The Hollywood heartthrob known as Tom Hardy is set to return to our screens in the new BBC drama Taboo on January 7th, much to the delight of many admirers across the country … especially my obsessed mother! However, it is his exceptional acting talents rather than his rugged charm that has catapulted Tom Hardy to the height of stardom… How exactly though has he become one of the greatest British actors of the present era?
A clear parallel can be drawn between the rough, intimidating characters Hardy has portrayed on screen and his dark past growing up in South West London. Through his adolescence, Hardy became a raging alcoholic, a crack cocaine addict and on the brink of a fourteen-year jail sentence for casually cruising in a Mercedes with a gun. Luckily, he managed to persevere through the struggles of rehab to kick-start his successful career in acting.
The first film I had the pleasure of witnessing Hardy’s talents in was Bronson. This crazy biopic on the life of Britain’s most violent prisoner (Charles Bronson) transformed Hardy into a mentally unstable, uncontrollably violent, mountain of a man, on screen. Undoubtedly one of his best performances, Hardy’s raging yet humorous on-screen persona is perfectly suited to the portrayal of Bronson. Interestingly, when Hardy was researching his role, he even visited Bronson in prison with the intention of obtaining the best possible understanding of his character. This was a rare experience as Bronson was not allowed any visitors. However, this meeting allowed Hardy to give his character more emphasis and detail. Not only did Bronson prove Hardy’s dedication towards his roles, it was the catalyst for his rise to prominence, as through this role, he illustrated his limitless acting abilities.
Including appearances in blockbusters such as Inception, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy and Warrior along the way, Hardy’s most notable role came as the unhinged, muzzled villain ‘Bane’ in The Dark Knight Rises. Portraying a highly intimidating figure in the final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy was by far the biggest task of Hardy’s career. His eerie, muffled voice gripped the audience throughout the spectacle and created an unforgettably unique character, perfectly suited to the darkness of the trilogy. Once again, Hardy made the role his own. His commitment to bulk up in order to encompass Bane’s frightening presence is admirable and the ability to use only his eyes and eyebrows to show expression is a rare acting skill that should not be overlooked. Bane is arguably Hardy’s best performance. Understandably, this role rocketed his reputation.
From 2015, Hardy has shone through his performances in the highly popular Mad Max: Fury Road and in Legend, where women were able to drool over two Tom Hardys with his depiction of the Kray twins. In The Revenant, Hardy earned his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
It doesn’t take a film critic to prove that Tom Hardy is reeling out the blockbusters, with him perfecting his role in every one. He has successfully tackled a range of characters, expertly giving them their own individuality and personality. Not one to shy away from a challenging part, his acting speaks for itself and, of course the female attention helps, which explains his deserved celebrity status.