Today, Tom Hardy is accepted as one of the very few heavyweights of modern Hollywood. Working with some of the greatest directors and actors in the history of cinema, Hardy has established himself as a leading man capable of smashing box office records the world over. However, it hasn’t always been this way.
Hardy, born and raised in southwest London, was immediately drawn to the arts. His mother was a painter, his father a novelist and with Gary Oldman a hero he’d idolised since childhood, Hardy always harboured dreams of making it in the movie business. However, with a constant battle against Dysthymia, also known as persistent depressive disorder, Hardy’s life was almost derailed before it even got going.
While attempting to push through a crowd of hopefuls during his formative years at drama school, Hardy would turn to alcohol – and later crack cocaine – as a method of dealing with Dysthymia. The substance abuse would significantly hamper his personal life, leading him down dark paths of uncertainty, questioning his ability to focus on the dream of acting.
Having managed to battle against his personal issues, Hardy would work on two small projects that would help establish a platform for his career to come. With modelling work providing an income on the side, Hardy would be handed his big break very early in his efforts, securing a role in the high profile science-fiction film Star Trek: Nemesis: “I think I had only been working nine months when I got ‘Star Trek,’ and it was huge,” he once commented. “It was very overwhelming. So that opened my eyes a bit at an early age, kind of how not be frightened when walking into a responsibility of something like that.”
From Star Trek, Hardy’s popularity would snowball, appearing in Layer Cake, RocknRolla, Inception and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy alongside his idol Gary Oldman. “It’s funny in that because it is acting, and playing pretend, but I didn’t see myself being synonymous with these tough-guy roles,” he once said of his work. “That’s not really me. I love acting. There was Bane, Warrior, Bronson, and now the Krays. I’m just surprised to be working, mate. Whatever gets me through the door.”
When discussing his style in more detail, Hardy added: “There’s two types of acting: convincing and not convincing. People describe me as intense. It’s because I care. I am a pain in the ass because I care. Do I know what I’m doing? No. Do I have the best of intentions? Yes. Does that lead to hell? Sometimes.”
In order for Hardy to establish his own approach to acting, he delved deep into the history of cinema, pulling inspiration from countless sources. When drawn into a conversation about his favourite films as part of a discussion about the movies that shaped him, Hardy responded: “Platoon. I just think the end is really classy,” Hardy once commented. “I just thought it was a really beautifully put together film,” he added.
Hardy, who himself starred in a brilliant war film in the shape of Christoper Nolan’s 2017 effort Dunkirk, was enamoured by the diverse characters featured in Oliver Stones’ epic. “And Platoon has got — with the exception unfortunately of Charlie Sheen, everybody else in it is dope,” Hardy added. “Every actor and every character that I need as an English guy [is there]. You know what I mean? Every accent, class, creed, colour, and religion is in there for me, so it’s a study book. It was something that had a taste across America [from] working class to upper class. It just had everything in it.
Hardy concluded: “Plus, it’s the ’60s and ’70s, and it was a conscript Army, so it was an Everyman film.”