‘Dark Knight Rises’: Tom Hardy, a Brando for Blu-ray era?

July 12, 2012 | 6:55 a.m.

Tom Hardy on maturation: "Before, I was really eager, but I didn’t do the homework. I had various personalities, disorders. Full of ego and low self-esteem. I still am, but I know it now." (Credit: Getty Images)

Next month's wide release of "Lawless" will give Tom Hardy five feature-film releases since last September. "It's an incredible harvest of work. I'm incredibly lucky…. I like to be other people, not me. And when you're on the red carpet, it's like, 'Here's Tom Hardy.' I don't want to be me. That's why I play other people." (Photo: Hardy at "Lawless" premiere. Credit: Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images)

Tom Hardy: “Every single leading man that's been worth his salt to watch was 30 years of age before they started getting recognition -- apart from James Dean, maybe, who didn't do a lot before he [died at 24]. I don't remember him so much as an actor, more of an image." (Photo: Hardy at Cannes. Credit: Loic Getty Images)

Tom Hardy on his roles: "These characters are difficult to play because I have a very busy head. I have inside voices that I have learned to contain." (Photo: Hardy and Christian Bale as the rat and the bat. Credit: Warner Bros.)

Tom Hardy on an early-career challenge: “My first job was ‘Band of Brothers,’ and my American accent was terrible. I was struggling with it. Then I did 'Black Hawk Down'--it was better then...so I've done American accents before, but you never know what they're going to land like, do you? You will be judged. And quickly.”(Photo: Hardy in HBO's 2001 mini-series "Band of Brothers." Credit: HBO)

Patrick Stewart on Tom Hardy's visit to Starfleet." I knew that Tom was nervous at the beginning. I think this is perhaps the largest screen role that he's had. And it's not just a large role, he has to carry the weight as antagonist in a 'Star Trek' movie; major scenes of dialogue, complex emotions. [But] he's a young man of extraordinary ability and personalty." (Photo: Hardy in "Star Trek: Nemesis." Credit: Sam Emerson / Paramount Pictures)

Tom Hardy on the Bane role: "Chris [Nolan] rings and says, 'I'm not sure if it's your sort of thing because it would mean wearing a mask. How do you feel about wearing a mask as an actor?' How do I feel about wearing a mask? I'd wear a plastic bag over my head for Chris! I'll do anything for him.... I never, ever thought I'd be in 'Batman.'" - (Photo: Hardy as Bane. Credit: Warner Bros)

Tom Hardy on finding characters: "You sit and you dwell and you wait and you read and you think and you meditate. It takes time to think and ponder, and the work is never done because it just continues. It's looking for evidence of things." (Photo: Hardy at "Warrior" premiere in 2011. Credit: Getty Images)

Tom Hardy caused a stir in 2010 when he said he had experimented with gay encounters. "Of course I have. I'm an actor.... I've played with everything and everyone. I love the form and the physicality, but now that I'm in my 30s, it doesn't do it for me. "(Photo from 2002, Credit: Adrees Latif / Reuters)

Shia LeBeouf on Tom Hardy's decisiveness: "He doesn't have five ways of playing it. There's one right way and he does that until the camera fits him. He shows up perfect." (Photo: Jason Clarke, standing, Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf in "Lawless." Credit: The Weinstein Company)

Tom Hardy on gay men: 'I'm done experimenting but there's plenty of stuff in a relationship with another man, especially gay men, that I need in my life. A lot of gay men get my thing for shoes. I have definite feminine qualities and a lot of gay men are incredibly masculine." (Photo: Idris Elba, Gerard Butler and Hardy in "RocknRolla." Credit: Warner Bros.)

"Lawless" director John Hillcoat on Tom Hardy: "He's part of a new wave of acting talent including Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling, and Tom's very much a part of that kind of real rigorous and inspiring acting. … He was itching to play.” (Photo: Hillcoat, second from left, and Tom Hardy at center. Credit: Guillaume Horcajuelo / EPA)

Tom Hardy on Gary Oldman's Oscar nomination: "It's about bloody time. Gary is a genius and a gem and with Meryl Streep argably the greatest actor who ever lived -- ever. As far as I'm concerned, Oscars, whatever ... at the end of the day he's still top dog." (Photo: Oldman and Hardy at "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" premiere. Credit: Dave Hogan / Getty Images Europe)

Tom Hardy on MMA fighting" "It is one of those things that's a bit like the formlessness of jazz, or freestyle, or anything that seems formless. You have to watch an awful lot of it to see what it is, to see the options. It's like watching people play chess, but physically." (Photo: "Warrior" stars Hardy and Joel Edgerton visit Camp Pendleton in 2011. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

Chris Pine on Tom Hardy's fighting prowess. "Could I beat up Tom Hardy? Probably not. He's a mean, tattooed man. Oh look, there he is standing right over there and he's grown a scary beard." (Photo: Hardy, Reese Witherspoon, Pine and McG at "This Means War" premiere. Credit: Associated Press)

Tom Hardy on MMA life: “You look at the bone-breaking brutality of it, the blood side of it, the people who are getting in the ring…. You're trying to solve a mathematical equation as simple and primal as ‘Choke another man out and not be choked.’ It becomes a very Zen place. Very weird.” (Photo: Hardy, left, in "Warrior." Credit: Lionsgate)

Tom Hardy on toughness: “Australians are probably the toughest race in the world and the U.K. aren't. The Scottish are next, aren't they? And then the Irish. Actually, I think it's because we cost less. … Imported actors are probably here because they have a certain amount of credibility but they're not bankable. … They fill a spot in the machine.” (Photo: Hardy in "Warrior." Credit:Chuck Zlotnick / Lionsgate)

Tom Hardy on masculinity: “I'm constantly arguing with my therapist about this, about finding the right balance between a masculine archetype male lead and a thinker, a man who's sensitive and thoughtful and intelligent. That blend isn't common; it hasn't been for the last 10 years. (Photo: Hardy, left, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in "Inception." Credit: Warner Bros.)

Tom Hardy says he veers toward extravagance. "I like shiny things, but all that glitters isn't gold. There's nothing that comes without cost. I've got enough cost in my life. I've got enough risk going on. I'm already crazy enough." (Photo: Hardy in "Inception" Credit: Warner Bros.)

Tom Hardy on research: "I did a character study of [British crime legend] Charles Bronson for four years and I’d been visiting all his friends so I had a slush fund of gangsters – all the hall of fame-type guys, but also those who don’t write books. … They still actively cut people’s feet off, and roll each other up in Asian rugs." (Photo: Hardy in "Bronson." Credit: Magnet Releasing)

Tom Hardy on the darker days of addiction: "I'm 10 years into being aware of my addictions, and in those 10 years my life has gotten fortuitously better and better." (Photo: Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley in "Wuthering Heights." Credit: PBS)

Tom Hardy on his path: "I always wanted to be an actor, be a good son and a good man and everything, and I failed, every step of the way. My mum assumed it would be prison and debt for me. It was only once I got kicked out of drama school ... that I got myself back together." (Photo: Hardy and Shawn Evans in "The Take." Credit: Encore)

"Lawless" costar Guy Pierce on Tom Hardy: "I hate to use the word 'Brando,' but he has more excitement on-screen than any new actors in the last 10 years. There's this body and weight of a boxer, and yet the sensitivity of a butterfly surgeon." (Photo: Hardy in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." Credit: Jack English / Focus Features)

Tom Hardy on self-worth: "When I'm working, I have this discipline and I get meaning from it. It gives me purpose. And then I can turn to my little boy and say, 'Daddy does something. And I do it well. I may not be the best, but I'm the best that I can be. Now eat your ... greens.” (Photo: Hardy and Chris Pine in "This Means War." Credit: Kimberley French / Fox )

Tom Hardy on his career: “A lot of things combined and time, really. Just chipping away -- it was like the overnight success that took 11 years. I'm lucky it took 11 years -- that's relatively fast…. The trick now is to not deluge the market…. I can't do everything, because in three years' time, there would be too much of me.” (Photo:Hardy and Charlotte Riley in "Wuthering Heights." (PBS)

Tom Hardy on Hollywood: "I hate publicists and publicity … [at one premiere] it hit me. This is what movie stars do -- what Shia and these guys do. I felt like a guilty perpetrator because I realized I am also here. So it made me think I must be an actor being celebrated for a hot minute. But it will be gone tomorrow.” (Photo:Hardy and Charlotte Riley at the premiere of "Inception." Credit: Getty Images)

British actor Tom Hardy has been able to dream bigger since he delivered a memorably roguish performance in “Inception” — but that doesn’t mean he’s following the paint-by-numbers career path of mainstream monotony.

Instead, just like his acting idol, Gary Oldman, the 34-year-old Hardy has shown an active interest in roles of submersion and transformation. He’s also presented himself as a mercurial voice whether the topic was violent sports, fame, his struggle with addiction, his acting process or even the sexual experimentations of his younger days You can read about all of that in the PHOTO GALLERY above, which features the actor’s quotes through the years (as well as comments about Hardy that were made by costars and filmmakers). Be sure to click the CAPTIONS ON option so you can take a tour through the vivid life of Hardy.


One of Hardy’s more audacious efforts arrives next week with the opening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” The native Londoner is a newcomer to an ensemble that is led by three Oscar-winners (Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman) and, yes, Oldman himself, who (shockingly) doesn’t have an Academy Award on his mantle. Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Matthew Modine are four other cast additions for the movie that (by all appearances) will be the final Gotham City film from director Christopher Nolan.

Even by Gotham City’s standards, Hardy’s grim character is a frightening sight to behold. The bone-cracking terrorist called Bane doesn’t just exude a gorilla-fist menace; he also has a creepy respirator strapped to his face, which adds a mechanical muffle to his florid speeches. (The odd effect and diction at first made me think of Boris Badenov and the Daleks, but later I thought of it as a mash-up of El Borbah and the Trinidadian pitchman from those old 7-Up commercials).

Since “Inception,” Hardy has appeared in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “Warrior,” “This Means War” and “Lawless” (which competed for the Palme d’Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival but doesn’t open wide until late August). Now comes Gotham City…  and after that? David Yates, the “Harry Potter” director, is planning “Cicero,” a potential trilogy about Al Capone with Hardy taking on a historic name that has been portrayed by the likes of Jason Robards, Ben Gazzara, Rod Steiger and, of course, the untouchable Robert DeNiro.

– Geoff Boucher


Chris Nolan takes Batman to ‘a new place’

‘Dark Knight Rises’: Nolan’s masked ambitions

Dark Knight Rises’ hits the road

Bat flight, Cat fights, Gotham falls

Hans Zimmer explains Christopher Nolan’s secrecy

Anne Hathaway: Catwoman modeled on Hedy Lamarr

Christopher Nolan opens up about Bane choice

Christian Bale says goodbye to Gotham

Nolan on his favorite scene in ‘Dark Knight’

Nolan: Hollywood takes too many shortcuts


13 Responses to ‘Dark Knight Rises’: Tom Hardy, a Brando for Blu-ray era?

  1. :-) says:

    Actually, Marion Cotillard has an Oscar too, for Best Actress in La Vie en Rose.

  2. rjc says:

    I think he is also to be in the next Mad Max movie.

  3. Guest says:

    Does ANYONE care about this crap?

  4. Rita says:

    I loved Tom Hardy as Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights" even more than Lawrence Oliver….he has Brando good looks, his acting is extraordinary and a smooth voice….he should have won an Oscar for his role in "Warriors" and I cannot wait to see more of him….Hollywood wake up – he's definately better than the crop of losers out there.

  5. BooksAboutMovies says:

    Don't female Oscar winners count at the LA Times? That would be Marion Cottilard, winner of a best actress award. Maybe the anti-female bias isn't reserved for the studios.

  6. chanel says:

    If anyone wants to know the true meaning of ''animal magnetism'', just watch Tom Hardy on screen. His screen presence is so off the scale he blows anyone else in the shot right out of the frame. Kaboom! Women WANT him, men want to BE him. What a thrill to finally be able to watch a brilliant actor who is as beautiful to look at as he is talented (a la Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Monty Clift, Steve McQueen, James Dean). And listening to or reading Tom's educated ruminations when he speaks off-camera is the cherry on top…. unlike most of those good looking blockheads who have built Hollywood careers but are dull as f^king dishwater to listen to in interviews.

    I saw Hardy's spell-binding performance as a twisted, out of control gangster in 'The Take' and my vivid imagination is running amok with anticipation of what this phenomenally talented thespian will do when transforming himself into Capone for Cicero.

  7. Oma Plata says:

    I'm shocked his performance in "Bronson" isn't getting a lot metion. He's so magnetic in that movie. I feel it's the best character he's done on the big screen so far

  8. Larryman says:

    Now there's a damn interesting man.

  9. JetfireK says:

    He looks more like Prince William….

  10. xsellers says:

    <<Tom Hardy on toughness: “Australians are probably the toughest race in the world and the U.K. aren't. The Scottish are next, aren't they? >>

    Someone needs to tell him England and the UK are not the same thing ……Scotland is part of the UK

  11. Cindy Owens says:

    You said, "The odd effect and diction at first made me think of Boris Badenov and the Daleks, but later I thought of it as a mash-up of El Borbah and the Trinidadian pitchman from those old 7-Up commercials." I say it looks more like one of the newly hatched creatures from "Alien".
    In any case, Hardy first caught MY attention when he portrayed Bill Sikes in the British television movie (or series) "Oliver Twist. Chilling performance. Great cast in the newest Batman film!

  12. justsum1 says:

    Toms blown every1 in his current few hits and they’l keep cumin, ppl just gta give him a chance, we did and nw we love him

  13. Debbie says:

    I saw Lawless twice. I agree, Hardy has a raw magnetism that Hollywood hasn't seen in a long, long time. His performance in "Bronson" was spectacular. In Dark Knight, I didn't know it was Hardy, but the character was very very scary and grusome. I'd say the guy is very, very hot!!! Jason Clarke was excellent as well_

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