Image by Tim Cornbill - Flickr: Tom Hardy at Locke Premiere Birmingham.
If you haven't already heard of Tom Hardy, you are missing out on a truly eye-opening experience. He has been acting for a very long time now, with roles dating back to 2001, when he appeared in Band of Brothers as John Janovec, but Hollywood has only recently started paying attention to this amazingly versatile and talented actor, with the recent release of Mad Max: Fury Road.
Hollywood calls him a "hard man", taking on physically challenging roles that pushes him to the very limits of his endurance and strength. He has changed his appearance so many times over the years that it is astounding to think that Bane from The Dark Knight Rises is the same man who played Eames in Inception. But it isn't the physical transformation that fascinates when it comes to Tom Hardy; it is the depth of his emotional and mental immersion into his role that makes him the perfect chameleon.
Here are 10 Tom Hardy roles you must check out the next time you have a movie marathon, in order of year of release. Please note that some of the trailers contain violence, and adult themes, so view at your own discretion.
This movie is about a real estate scam that catches the attention of London's most notorious underworld figures and criminals. Tom Hardy's character, Handsome Bob, is part of a gang of petty criminals, known as the Wild Bunch, and they work to steal money from a Russian mobster. It's funny, a little violent, and also stars Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, Mark Strong, Tom Wilkinson, and Thandie Newton.
Bronson Year: 2008 Role(s): Charles Bronson / Michael Peterson
Tom Hardy stuns in this dark-humoured biopic about the UK's most notorious and violent prisoner, Michael Peterson, and his alter ego Charles Bronson. The movie follows Bronson from his initial seven-year sentence as a young man for robbing a post office, through the next three decades in solitary confinement. His Charles Bronson personality begins to take over his mind, and delivers harsh criticisms of the entertainment industry on centre stage.
Wuthering Heights is the story of vengeance and obsession, based on the classic novel by Emily Brontë. This 2009 remake is only two parts, and stars Tom Hardy as the foundling Heathcliff, who is driven to seek vengeance when the woman he loves, Cathy (played by Charlotte Riley), marries another man. This becomes a twisted obsession, and highlights how destructive jealousy is, and its effect on the individual and society.
Inception is a heist film, where the goods are secrets, and the theft occurs in the target's dreams. Tom Hardy's character Eames is a forger, one who can shapeshift into another person within the dream in order to coax the target into revealing their secrets. He is recruited into the team by Dominick Cobb, played by Leonardo Di Caprio, as they use this dreamsharing technology to perform "inception" — planting an idea into their target's mind, rather than taking it out. The movie also stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, and Dileep Rao.
This is a film set during the Cold War, starring Gary Oldman as George Smiley, who is forced out of retirement when it becomes clear that there is a Russian spy in the upper levels of the British Intelligence Service. Tom Hardy plays Ricky Tarr, an agent who was thought to have gone rogue after disappearing during a mission, and who first alerts Smiley to the possibility of a mole. The film also stars Mark Strong, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Warrior is a drama centred around mixed martial arts fighting, where two estranged brothers both enter the same MMA competition and have to deal with their broken relationships with their father and each other. Tom Hardy plays the younger brother, Tommy, to Joel Edgerton's Brendan Conlon, an ex-Marine haunted by a secret. He returns to his father, a recovered alcoholic and former coach, to enlist his help to train for the tournament. The movie also stars Nick Nolte, and Jennifer Morrison.
The third film in the Dark Knight trilogy, starring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, or Batman, and Tom Hardy as his nemesis, Bane. Bruce Wayne is forced out of self-imposed exile when guerrilla terrorist Bane rises up and threatens to destroy Gotham city. Unlike the character's previous incarnations, the Bane played by Tom Hardy is less of a pawn and more a villain in his own right, a mastermind with a terrifying brilliance and brute strength to give Christian Bale's Batman a run for his money. The movie also stars Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, and Marion Cotillard.
The following year, Tom Hardy took on a solo film in a literal sense. Locke is an intense, emotional experience. In the span of one night, and one single car journey, Ivan Locke loses everything he has worked for in his life because of one single decision. This film is set entirely within Locke's car, and the only actor to appear in the film is Tom Hardy; every other character is a voice on speakerphone. Tom Hardy carries this film with his powerful performance, and because there is no one else on screen, your experience of his character's mental and emotional journey is focused and unrelenting.
This is a film set in Brooklyn's criminal underworld, following Hardy's character Bob Saginowski, who works at a bar that helps funnel cash to local gangs. He is caught in the middle of a robbery where the money is stolen, and embroiled in the subsequent investigation, which brings to light even darker secrets. This is the final film appearance by the late James Gandolfini, and also stars Noomi Rapace.
Mad Max: Fury Road is the latest of Hardy's films to be released so far. It is a post-apocalyptic action film, set in the Australian desert, where two people rise up against a tyrannical cult leader in a bid for freedom and restoration of order to a broken world. Tom Hardy plays Max Rockatansky, a role originated by Mel Gibson in the original Mad Max movies, and Charlize Theron stars alongside him as Imperator Furiosa, a rebel war leader.
Legend Year: 2015
Role(s): Ronald Kray / Reginald Kray
This film is due to come out later this year, but the trailer already promises a fantastic experience. It follows the story of the Kray twins, Ronald and Reginald, two gangsters who terrorised London in the 50s and 60s. Tom Hardy plays both twins, from the rise of their careers until their downfall, and also stars Emily Browning, Colin Morgan, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, and Taron Egerton.