating oil empire in 1981 New York, but dropped out earlier this year (13) due to creative differences with Chandor, who also wrote the script.
Chandor tells The Hollywood Reporter, "It was very sad, after eight months of working on the script with Bardem, for that to fall apart. We just never could get there."
The filmmaker admits finding a replacement was easy: "As I was having these problems with Bardem, the answer was right in front of my eyes. It's really neat because Jessica was pushing Oscar because they were classmates at Juilliard. And he literally is this character."
Chandor is also keen to re-team with his Margin Call star Stanley Tucci, and is reportedly courting him for a role in the movie, according to TheWrap.com.
A Most Violent Year will start filming in New York in January (14) and is set to hit theatres in the U.S. in 2015.