Tom Hardy: My misspent, crackie youth “doesn’t make me some crusader or badass”


Tom Hardy is featured in the latest issue of Dazed & Confused. The photos were taken before his unfortunate head-shaving incident, which he did for the Bane character in The Dark Knight Rises. As we’ve discussed before, Tom looks much, much better with hair. Without hair, he turns into a nondescript meathead, a budget Vin Diesel-type. Anyway, since the photos are kind of meh (I’m not feeling anything for Tom lately, though), I wasn’t even going to write about this. But then I read the interview – he’s really funny! He’s funny in that specific way English people are funny – like, he’s self-effacing and he has a great turn of phrase, and he’s not a Gwyneth-style humble-bragger. He’s really trying to convince us that he’s not a badass. Here are some highlights from the Dazed & Confused piece:

Tom on her career, post-Bronson: Hardy has been the “go-to guy for nutters”, as he puts it. He’s climbed into the minds of a kaleidoscopic criminal underworld of misfits, gangsters (there are rumours he is soon to play a young Al Capone) and psychopaths with chameleonic ease. In real life, happily, he’s not half as psychotic as his onscreen personas. ”Since Bronson I’ve had a lot of lumps to play,” the 33-year-old says today. “I’ve ended up doing a lot of fighting, which is not really my thing at all! But I know what frightens me, and I use that.”

On The Dark Knight Rises: This being Nolan, the script is locked up as securely as Charlie Bronson, and the ending currently only exists in the director’s mind. “Sorry, it wouldn’t be worth my life,” the ordinarily candid actor shrugs in response to questions about the film. Just one picture has been released of Hardy, rippled back to the camera, as Gotham City’s venom-addicted ‘Bane’ – born and raised in prison, and famous in the DC comics for breaking Batman’s back.

Hardy on his trainer: Hardy has pumped-up with the help of his trainer “P-nut”, the Bronx-born former Marine who has assisted the actor’s extraordinary physical metamorphoses since Bronson. “We decide what I want to look like,” Hardy explains, “and then he helps me get there. He’s my nanny, my best friend, my ‘manpanion’. And he also does a great rock ballad.”

Working on Warrior: Damage included cracked ribs, a broken toe and a torn ligament in his wrist. It’s not exactly a surprise, when asked what he looks for in a script, that Hardy says “a challenge”. “Well, it always seems like a good idea until you’re twelve weeks in, on a diet of chicken and broccoli, and you think, ‘F–king hell, what am I doing?!’” he says. Doesn’t he ever long for a nice rom-com? “Doing a rom-com would be a lot scarier,” he laughs.

Hardy on his childhood: You don’t meet many cage-fighters or industrial spies in leafy East Sheen, London, where Hardy grew up. But the only child of a comedy-writer father and artist mother had energy to burn and a “head like a disco ball”. and he managed to discover the wilder edges of net-curtained suburbia. “It was very privileged, and there was a certain amount of free reign,” he says. “You know, ‘he’s just expressing himself’. A reasonable degree of intelligence and curiosity, combined with hormones and testosterone, and you’re going to have trouble. I just ran riot really. And that carried on into my adult life, when the toys were no longer Buzz Lightyear, you’re dealing with everything from drugs to theft…” he pauses, “It becomes a different playground, and that darkness creeps in. Idle thumbs, isn’t it? Typical suburban story for many.”

Hardy’s misspent youth: The not-so-typical story that everyone likes to quote about Hardy, is that he was arrested aged 15 joyriding in a stolen Mercedes and in possession of a gun, he might have faced 14 years behind bars. Expelled from his public school, alcoholism and crack addiction followed in his late teens and early 20s. Hardy has always been wryly honest about the depths of the abyss he toppled into, whether it was lying in a pool of vomit on Old Compton Street with a crack pipe in his hand, or missing a Hollywood meeting with John Woo because he woke up somewhere in downtown LA, naked, next to a guy, a cat and a gun with its safety off.

His childhood wasn’t THAT dark: “East Sheen wasn’t exactly the Bronx. I was only pottering around suburbia being a twat. That doesn’t make me some crusader or badass. I think what labels it as dark is that one is capable of going to a place that is willful,” he pauses. “Finding some kind of elation from doing something that’s naughty. As you get older those options become more abundant. You could just as soon choose to knit or get really good at Sudoku… or you could get into the ins and outs of how to wash up crack, or how to strip a Browning 9mm, or how to find and purchase one in the city of London. Because you’re interested, because it’s a bit dodgy and nobody else is doing it. Probably it was attention-seeking, really, at the end of the day. It’s taken me a while to get all of those tools into the right arena.”

Reactionary: “I’ve always been a bit reactionary around authority. Normally that petulance would come out when I had failed to achieve something. And my reaction would be, ‘Well, why am I listening to you anyway?’ Very teenager.”

Early roles: He won roles in Stephen Spielberg’s Band of Brothers and Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down (he persuaded Scott to let him do his own stunts, including setting himself on fire). Then a “star-vehicle” arrived, in the shape of the schizoid alien villain in Star Trek: Nemesis. Through no fault of Hardy’s, it flopped. “I ended up in hospital just after it came out,” he explained later. “I broke down physically, spiritually, mentally.”

[From Dazed & Confused via ONTD]

When Tom talks about his sketchy past with such honesty, he reminds me a bit of Russell Brand – two Englishmen who with debauched youths, who found sobriety and purpose and career success. Plus, I just love this quote: “I was only pottering around suburbia being a twat. That doesn’t make me some crusader or badass.” Okay, I’m back in love with him a little bit.



Photos courtesy of Dazed and Confused.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

15 Responses to “Tom Hardy: My misspent, crackie youth “doesn’t make me some crusader or badass””

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. tori says:

    even though he looks super gross for the dark knight movie and I hate when he’s overly beefy, this guy has it. Star quality and masculinity and a little edge to him that is hard to find in most hollywood boys. And I love him even more for just admitting he’s a suburban kid who willingly effed up, thank you.

  2. tori says:

    ps: I wonder what happened with his fiancee though. they always looked so happy and he always looked so attentive with her. and then when they broke up, he missed the BAFTAS when he won the rising star award thingy….

  3. kimmy says:

    given the chances, i can easily see this guy’s star rising. i just hope he doesn’t get type-casted into the beefed up roles or turn into Vin Diesel 2.0. he can to period pieces, crazy, action, comedy, and probably even a rom-com w/ those big ol’ lips he’s got!

  4. tapioca says:

    Fear ye not Kimmy, he’s in the new Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy movie with – deep breath – Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Ciaran Hinds, John Hurt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong AND Toby Jones. A cast like that I would happily pay to watch them watch paint dry!

  5. Harley says:

    I’ll be honest-until he was cast as Bane in TDKR I had never ever heard of him. When I heard he was cast, my first response was, “who?” lol

    That said, I like his honesty about his sketchy-ish past. And he’s cuter than I thought-the pics of him as Bane that I’ve seen of him on comic book web sites do not bring the heat like the ones above…

  6. Jules says:

    He could wake up next to me naked with my cats anytime! Yummy…….

  7. Fran says:

    I saw him last month around Kew Gardens in London with his kid. He was totally adorable…and hot!

  8. Kelly says:

    Geez Louise, he is hot! I rarely have big crushes on actors, but this guy just makes me drool. I’ve watched the BBC version of Wuthering Heights (with his then-fiancee) too many times to mention, just to see his tortured romantic obsession thing. Wish someone (who looks like Tom Hardy) felt that way about me, LOL.

  9. Cherry Rose says:

    God, he’s so hot. I really hope that his star is on the rise. He’s a really good actor, and is pretty down to earth.

    Glad he stopped associating with Lindsay Lohan. She would have just dragged him down.

  10. bluhare says:

    Not really about Hardy (LOVE him; loved his Heathcliff), but it says he had free reign. Shouldn’t that be free rein? Reign is obviously a king’s period of being on the throne. Reins are what you use to control horses. So doesn’t it make more sense it be free rein (ie no controls) than free reign?

    Puzzledly yours,
    A former English Major

  11. Yinn says:

    @tori @kelly
    Charlotte Riley is STILL his girlfriend and fianceé!

    THard is going to be all over the place very soon. Coming out are Warrior (with Joel Edgerton), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (with mentioned above FABULOUS cast), The Wettest County in the World (with Shia LaBeouf and, again, Gary Oldman), This means war (with Chris Pine & Reese Witherspoon) and last, but not least, The dark knight rises …

    my guess? No-one is going to ask “who?” ever again.

  12. Ashley says:

    I didn’t care for Bronson all that much (but that was due to the character himself, and not Hardy). In fact, I rather liked him in Inception, and he played one badass Heathcliff. That’s still my favorite version of Wuthering Heights.

  13. Sue says:

    Love me some Hardy. A hot man and an amazing actor. Very Brando. He’s getting amazing reviews on his acting in upcoming Warrior. This guy can act his arse off.

  14. Pam Bailey says:

    So, he has a past. Who doesn’t? Maybe it’s his past that enables him to be the person he is today, and the actor that he is. He’s brilliant actually, and I think that he’ll go far. Yes, he’s “hot” as they say her in the US, but you can tell by his skills that he’s very serious about acting, and not doing it for glam. I like that. It’s very refreshing. It’s about time we have an actor who is real. You go Tom!

  15. rainstarr says:

    I actually watched Star Trek: Nemesis 3 times, the last 2 on rental just to watch Hardy’s scenes! His character was so strong, so engaging, so tortured that when the movie switched to the regular cast (including the captain) they, and any of their goals, seemed very un-interesting! His gravely voice and his accent, using those incredible lips . . . *sigh* . . .