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September 15, 2012

Men We Love: Tom Hardy

This year has really seen Tom Hardy, 35, explore the gamut of Hollywood by appearing in a range of differing genre films. Starting with This Means War, a high-tech, action-oriented rom-com that also stars Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine; then continuing to the thunderous summer blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises; and later in the historical gangster piece Lawless. Tom Hardy has proven himself to be a formidable entity on the acting scene, one whose sex appeal is equally matched by his dramatic chops. Hardy has made people take notice of his career and be interested in what he does next.

Born in Hammersmith, London, Hardy comes from a family of creatives, as his mother was a painter and his father was a writer. After getting his start in two war-themed pieces, the Steven Spielberg/Tom Hanks-produced HBO mini-series Band of Brothers (2001) and the Ridley Scott-helmed Black Hawk Down (2001), Hardy upped his notice by appearing as a supporting player in a couple of high-profile British comic crime pics like Layer Cake (2004) and RocknRolla (2008). However, it wasn’t until his breakthrough role in the anarchically brilliant Bronson (2008) that people began to recognize the monstrous acting force that Hardy really is. Matching a raw physicality with a scary charisma and potent wit, Hardy’s role as Bronson brought to mind a veritable mix of Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange (1971) and Edward Norton in American History X (1998).

Hardy put his towering frame to good use in later roles in Warrior (2011) and in The Dark Knight Rises as the villainous Bane. One of the more remarkable aspects of his performance in the final Chris Nolan Batman film is that Hardy is able to make an impression with his character while the specter of Heath Ledger’s Joker haunts the outer ridges of the frame. As an actor, Hardy balances these aggressive action pics with less flashy performances in more cerebral fare like Inception (2010) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). It’s this balance and these smart choices in roles that will keep Tom Hardy relevant and grant him longevity in his career.

posted by: Morgan Goldin
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