Tom Hardy: The 21st Century’s Best Actor

Tom Hardy was born in London, England on Sep 15, 1977 to an artist and a writer. He began his acting career in 2001 with bits part in the final two episodes of HBO’s Band of Brothers (2001) and Black Hawk Down (2001). But soon after he had a major part as the villainous Picard clone Shizon in Star Trek: Nemesis (2002),. His next project took him to 14th century England for a supporting role in The Reckoning. For the next five years he also found work on the London stage, eventually founding an underground theater company and directing a work written by his father. Alternating between Hollywood and London, Tom was cast in another World War II drama, the BBC’s Colditz (2005), co-starring Homeland’s Damian Lewis.

2006 saw Tom Hardy in two costumers, in England he was Earl of Leicester in a mini-series of The Virgin Queen, but he once again faded into the background in Sophia Coppola’s rather contemporary telling of Marie Antoinette. Next up was a shot at British comedy in one of the Scenes of a Sexual Nature. His first big success on the telly was the lead role in Stuart: A Life Backward (2007), playing a homeless alcoholic with muscular dystrophy. This time his co-star was Benedict Cummerbatch. Another period piece followed, a very handsome BBC mini-series of Oliver Twist, with Hardy well cast as bad guy Bill Sikes, again opposite Sophie Okonedo, with whom he previously had a scene of a sexual nature.

Warrior

Rocknrolla in 2008 gave Tom a supporting role as gay Handsome Bob among a crew of London lowlifes.  It  was followed by another career highlight as Bronson, all cock and balls testosterone as Michael Peterson, the man who robbed a post office, eventually leading to 30 years in solitary confinement that evolved into his alter ego, Bronson.  Still in England in 2009 Hardy went back to the classics as the brooding Heathcliffe in a tv adaptation of Wuthering Heights, eventually marrying his co-star Charlotte Riley on July 4, 2014.

With a knack for choosing intriguing projects, Hardy began to distinguish himself in Hollywood with Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010) opposite one of his main competitors as actor of the century, Leonardo DiCaprio.  Working with his acting idol Gary Oldman was his reason for choosing a small but important role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). Then Hardy displayed skills as a Pittsburgh ex-marine competing against his younger brother for a huge prize in Mixed Martial Arts in Warrior (2011), believable in the action scenes with his cinematic brother, Australian Joel Edgerton and the dramatic scenes with this father, Nick Nolte. Demonstrating he does not have the Midas touch, a lame Hollywood comedy followed, This Means War (2012).

Returning to darker characters, 2012 also saw the release of Lawless and The Dark Knight Rises.  Tom Hardy fits well in Australian Nick Cave’s story of Depression era bootleggers in Franklin County, Virginia. Just a month later saw the American premiere of The Dark Knight Rises where Tom is working again with Christopher Nolan, but here he is unrecognizable as one of Hollywood’s great villains, Bane.

Hardy made only one feature in 2013, but it is perhaps his greatest acting achievement to date.  He is definitely recognizable as Locke, being the only character on screen for the entire movie – a very risky gimmick.  Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a thoughtful, middle class London family man en route to Birmingham to do the right thing.  The entire film is the 90 minute journey in his car, with the drama coming from the dozen or so callers Hardy speaks with on his cell phone.  Credit for the success of Locke goes not only to Hardy, but writer director Steven Knight, and cameraman Haris Zambarloukas for keeping the car trip visually and dramatically interesting.  In 2013, Hardy also returned to the British mini-series with a role in Peaky Blinders, the story of an English gangster family not unlike the American Sopranos.  Hardy can be seen in the first season as the Shylock-like money lender Alfie Solomons.

The Drop is Hardy’s first of two Hollywood films for 2014, and another quality project with another challenge for Hardy as a sad Brooklyn bartender caught up in the aftermath of a robbery.  Again he is surrounded by a first rate cast, including James Gandolfini, Swedish/Spanish beauty Noomi Rapace, and Belgian Matthias Schoenaerts, all convincing as Brooklynites.  Credit once again must also go to Hardy’s cameraman, Nicolas Karakatsansis, for not once resorting to the digital cliché of half shadows on all faces from all angles, especially with many scenes taking place at night and in a bar.  In The Drop, the actors are allowed to act with their entire face.  Unfortunately he followed it up with a rare mis-step, not in the quality of his performance as a Russian police detective in Child 44, but in the weak direction and bad cinematography that overplays the half shadow cliche, making the film’s atrmosphere dark, depressing, and without a trace of humor or lightness.

In 2015 he had his most productive year yet, starting with a summer meg-hit, Mad Max: Fury Road and finishing with a masterpiece, The Revenant written and directed by the acclaimed director Alejandro G. Iñárritu. Both producions earned  Academy Award nominations as Best Picture, and The Revenant gave Hardy his first nomination as an actor.  So what is left for the versatile actor to accomplish at the age of 38? In the musical genre, he has only an aborted Elton John biopic. In 2016 he is much in demand, reprising the title role of Max Rockatnasky in George Miller’s newest chapter, Mad Max: The Wasteland,again co-starring South African Charlize Theron as Furiosa, and there’s another featured role in a British mini-series, Taboo.

Quotes:

“I’m a bit of a nosy busy-body. I like to know what people are really up to.”

“I love people. People are lovely creatures. I’m one too, so I like to see people happy”

“I’m not star struck, but Gary Oldman just took the wind right out of me. Gary Oldman is my hero. This is a man that I’ve stolen everything that I’ve done from, like Bronson and Stuart, that’s me trying to emulate what Gary’s done. To work with him makes me feel like I don’t have any characters of my own.”

“Story telling is very important to people. It comforts us, cheers us up, unites us.  We need to be entertained to connect.”

“I don’t feel very manly. I’m a petite little bourgeois boy from London. I don’t fight. I mimic.”

“When you go to drama school, no one gives a class on fame. Just treat people how you want to be treated.”

By |2018-06-14T01:35:28+00:00March 20th, 2018|Features, People|0 Comments