With his breakthrough performance as Eames in Christopher Nolan's science fiction thriller Inception (2010), English actor Tom Hardy has been brought to the attention of mainstream audiences worldwide. But the versatile actor has been steadily working on both stage and screen since his television debut in the mini-series "Band of Brothers" (2001). After being cast in the World War II drama, Hardy left his studies at the prestigious Drama Centre in London and was subsequently cast in Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down (2001) and as the villain Shinzon in Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).
Tom was born on September 15, 1977 in Hammersmith, London; his father, Edward, is a writer and Anne, his mother, is an artist. He was brought up in East Sheen, London, and first studied at Reed's School. His education continued at Tower House School, then at Richmond Drama School, and subsequently at the Drama Centre London. After winning a modeling competition at age 21, he had a brief contract with the agency Models One.
Tom spent his teens and early twenties battling delinquency, alcoholism and drug addiction; after completing his work on Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), he sought treatment and has also admitted that his battles with addiction ended his 5-year marriage.
Returning to work in 2003, Hardy was awarded the Evening Standard Most Promising Newcomer Award for his theatre performances in the productions of "In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings" and "Blood". In 2003 Tom also co-starred in the play "The Modernists" with Paul Popplewell, Jesse Spencer and Orlando Wells.
During the next five years, Hardy worked consistently in film, television and theatre, playing parts as varied as Robert Dudley in the BBC's "The Virgin Queen" (2005), Bill Sikes in "Oliver Twist" (2007) and starring in "The Man of Mode" at the National Theatre. On the silver screen, he appeared in the crime thriller Layer Cake (2004) with Daniel Craig, Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (2006), and the romp Scenes of a Sexual Nature (2006).
In 2006, Hardy created "Shotgun", an underground theatre company along with director Robert Delamere, and directed a play, penned by his father for the company, called "Blue on Blue". In 2007, Hardy received a best actor BAFTA nomination for his touching performance as Stuart Shorter in the BBC adaptation of Alexander Masters' bestselling biography Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007) (TV). Hardy, hailed for his transformative character acting, was lauded for his emotionally and physically convincing portrayal in the ill-fated and warmhearted tale of Shorter, a homeless and occasionally violent man suffering from addiction and muscular dystrophy.
The following year, he appeared as gay hoodlum Handsome Bob in the Guy Ritchie film RocknRolla (2008), but it would be his next transformation that would prove his extensive range and stun critics. In the film Bronson (2008), Hardy played the notorious Charles Bronson (given name, Michael Peterson), the "most violent prisoner in Britain". Bald, bulked-up, and outfitted with Bronson's signature strongman mustache, Hardy is unrecognizable and gives a harrowing performance that is physically fearless and psychologically unsettling. Director Nicolas Winding Refn breaks down the fourth wall with Hardy retelling his tales directly to viewers as well as performing them outright before an audience of his own imagining. The performance mixes terrifying brutality, vaudevillian showmanship, wry humor, and an alarming amount of commitment, and won Hardy a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor. The performance got Hollywood's attention and, in 2009, Hardy was named one of Variety's "10 Actors to Watch". That year, he continued to garner praise for his starring role in "The Take" (2009), a four-part adaptation of Martina Cole's bestselling crime novel, as well as for his performance as Heathcliff in a version of Wuthering Heights (2009) (TV).
Recent work includes the aforementioned breakthrough appearance in Inception (2010) alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Ken Watanabe, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard and Ellen Page. The movie was released in July 2010 and became one of top 25 highest grossing films of all time.
Other films include Warrior (2011), opposite Joel Edgerton, the story of two estranged brothers facing the fight of a lifetime from director Gavin O'Connor, and This Means War (2012), directed by McG and co-starring Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine. Tom also starred in the heralded Cold War thriller, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) with Colin Firth and Gary Oldman.
Hardy rejoined Christopher Nolan for The Dark Knight Rises (2012); he played the villain role of Bane opposite Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gary Oldman. Hardy's menacing physique and his character's scrambled, hard-to-distinguish voice became a major discussion point as the film was released.
Outside of performing, Hardy is the patron for the charity "Flack", which is an organization to aid the recovery of the homeless in Cambridge. And, in 2010, Hardy was named an Ambassador for The Prince's Trust, which helps disadvantaged youth. On the recent stage, he starred in the Brett C. Leonard play "The Long Red Road" in early 2010. Written for Hardy and directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, the play was staged at Chicago's Goodman Theater.
Hardy will next be seen as the iconic Mad Max in George Miller's reboot of his Mad Max franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road (2014). He has an outlaw biker story among other projects in development. In 2010, Hardy became engaged to fellow English actress, Charlotte Riley, whom he starred with in "The Take" (2009) and Wuthering Heights (2009) (TV), and is raising a young son, Louis, with ex-girlfriend Rachael Speed.
|Charlotte Riley||(2009 - present)|
|Rachel Speed||(2004 - 2009)|
|Sarah Ward||(1999 - 2004) (divorced)|
Extreme changes of physical appearance
Tom joined Drama Centre London in September 1998 and was taken out early to work on "Band of Brothers" (2001).
He loves to drink coffee, Coke, fizzy water, fruit drinks, Red Bull, and tea.
Has a dog named Max
He was nominated for a 2004 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Most Promising Newcomer of 2003 in a Society of London Theatre Affliate for his performance in "In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings", performed at the Hampstead Theatre.
He was awarded the 2003 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer for his performances in "Blood" and "In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings" performed at the Royal Court Theatre Downstairs and Hampstead Theatre. The same year he had a successful run, co-starring in "The Modernists" with Paul Popplewell, Jesse Spencer and Orlando Wells.
Trained under Sir Anthony Hopkins's former mentor at the London Drama Centre.
His father, Chips Hardy, was the first firefighter in the family to attend a university.
He shares an agent with Ewan McGregor.
Won "The Big Breakfast's Find Me a Supermodel" competition at age 21 in 1998 (and with it a brief contract with Models One).
His son, Louis Thomas Hardy, was born on April 8, 2008, with his long-term girlfriend Rachael Speed.
Has written two television series with Kelly Marcel, both of which have sold to production companies.
One of Variety's Top Ten Actors to watch (2009).
He battled alcoholism and a crack cocaine addiction in his early-to mid-twenties, but has been sober since 2003.
The only actor to play a villain in a Batman film and a Star Trek film.
You don't step on stage to eat, you go there to be eaten.
Whatever character you play, remember they are always doing something. They are not just talking. They are alive; going through a drama in which they will go through some sort of dramatic human experience. Keywords: Alive and Experience. It is your job to make them become so. Anthing you do on stage or film has a direct relation to something you have experienced in one form or another in real life. Use your imagination to exaggerate or lessen that sensation. Then, disguise it in characterization and don't forget to make lots and lots of mistakes, and look like a complete asshole. You'll do fine. - acting tip on a movie or play.
And I like people. I like to know what you're really up to. I'm a bit of a nosey busy body. Why do they do the things they do? Why are they prepared to do the things they do to get what they want? When? Where? Who? - on his nosiness.
I mean there I was. One moment in Wandsworth Police Station on the way to Wormwood Scrubs, looking at 14 years, to this! - on his career.
Thanks for all the wonderful paintings and drawings and writings. I am very honoured to have your support, and love you for the energy and the inspiring work and comments that you bring to the table. - to fans.
The character was like the Prince and the Pauper or more like Greystoke to me. He essentially has not had the same circumstances and experiences. Picard doesn't have the same baggage that Shinzon carries. So, that was more freeing. He is essentially an orphan and an abused child, who becomes an emperor. There were moves that I had to play with, that did not have anything to do with Picard. The whole film is about why they are not similar. So, the relationship had a ground basis to work from. - on Shinzon, his character from "Nemesis.
My action figure is great! It's big and bald. It's very disturbing to look at a toy and see yourself. At the same time, it's very cool. - on his Shinzon action figure.
[When asked by Simon Gage of "Attitude" magazine in a 2008 interview, "Have you ever had sexual relations with men?"] I'm an actor, for fuck's sake. I'm an artist. I've played with anything and anyone. But I'm not into men sexually. I love the form and the physicality but the gay sex bit does nothing for me... To me it just doesn't compute to me now that I'm in my 30s and it doesn't do it for me and I'm done experimenting.
I love people. People are lovely creatures. I'm one myself [so] I love to see people happy.
I'm from East Sheen, I went to public school where I learned Latin at the age of nine, and certain expectations were made of me to go to St Paul's, Oxbridge maybe, and all that kind of thing. And I failed systematically to meet the mark - who I am and what I should have been are two very different things.
[on working with Gary Oldman] Gary Oldman is my hero, that's it. When I went to drama school everybody used to quote him in all his films, you know State of Grace (1990) right through to Léon: The Professional (1994) or whatever. And I'd sit there really quietly and think 'No, no, you don't know. I'm more of a Gary Oldman fan than you are.' [laughs] When you do an impression of him, that's sacrilege! So to work with him, for him to look me in the eye, talk to me.... acknowledge I exist! Cos I'm not star struck by people, but Gary just took the wind right out of me. I'm very lucky we had to re-shoot those scenes on the couch [in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)] because the first task that I did was just me watching him, because I was shocked to actually be working with him. Then for him to actually like me, and to work three times with him - cos we did Lawless (2012) afterwards. I remember saying "Would you look at the script, it's really cool", and he's like "Yeah, sure." This is crazy, you know? This is a man that I've stolen everything that I've done from, like Bronson (2008) and Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007) (TV). That's me trying to emulate what Gary's done, and to work with him makes me feel like I don't have any characters of my own. [laughs]
I want to dispel that it's all about celebrity-ism, I'm fucking bored of people looking at whose shoes are interesting and what hat is interesting. Storytelling is very important to people, it comforts them, unite us, cheers us up, we can affect change with these arts. We need to be entertained to connect.
(On getting sober in 2003) I went entirely off the rails and I'm lucky I didn't have some terrible accident or end up in prison or dead, because that's where I was going. Now I know my beast and I know how to manage it. It's like living with a 400lb orangutan that wants to kill me. It's much more powerful than me, doesn't speak the same language and it runs around the darkness of my soul.
(2010, on quitting drugs and alcohol) I thought I'd have a little bit of a party, and I'd end up high and frightened, in places that scared me. In a blackout I could end up anywhere, I might wake up somewhere on the other side of London, or in another country or in bed with someone I didn't know, not knowing how I got there. Bleeding. This was on a daily basis and I was going to work, I didn't want to appear rock 'n' roll, I didn't want anyone to know I was out of control, but I couldn't hide it. Eventually, the body gives up, my body told me - I was completely kaput, I was lucky I didn't get hepatitis or AIDS.
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