2015 has certainly been the year that has propelled Tom Hardy into movie star status; with the release of five films this year – some not so good (Child 44) and some pretty epic (Mad Max: Fury Road) – he’s most definitely earned his new status and the release of Legend is only going to further cement this.
Since 2001 the London-born actor has made an array of British and American films all with a wide variety of success, since he won the Rising Star Award at the 2010 BAFTAs, Tom Hardy has been gaining international exposure best known for playing dark, sinister characters, mostly villains, in action and sci-fi films.
The actor is consistently being praised by critics for his breath taking and sometimes unsettling transformations especially for films that would prove his wide and dedicated acting range.
As he gets ready for the release of Legend, a film in which he stars as both Ronnie and Reggie Kray in this crime thriller written and directed by Brian Helgeland of L.A Confidential and Mystic River.
The film is based on the book The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins by John Pearson, which deals with the rise and fall of the Kray twins; the relationship that bound them together, and charts their gruesome career to their downfall and imprisonment for life in 1969. Helgeland takes us into the secret history of the 1960s and the extraordinary history of the 1960s and the extraordinary events that secured the infamy of the Kray twins.
In anticipation of the film we look through Tom Hardy’s best movies, it’s an electic mix perfectly showing why he deserves his place amongst the Hollywood A-list.
Mad Max: Fury Road
The reboot of the Mad Max franchise was certainly met with plenty of scepticism, but that all changed when people actually watched the film.
The film lives up to the franchise and that in large part is thanks to Hardy’s stellar performance as the titular character.
Hardy’s Max Rockatansky remains a man of few words – in fact, he spends a good deal of the film with a mask covering his mouth – but alongside co-star Charlize Theron, he grounds the movie’s gonzo outbursts with palpable human emotion. As The Hollywood Reporter put it, “It’s as if Hardy was cast for his brawn, but ultimately used for his soul.”
The Dark Knight Rises
While many struggled to understand a word Hardy said as lead villain ban in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy-ending superhero epic, his presence as the hulking adversary was formidable.
His masterful performance as Bane was controlled, terrifying and made even more impressive since half of his face was obscured by a mask.
His introduction, in a 007-esque first scene, stands out as one of the best sequences in the series. Don’t you agree?
It might not have been a blockbuster hit, but Bronson was still a pivotal role in Hardy’s filmograhpy. The film rests wholly on his riveting performance in the title role as Charles Bronson, penned as the ‘most violent criminal in Britain’.
Hardy gained an astonishing 42 pounds of muscle for the role, but even without all that imposing mass, he commands Bronson through sheer force of acting will. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, Hardy gave a groundbreaking and startling performance as a disturbed and very dark man.
“Hardy chomps down on his once-in-a-career role with stunning ferocity and never lets go,” marveled Gary Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times. “He’s extraordinary.”
Hardy’s marvellously committed performance in Bronson put him on the radar for a number of new fans, but it was his appearance in Christopher Nolan’s Inception the following year that announced his arrival into the blockbuster ranks.
Part of a large ensemble cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ellen Page, Hardy played Eames, a member of the team of “extractors” headed up by DiCaprio’s character whose unique method of identity theft involves burrowing into dreams and impersonating people the dreamer trusts.
Acting alongside heavy weights, Hardy made this role his own, not being over shadowed by other actors who’re as equally as amazing. The film is an inventive thriller, bold, extremely creative, and virtually stunning – challenging, yes. But it only gets better and more unique as years go by.
After his career took off thanks to the overwhelmingly positive reviews, and impressive box office haul, of Inception, Hardy followed up that rather toned-down performance with one that was intensely physical, emotional and heavy in this family drama starring Nick Nolte and Joel Edgerton.
In this film directed by Gavin O’ Connor, Tom Hardy plays Tommy Conlon, an ex-marine who went home and enlists his father, Paddy Conlon (Nolte) a former alcoholic, as his trainer for the biggest winner-takes-all mixed martial arts fight in history.
Given what he had to put his body through and the emotional weight of playing a member of such a fractured family, Hardy at once broke our hearts and then made us wince as he continued to take punches and give them out in this emotional and complex story about beating the odds, family and forgiveness. A movie that seems, on the surface, to be geared towards a niche crowd, Warrior is immensely satisfying and heart-breaking and Hardy was one of the driving forces behind its universal appeal.