English actor Tom Hardy is famous for his performances in brilliant films like Mad Max: Fury Road, Inception and The Revenant, winning an Academy Award nomination for the latter. Apart from his prolific acting career, Hardy is an active philanthropist and is an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust. In 2018, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his contribution to the performing arts.
Born in London, Hardy studied at Richmond Drama School and the Drama Centre London. While talking about his early influences, the actor cited Gary Oldman as his acting “hero”. Hardy admitted that he mirrored scenes from Oldman’s works when he was at drama school.
While the actor had two small projects to get his career moving, Hardy would be handed his big break almost immediately with 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 that moment on, Hardy didn’t look back. Working with some of the biggest names in the business, the actor has forged a career built on his vividly intense portrayals of characters and has done so all while forcing himself into a new direction. “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. “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, 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.” He delivers the perfect reflection of this devotion in his double role for Legend.
Brian Helgeland’s Legend had Hardy in a dual role, playing identical twins Reggie and Ron Kray: two crime lords who dominated the London underworld in the 1960s. While the film received mixed to negative reviews, Hardy received the British Independent Film Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the Kray twins.
The actor spoke highly about his experience with Helgeland’s project, “It was a good challenge. I really enjoyed it. [Director] Brian Helgeland’s awesome, and everyone in it is awesome. It’s a really cool project.”
He also explained, “The two characters, they were pretty easy to slip between. The complicated part was to make an audience believe it wasn’t one performer doing both parts.”
The iconic roles have gone down as part of Hardy’s growing lexicon of film. He may have taken on one of the most deadly chalices in cinema, but he delivered one of the finest performances of his growing career — two-fold.