What The Hell Is Tom Hardy Doing?

Why is one of the truly exceptional, Brando-ish actors of our time starring in a grimy, gunky period series (BBC One in England, FX stateside) about revenge? Why did he make London Road, which nobody even saw much less got excited about? Why did he star in Child 44, which I found suffocating and could barely stay with to the end? Hardy has a thing about playing creepy or sullen fringe characters — I get that — but why doesn’t he ever play a socially liberal attorney who wears suits or a mild-mannered husband having an affair with the next-door neighbor or at least a guy who shaves? Yes, he has a role in Dunkirk (probably a non-pivotal role, given the big-historical-canvas nature of Chris Nolan’s film), but Hardy just doesn’t seem interested in being a leading man, if only to occasionally prove than he can do that sort of thing as well as anyone else if not better. He keeps insisting on playing half-crazy scuzballs, like that guy he played in The Revenant.

  • Dr. New Jersey

    So he enjoys acting more than being a movie star? The nerve.

    • The smart actor who knows what he’s doing doesn’t just do the one kind of thing that he’s drawn to. He does other things that show his range and expand his palette.

      • Hardcore Henry V

        This is a rather ironic comment, considering you seem to be criticizing his participation in a project you’re not particularly drawn to.

        Actors are odd birds. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that non-performers will never be able to think the way they do, so you might as well stop trying.

      • Gurney Halleck

        No, the “smart” actor takes roles in which he’s INTERESTED in material that he or she believes will be good. Range in an actor is a plus, but the comparison to Wayne above is quite apt and it’s a comparison that also captures an actor like Robert Deniro, who could NEVER do a comedy aside from playing the grimly serious straight man who a more comedic talent plays of off.

  • Fabio Silva

    I think Tom is great (Locke, Bronson, etc) but he annoyed me in The Revenant. There wasn’t much role there, granted, but he still couldn’t make it work.

  • SaulPaul

    He created this tv show with his Dad so I’m sure that’s part of the appeal. He does make some unusual choices. Isn’t he playing Al Capone in a movie for Josh Trank?

  • SJR

    He hopes to do every accent known to human existence.

    Bronson (still his best)
    Locke
    The Drop

    I liked the work he did in Peaky Blinders but since Inception, I’ve kind of wanted more.

    • NephewOfAnarchy

      You know, he’s done so many accents and dialects that I’m pretty sure I don’t even know what his “real” voice sounds like. And I kind of like that!

  • hupto

    “Why doesn’t he ever play a socially liberal attorney who wears suits or a mild-mannered husband having an affair with the next-door neighbor?”

    For the same reason John Wayne never made a musical comedy or Stan Laurel never played a serial killer. As Harry Callahan said, “It’s a wise man who knows his limitations.”

    • Mark Henry Hopper

      Stan Laurel as a serial killer sounds pretty cool IMO.

      • Laurel & Oliver Hardy as a serial-killing team.

        • Paul Marzagalli

          Now I want to go back in time to convince them to make a Burke and Hare film.

    • Agent Zeke Kelso

      Tom Hardy would make a helluva Harry Callahan (or Brannigan!).

  • Geoff

    He’s awesome in The Revenant. But his perfect and memorable performance in Locke shows he needs to stick to being a guy who shaves, as Jeff says.

    • Sumo-Pop

      He had a beard in Locke. Hell, he had neck hair. But okay.

      • Geoff

        Of course. You’re absolutely right and I don’t know what I was thinking. I just remember that character as being very well put together because of how he dealt with the pressure.

        • Hardcore Henry V

          Major takeaway from Locke: dem concrete pours ain’t no joke, yo.

          • Grampappy Amos

            when yer right, yer right. Ask Jimmy Hoffa

  • Mike Jones

    As sad as it sounds it’s a paycheck. That being said FX is known for some of the best shows on TV.

  • Patrick Murtha

    Fiddlesticks. The trailer looks fabulous, and as a project that Hardy created for himself, it should play to his strengths. He also had the good sense to cast the truly fantastic Stephen Graham (they probably discussed playing Al Capone, which Graham of course memorably did on Boardwalk Empire).

    This shapes up as a nice piece of Event Television, and I’m looking forward to it.

  • Bobby Peru

    I thought Kristen Stewart was the HE’s own “Brando-ish” one…

  • Sumo-Pop

    I guess you didn’t see Locke. I bet you haven’t seen Taboo. And no one bats 1000. Seems like you would know this.

  • NephewOfAnarchy

    What is he doing? OWNING. Every time. Locke, Mad Max, Legend, Bronson, The Revenant, The Dark Knight Rises, Lawless, The Drop. I even watched that TV Wuthering Heights he was in and he tore up the screen in full PLAINVIEW mode. IMHO he’s the most magnetic and charismatic leading man out there today precisely because he explores out-there weird and dark shit like this. Anyone who sat through “This means war” knows that that isn’t his forte and is a waste of his and our time (and he apparently swore off doing movies like that ever again).

    This is the same bullshit people say about Leo, waah why can’t he make a “nice” film? Fuck that and go watch a Paul Rudd movie.

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  • Clockwork Taxi

    Because he realizes (as Brando would have had he been a young man today) that the meaty good dramatic roles are on television.

  • DougW

    He works constantly. If he keeps up this pace I’m sure he’ll get around to playing just about every kind of role.

  • MillstreamPigworker

    London Road, btw, is rather f’n brilliant. You are such a Trump.

  • paul_kolas

    Hardy as Henry Higgins in a remake of “My Fair Lady.”

  • Agent Zeke Kelso

    Tom Hardy is the most exciting actor (material, performance, etc.) working right now.

  • Mark

    I wonder if there is an 8-hour cut of Child 44 that would make a great mini-series