Profile: Tom Hardy is Bane in The Dark Knight Rises
With his breakthrough performance as “Eames” in Christopher Nolan 2010 science fiction thriller, Inception (2010), English actor Tom Hardy has been brought to the attention of mainstream audiences worldwide. But the versatile actor has been steadily working on both stage and screen since his television debut in the 2001 miniseries “Band of Brothers” (2001). After being cast in the WWII drama, Hardy left his studies at the prestigious Drama Centre in London and was subsequently cast in Ridley Scott Black Hawk Down (2001) and as the villain “Shinzon” in 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).
As an only child to a writer father, Edward, and an artist mother, Anne, Hardy won a modeling competition when he was 19, but he spent his teens and early twenties battling delinquency, alcoholism and drug addiction. After completing his work on “Nemesis”, he sought treatment and has also admitted that his battles with addiction ended his five-year marriage. Returning to work in 2003, Hardy was awarded the Evening Standard Most Promising Newcomer Award for his theatre performances in the productions of “In Arabia We’d All Be Kings” and “Blood”.
During the next five years, Hardy worked consistently in film, television and theatre, playing parts as varied as “Robert Dudley” in the BBC’s “The Virgin Queen” (2005), “Bill Sikes” in “Oliver Twist” (2007), and starring in “The Man of Mode” at the National Theatre. In 2006, Hardy created Shotgun, an underground theatre company along with director Robert Delamere, and directed a play, for the company penned by his father, called “Blue on Blue”.
In 2007, Hardy received a best actor BAFTA nomination for his touching performance as “Stuart Shorter” in the BBC adaptation of ‘Alexander Master’s’ bestselling biography, Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007) (TV). Hardy, hailed for his transformative character acting, was lauded for his emotionally and physically convincing portrayal in the ill-fated and warm-hearted tale of “Shorter”, a homeless and occasionally violent man suffering from addiction and muscular dystrophy.
The following year, he appeared as gay hoodlum “Handsome Bob” in the ‘Guy Ritchie’ film, RocknRolla (2008), but it would be his next transformation that would prove his extensive range and stun critics. In the film Bronson (2008), Hardy played the notorious Charles Bronson (given name, Michael Peterson), the “most violent prisoner in Britain”. Bald, bulked-up, and outfitted with Bronson’s signature strong-man moustache, Hardy is unrecognizable and gives a harrowing performance that is physically fearless and psychologically unsettling. Director Nicolas Winding Refn breaks down the fourth wall with Hardy retelling his tales directly to viewers as well as performing them outright before an audience of his own imagining. The performance mixes terrifying brutality, vaudevillian showmanship, wry humor, and an alarming amount of commitment, and won Hardy a British Independent Film Award for best actor.
The performance got Hollywood’s attention and, in 2009, Hardy was named one of Variety’s “10 actors to watch”. That year, he continued to garner praise for his starring role in “The Take” (2009), a 4-part adaptation of Martina Coles’ bestselling crime novel, as well as for his performance as “Heathcliff” in a 2009 version of Wuthering Heights (2009) (TV).
Sober since 2003, Hardy has dedicated himself to assisting others who struggle. His theatre company, “Shotgun”, has an outreach program which helps disadvantaged people write their own material for stage and screen. Hardy is also the patron for the charity “Flack”, which is an organization to aid the recovery of the homeless in Cambridge. And, in 2010, Hardy was named an Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust, which helps disadvantaged youth.
In early 2010, he starred in the Brett C. Leonard play, “The Long Red Road”. Written for Hardy and directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, the play was staged at Chicago’s Goodman Theater.
Tom Hardy is literally the face of The Dark Knight Rises viral launch, with “The Fire Rises” hashtag campaign revealing the first official image from the film.
Tom Hardy is also unique among the Christopher Nolan circle and The Dark Knight Rises cast and crew in that he freely acknowledges the secrecy and that he knows nothing beyond what part he’s playing and “with Christopher, even that could change.” Given the preposterous “leaks” of closely-guarded secrets destined for future viral campaigns closer to the film’s opening, leaks from an unattributed “inside source” that are circulating as confirmed fact, it’s refreshing to see someone openly saying that they don’t know rather than making fools of the gullible.
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