Tom Hardy Is Not a Movie Star | Esquire US (May 2014) | By Tom Junod | Photographs by Greg Williams
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how was this movie so good. okay. $300 million. but also.
anne hathaway. asdfahjkl;alw i want her to steal the batpod and ride it everywhere. in heels. and can i have more catwoman backstory, all of the catwoman backstory. can i have story about her and that cute straggly-haired tag-along of hers.
michael caine. oh my god, every single time he showed up, i cried. just. bucket of tears every time. there should be a warning label: michael caine breaks down in this movie. come at your own risk. come with a box of kleenex.
hans zimmer and asdfkla;gds where were the oxygen masks seriously i couldn’t breathe.
joseph gordon-levitt, you got so much screen time I’M SO PROUD OF YOU and you just never ever disappoint. also, robin storyline ftw. done so well.
wally pfister and christopher nolan and gary oldman and burn gorman and morgan freeman and marion cotillard adslfa;jwasfakljasdf she was so brilliant.
asd;fkj;awiofaed; i knew you would blow my mind. i knew you would inhabit bane like a second skin. i knew your weird mangled thing of an accent was possibly going to steal the entire movie. but i just WASN’T PREPARED AT ALL. TOM HARDY, HOW DO YOU DO THAT WITH YOUR EYES. WITH YOUR VOICE. EVERY TWITCH EVERY SWAGGER. YOU EMBODIED BANE SO COMPLETELY I COULDN’T FIND YOU IN THERE AT ALL. THE BRUTAL DOMINANCE, THE SUBTLE TERRIFYING MENACE. SOBSOBSOB. THERE IS NO QUESTION IN MY MIND THAT YOU ARE THE BEST ACTOR I HAVE EVER WATCHED ON SCREEN.
/horrific feels-induced ranting. and now to hie my emotionally wrecked self off to bed to recover.
The entire interview with Little White Lies just has me enamored with this man all over again. How is he real? His inanity, his gravitas, his deflections, his honesty, his sensitivity, his fearlessness, his acceptance of himself - he’s impossible to piece together. Jesus, that entire account of him reacting with such visceral pain and anger to the photographs romanticizing death - remember that foreword he wrote for Tim Palen’s Men of Warrior photography book, that rant on photographers and the superficiality of their “art?” How he hated them. He would rather throw himself out the window than suffer a pretentious photoshoot:
The whole ordeal makes me want to puke up my innards and drive a nail through them and jump through the window from the fifteenth floor of the meatpacking district studio we’re in, to feel alive for the few seconds it takes me to hit the ground.
Here’s a man who finds the average photoshoot claustrophobic. Confronted with page upon page of images of glamorized death must have felt suffocating. Infuriating.
LWLies offers some context, explaining that the photographs represent each subject’s chosen fantasy death scenario – that it’s just art. Silence. Then the seemingly innocuous but near fatal question slips out: what would your scene be?
Tom’s reaction is incredibly painful to read.
In one swift motion Hardy drops the mag and spins a full 90 degrees. We’re now inches apart. Nose-to-nose. As if the elongated S-shaped sofa we’re sharing has coiled violently, forcing us to invade each other’s personal space. “I really don’t appreciate you asking me a question like that,” Hardy growls. His fierce, penetrating eyes are fixed in an unblinking stare. “Have you ever had a near-death experience?” he asks.
"I’m speaking from experiential hindsight and I can tell you it’s not something to be taken lightly. If you want to talk to me about death you’ve got to come from that place. It’s like asking someone, ‘How many people have you killed?’ You understand what I’m saying?"
All the places he’s been, all the people he’s known - so much resonates beneath this portrait of him. It’s him, yes, but it’s also everything he’s seen and done and known. It’s that fateful night that became his turning point, when he faced those three choices (recovery, insanity, death); it’s the men and women he met during his fight to recover; it’s the people he continues to meet in his charity work, the everyday heroes who inspire him; it’s the people he tries to help, the ones who know addiction as fully as and sometimes even more than he does; it’s the courage and the discipline he saw in the military and in those who knowingly sacrifice their lives for something larger than themselves; it’s Stuart and the destitute on the street who have so much more to offer but seldom, so seldom, the opportunity; it’s his friend who was too sick to come back but taught him how to laugh in the face of hopelessness; it’s the miracle that is his son and the soul-deep certainty for the first time that the choice he made all those years ago was worth it.
I don’t really know Tom Hardy or what specifically triggered his response to the insensitive question. But insofar as a celebrity can be known, through interviews and Q&As and media appearances, through the projects he chooses and the events he attends and the charities he invests his efforts in, I think it’s safe to say that Tom has experienced death, understands death, and it’s because of that that he demands the topic be taken seriously.
The huge emotional and physical strain Hardy has endured over the course of his career, coupled with the slim margin of actors that make it to the top of the pile, makes his current ascendance all the more improbable. In truth, his entire journey has been against the odds.
It’s no surprise that I teared up. How does he exist? How did he happen? How did we come to know of this extraordinary man?
Some days, I just want to laugh at the ridiculous things that come out his mouth. Some days, I just want to sit and salivate over his perfect features. And some days, I think about who he is, where he came from, where he’s going, and everything about him is an inspiration.
I can’t get work done because there’s always another irresistible picture of Mr E. Tom Hardy. With his outback beard and injured pinky and remembrance bracelets and recycled shirt and all those crazyass tattoos underneath. Being his warm and funny self, totally committed to to the moment, unfailingly positive. We flail over his looks but it is his character.
Alright, back to regularly scheduled programming. Guh
:DDDD So much yes. There’s all this crazy packaging, but when you peel it all away, you realize, he’s just this slow, steady burn of energy and positivism, so incredibly in touch with himself and the world around him.
From a Swedish paper (!), some words from Tom Hardy on Tomas Alfredson and more (translation by me):
A greeting from hard man Hardy to the director Tomas Alfredson:
“Promise you’ll go back to Sweden and ask Tomas Alfredson to call me. I want to work with him again. I want to be a part of Tomas’ family”, Tom Hardy says and laughs.
If you think that movie stars always look like they do on the red carpet, with all the flashes going off, it’s a (nice) exception to meet Hollywood’s new favourite Brit. Tom Hardy, 34, wears tattered jeans, tattoos spilling out from his green t-shirt and then that enormous beard, but it is there for a reason.
“It’s for a part. And there’s a woman I’m playing against”, he says and points to a photo of Charlize Theron on the wall.Tom Hardy is filming Mad Max in George Miller’s new version, but is in Cannes with the Palme d’Or nominate Lawless, a brutal story of three bootlegging brothers in the US during the depression. Hardy plays the apparently emotionless middle brother Forrest.
“I had a cigar and a hat and muscles, but that was because I was preparing for Batman at the same time.
“The tough guy isn’t tough at all, it’s a man covering for the loss of his mother. Nobody ever cared about Forrest”, Tom Hardy says.His career started with Band of Brothers and Black Hawk Down, but lately he’s become a favourite for the bad guy, in for example Inception and Warrior. During this interview in Cannes, he’s far from a brute, laughing, jumping into the photo, being silly. When his Lawless colleague Guy Pearce says he chooses parts because of characters, scripts and director, Hardy shouts. “Money! There has to be a lot of zeroes.”
I ask what Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy meant to him and Tom Hardy answers immediately.
“I love to talk about Tomas Alfredson! He’s amazing, does his own thing. He’s one of the loveliest men I’ve met, he’s an artist. He’s someone I’ll try to work with again”, Hardy says then corrects himself. “FOR, I want to work FOR him! I hope to work WITH him too, when I grow up.”
I love how Tom approaches every occasion and every opportunity as a chance to continue growing up, how vocal he is about his own immaturity and desire to learn. Once you stop acknowledging that there’s still room for growth and change, you stop opening yourself to new experiences, you grind to a halt and merely go around in circles in the limited world you’ve constructed for yourself. Tom’s 34 right now with horizons stretching out before him, so of course it makes sense that this is his mindset. Doesn’t make it any less inspiring. I hope, another thirty-four years down the line, he’ll still be equally enthusiastic about new projects to be worked on and new people to meet.
Tom: “Whatever floats your boat, just don’t get caught.”
Gangster film ‘relevant to today’
A new prohibition era gangster film starring Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf has parallels with today because it reflects a time of instability and insecurity, its director said.
John Hillcoat told a packed press conference at the Cannes Film Festival that Lawless, which also stars Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain and Jason Clarke, focuses on a time when serious organised crime began.
“I think we’re in a time of a lot of instability and insecurity,” he said. “There’s a lot of parallels to today with the economic crisis, the political war on drugs.”
He said that at one point the film, which was written and composed by Nick Cave, had a montage that started with what was happening with the Mexican cartels and rewound through the 80s, through heroin and cocaine, and landed on prohibition, where it all started.
Hillcoat added: “That was the start of serious organised crime and it’s been going ever since. I think this sort of feeds into all the things that are going on today.”
The film is based on the true story of the Bondurant Brothers, three bootlegging siblings who made a run for the American Dream in Virginia. It was inspired by true-life stories from author Matt Bondurant’s family in his novel The Wettest County in the World.
Hardy, who plays Forrest, one of the three brothers, said he thought there was a good argument around legalising drugs but did not want to take a particular stand.
“I’m not sure about the drugs and alcohol stance, really. I wouldn’t want to make a political stance.”
He added with a smile: “Whatever floats your boat, just don’t get caught.”
Add: quoted thus in the LA Times:
“As the professional — in retirement,” Hardy began, then paused. “I don’t want to make any political statements. There’s a good argument to say ‘legalize drugs’ and a good argument to say [don’t]…That’s my stand — whatever floats your boat.” Then he added, “Just don’t get caught.”
"As the professional - in retirement… whatever floats your boat. Just don’t get caught."
Oh Tom, I love you so much for this too. I don’t know how to express the depth of my admiration. You sail through this gaping political muddle by not taking a stance, by casually shrugging it off with characteristic charm, not because you don’t consider it important but because your time is better spent on things you can accomplish, in places where you can make a difference. You know that your efforts on this particular battlefield are better spent with institutions like the Prince’s Trust and not by standing on a borrowed soapbox. <3
tom on working with gary — three times [ALL]
(this beard ain’t fallin’ off)
"I think he’s basically God."
In front of Gary himself.
And the rest of the world.
Tom, Tom, I wish I had half your balls.
(Not in that way, although I wouldn’t mind that either.)
Then, when I finally meet you one day, I’d be ballsy enough to fall to my knees in prayer, my Tom Hardy Book of Worship laid out before me, from the Genesis of an obsession to the Revelation of a devout believer, and though I should never be worthy enough to be in Your presence, much less look upon Your face, I could at least, at last, consecrate myself at Your altar.
"I wanted to establish myself as someone you would take notice of. I’m not a natural comedian, nor am I a Hugh Grant white-collar type. I fall into the category of being good at slightly dysfunctional, erratic personality disorders and I thought, ‘If I can change my body to meet that, do a variety of accents and hit a few people on screen, then maybe people might take me seriously.’"
- Tom Hardy, candid and ingenuous and dangerously forthcoming, in an interview with Matt Mueller, Radio Times | 17 September 2011.
So many colorful and classic quotes from that interview of his, but it is his self-awareness that never fails to amaze me.
Image source: the beautiful early peak at the London Pride photoshoot for the Vogue UK issue coming out in June, photographed by Alasdair McClellan, in which Tom’s featured with his dog, Woodstock.
“It’s not as bad as you might think. You just put it on. Work out where you drool goes. That’s it. Mask work is good fun. This one wasn’t painful; there was the stunt mask and there was the up-close one for the sexy glam shots.”
Heading to the set of TDKR in New York (Nov 6, 2011). Not retouched, just with sharpened contrast to better show the marks on his face. Sure, wearing a radiator grill for an entire movie is a cakewalk. Oh Mr Hardy.
Now that you mention it.
But it’s always good fun to him. He likes the hard bits of his job too. The parts where he has to struggle a little, even suffer a little, and prove to the boy inside that he can do this, he can take this little bit of hurt, he gets to be an actor now for God’s sake.
And then of course he’ll play it down and talk about sexy glam shots.
Tom [Hardy] mentioned that the closer he played his character to Chris with voice, with certain things, he was getting more positive affirmation. I’m curious if you experienced any of that or did you feel that this was…because there’s a way of looking at it where all of these characters in the film are layers of Chris.
And so did you notice that at all when you were playing it or were you sort of that wasn’t even in your subconscious?
MURPHY: I didn’t think about that to be honest. That’s an interesting theory. I didn’t think about that, no. And Chris never mentioned it to me. And certainly this is not…Robert Fischer is not a bad impersonation of Christopher Nolan. But it’s an interesting theory. I mean, I guess Tom would be like the action hero James Bond version of Christopher Nolan if you put it like that. But no, I haven’t thought about it. It’s an interesting theory though.
This is amazing and a bit funny and very thought-provoking, as are all things Tom Hardy. Tom’s idea that all the characters are just facets of Nolan had never occurred to me before I read his Inception era interviews. It’s interesting to go back and re-watch the movie, watch his approach to the character of Eames with the knowledge that this is his portrayal of Nolan. There are correlations to the dream world, to the process of film production, to all sorts of different environments.
What delights me about this interview in particular is that Cillian didn’t think of the Inception characters in this fashion at all. He said, “Chris never mentioned it to me.” And that’s completely appropriate because actors take their cues from their directors, right? And probably most people would never consider the fictional characters in a film to be offshoots of the director’s personality. Tom’s mind just sometimes jumps to a wavelength at variance with the rest of the world’s.
And it’s wonderful because so many little things about Tom Hardy are reflected and confirmed here. One, the fanciful but fascinating idea that the characters are all Chris Nolan came from Tom and Tom alone. I’d love to know what Nolan thinks, but I can’t recall him ever mentioning anything about it. Two, Tom probably never discussed this with the rest of the cast, apart from Nolan. Yet, Tom was eager to discuss this with various journalists post-production. There are entire paragraphs of interviews where he rambles on about it. There are different ways to interpret this of course, but mine is: He knows how to play the game. He knows how to manipulate people. He knows the ins and outs of the industry, the psychology of entertainment itself, and he plays it. It’s how he keeps the attention of his audience; it’s how he makes sure people like him. God, he’s just a natural at that stuff, isn’t he?
But I’ve derailed and am not sure what I’m getting at anymore apart from proving my ability to be a creep. Gah, Tom, the disturbing self-revelations you induce in me.
ETA: It occurs to me that one other thing is confirmed by this account: Tom’s incredible sensitivity to his director.
Tom [Hardy] mentioned that the closer he played his character to Chris with voice, with certain things, he was getting more positive affirmation.
So, there’s this picture of Tom trying out different things, techniques, styles, bouncing them off Nolan and seeing what worked and what didn’t.
And I really need to get off this train of thought because it will without a doubt lead me to BDSM meta.