‘When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die’ barks Tom Hardy as Bane in the promo for Chris Nolan’s final Batman film, yet had you mentioned the name Tom Hardy to anyone a few years back, many would ask ‘Tom who?’
As with many rising popular actors, Hardy’s filmography is set to become more prolific over the next couple of years, yet to look at his back catalogue of work it becomes apparent that he has been around for some time. Initially starting his career in bit parts, he first came to our screens in 2001 as Pfc. John Janovec in two episodes of Band of Brothers. That same year also saw him as Spc. Lance Twombly in Black Hawk Down, yet it was in 2002 that Hardy starred in what should have been his breakthrough role, as Preator Shinzon, Jean-Luc Picard’s clone in Star Trek Nemesis. However, both a commercial and critical mauling put both the Star Trek franchise and Hardy’s career in limbo.
That’s not to say he was out of work, just that Nemesis wasn’t the calling card it should have been. What it did show, however, was that Hardy, regardless of the material, was an actor to look out for.
After a number of supporting roles in the likes of Rocknrolla and Layer Cake, Hardy was eventually given the title role of Bronson, a biography of the notorious prisoner. Demonstrating his cocky bravura and an ability to fully embody a character (he put on three stone in muscle for the role), it brought Hardy worldwide recognition despite the film’s middling reception from critics.
It could be easy to say that, much like other past up-and-comers (Orlando Bloom, Colin Farrell, Keira Knightly), Hardy’s recent prominence is nothing other than a brief flash in the pan. This would be unkind as he has demonstrated not only a knack for picking interesting and varied projects (character piece Warrior and this year’s McG vehicle This Means War being good examples), but a natural ability to act, stealing Inception from under Leonardo DiCaprio and convincingly playing Tinker, Tailor’s Ricky Tarr as a broken agent.
With his role as Bane in the final Christopher Nolan Batman effort set to propel him into the stratosphere, it’s a void statement to say he’s made an indelible impression in his brief yet fruitful career. Behind the confident swagger is a genuine talent and a professional attitude to his chosen vocation.
His 2011 BAFTA award for rising star is well earned.