Top 10 Facts About Tom Hardy

Top 10 Facts About Tom Hardy

Would you recognize Tom Hardy if you saw him on the street?  Had we asked that question even in 2010 the answer would probably be that you would find his face familiar but be unable to place it; a person vaguely remembered from an encounter sometime in the past.  He had some significant success in the early years of the Century and seemed tipped for greatness until he sabotaged his life and career with drink and drugs.  He looked set to be another ‘almost famous’ actor.  All that changed, however, when he landed what would turn out to be his break out role in Bronson followed by his high profile role in Christopher Nolan’s Inception.  From there on his career has gone from strength to strength with high profile roles such as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises and the eponymous Mad Max. 

A staggering 4 films (plus another in post production) in 2015 make Tom Hardy some of Hollywood’s hottest property.  No longer relegated to just supporting roles he is the handsome British actor we just can’t get enough of.  For all that his face and name are now well known, Tom Hardy himself remains something of an enigma which we thought was worthy of exploration.  With that in mind here is our list of 10 things you really should know about Tom Hardy.

  1. Tom Hardy Is An Only Child And Got His First Break From A Talent Competition

Tom Hardy is an only child.
Tom Hardy is an only child.

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Edward Thomas ‘Tom’ Hardy was born in September 1977 to an artist mother (Anne Barrett) of Irish extraction and a novelist father (Edward Hardy).  His parents never had any other children.  Although he was born in Hammersmith, the family moved to the relentlessly middle class suburb of East Sheen, London where Tom Hardy went to Reeds School, a minor British Public School (equivalent to an expensive, high quality American Prep School).

Tom Hardy was not, however, happy with this comfortable life and spent his early years looking for trouble.  He was expelled from his good school for stealing.

In 1998 Tom Hardy entered, and won, a modeling contest run by the UK TV show The Big Breakfast.  His prize was a contract with the agency, Models One.  He did not, however, choose to pursue a modeling career, choosing instead to pursue acting as his chosen field.  He later studied, at the highly regarded and famously rigorous method acting school, The Drama Centre London (known as the Trauma Centre due to the hard work required of its actors) which he left when he got his big break.  He never finished his studies.

  1. His Career Truly Started in 2001

Tom Hardy starred in Band of Brothers.
Tom Hardy starred in Band of Brothers.

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In 2001, during his studies at The Drama Centre London, Tom Hardy was offered a part in Band of Brothers.  He took the role of Private John Janovec and appeared in two episodes of the now famous ensemble series.

That same year he was offered the part of Twombly in the Hollywood blockbuster Black Hawk Down where he worked alongside big names such as Ewan McGregor and director Ridley Scott.  Although these two characters were of a type and barely gained him any public recognition, they did serve to bring him to the attention of the type of people he would need to cultivate in order to pursue a serious career.  It worked, following this exposure he garnered some roles in low profile films and his career seemed set for big name success when he was cast to play the villain in Star Trek: Nemesis opposite the much loved and very well respected Patrick Stewart.  His performance as the emotionally damaged and unstable clone of Jean-Luc Picard is as fascinating as it is creepy and served to show that he was capable of real depth and versatility as an actor.  That he was something more than just a soldier boy!

After this success he started to show early promise on the stage (see below) before sabotaging his first career with addiction.

  1. Although His Initial Success Was In Hollywood Tom Hardy Returned To His English Roots For Many Years

Tom Hardy works both side of the pond.
Tom Hardy works both side of the pond.

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Tom Hardy’s early successes in Hollywood, including the break out Star Trek: Nemesis meant that he could rely on some good parts.  He returned back to his home in the UK where he had a part in the film LD50 Lethal Dose in which he played an animal rights activist.  He had a few bit parts in TV Mini series such as Colditz and a more meaty role as Robert Dudley in The Virgin Queen.  Around this time he also had a few small roles in films such as Marie Antoinette and Scenes of a Sexual Nature but nothing that lived up to his earlier promise.

By 2007 his career looked to be getting back on track.  One of the TV movies he was involved in during this time, the BBC drama Stuart: A Life Backwards saw Tom Hardy star as a mentally unstable and disabled homeless man who was imprisoned for robbery and later an activist advocating for the rights of the homeless before dying on a train track.  Tom Hardy’s portrayal of this complex yet admirable man (who may have committed suicide) was sufficient to see him nominated for a BAFTA.  Hardy.  Hardy has said that his own battles with addiction helped him to create a believable character.

After working alongside Daniel Craig in Layer Cake in 2004 he became known as an actor who was suitable for gangster movies and he played the gay getaway driver, Handsome Bob, in the acclaimed movie RocknRollaIt was these roles that led him to being cast in Bronson and saw his career move back into the big time once more.

  1. Tom Hardy Is An Accomplished Stage Actor

Tom Hardy is a master of the stage and screen.
Tom Hardy is a master of the stage and screen.

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The Drama Centre London is known for producing extremely talented stage actors and Tom Hardy is no exception to this.  In 2003 he appeared in London’s West End playing the character Skank, a New York crackhead in the London premier of In Arabia We’d All Be Kings.  His performance, noted as a ‘remarkable stage debut’ was so highly acclaimed that he was awarded the Outstanding Newcomer London Evening Standard Theatre Award.  He was also nominated for a prestigious Laurence Olivier Most Promising Newcomer Award, both highly coveted and recognition of his potential given the large number of high quality actors who appear on the London stage.

In Arabia We’d All Be Kings has not been Tom Hardy’s only stage role.  He has also appeared (in London) as Luca in Blood, Dorimant in The Man of Mode and in the US as Sammy in The Long Red Road  in 2010.  Since that time there have been rumors linking him to more stage productions but nothing has, as yet, come to pass.

  1. Tom Hardy Has Been Married Twice And Has Two Children But Slept With Men In His Youth

Tom Hardy with Charlotte Riley.
Tom Hardy with Charlotte Riley.

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In statements that came as no surprise to many people Tom Hardy has said that, in his younger years he enjoyed experimenting and had flings with other men.  He explained it as being a natural part of being an actor although admitted that it was now no longer part of his life

In 1999, at the age of just 22 he married a long time friend, Sarah Ward.  He struggled with addictions during the period of their marriage and they divorced in 2004.  Following the divorce he dated Rachael Speed, a director, whom he met on the set of The Virgin Queen.  They had a child (a son, Louis Thomas Hardy) together in 2008 but broke up in 2009.  Around that time Tom Hardy met his now wife, Charlotte Riley who starred with him in a TV production of Wuthering Heights.  They became engaged in 2010 and married, in France, in 2014.  His second child was born in October 2016 and he claims that he enjoys being a father two his two children and says that fatherhood is something that has ‘given me the kind of goal that makes you think about how you live your life’ although he acknowledges that his Hollywood career gives him less time to spend with his oldest child who lives with his mother in England.

  1. Tom Hardy Is Covered in Tattoos

Tom Hardy has ink.
Tom Hardy has ink.

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It is no understatement to say that Tom Hardy absolutely adores tattoos or beyond reasonability to claim that he is addicted to ink.  To Tom Hardy every single tattoo is a memory of some event or other to commemorate something meaningful in his life.  Tom Hardy claims to suffer from emotional blackouts and that the tattoos help him to remember key feelings and events.

He got his first tattoo in London, age 15 (there is a minimum age of 18 for tattoos in the UK).  He chose a leprechaun to commemorate his mother’s heritage, perhaps in the hope that it would ease her anger.  It was not a success; his mother was extremely upset with him.

Other notable tattoos include a dragon, which he had done in honor of his first wife, Sarah Ward, who was born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon.  He has had to have other tattoos removed or changed, most notably Sarah Ward’s initials which he had covered by an image of a boulder almost immediately after their break up when he was fresh out of rehab.  So insistent was he that the work was done that he had the tattoo artist attend him backstage during his theatre run of In Arabia, We’d Be Kings.

Many of Tom Hardy’s tattoos reference his son with director Rachael Speed.  These include two phrases saying ‘Figlio mio bellisimo’ and ‘Padre Fio’ (my beautiful son and proud father respectively), a star to remind him of when he found out about the pregnancy and a picture of the Madonna holding the boy.

He has a Union Jack on his chest and a large picture of the London skyline on his back.  Over the top of that floats a picture of his second wife, Charlotte Reilly in the form of an angel.  Given the recent happy news of the birth of a second child it is likely that he will have more tattoos planned in the near future.

  1. Tom Hardy First Worked With Christopher Nolan In 2010

Tom Hardy landed a coveted role in Inception, which led to his Batman role!
Tom Hardy landed a coveted role in Inception, which led to his Batman role!

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Tom Hardy was cast to play Eames, a role in Christopher Nolan’s Sci-Fi extravaganza Inception in 2010.  Tom Hardy impressed the notoriously picky and difficult Christopher Nolan so much that it was rumored, shortly after release, that he would be invited to play a part in Batman 3.

The rumors were true and Tom Hardy was invited to play the role of Bane, the masked villain.  He was overwhelmed to be offered the part which was extremely difficult, not least because it required him to be at the peak of physical fitness and to act with a mask over his face.  The film was a massive box office success and Tom Hardy’s Bane proved to be the perfect Batman villain, the man everyone loves to hate.

Are there likely to be more collaborations for the pair in the next few years?  While nothing formal has been released Tom Hardy (who is one of the favorites to replace Daniel Craig in the role) has said that he would love a chance to play James Bond but only if Christopher Nolan could direct the film.  The chance could come sooner than anyone thinks as although Daniel Craig is expected to make at least one more Bond film, statements made by him in advance of the release of Spectre in late 2015 show that he is becoming somewhat jaded with the role and might be looking to bow out sooner rather than later.

  1. Tom Hardy Is A Recovering Alcoholic and Drug Addict

Tom Hardy is in recovery.
Tom Hardy is in recovery.

Tom Hardy’s problems started very young, he was introduced to beer at the age of 13 and things became worse from there.  Following his expulsion from school for theft (see above) he was found, at the tender age of 15, joyriding in a stolen Mercedes and in possession of a gun. The only reason he was not charged was that he was with the son of a diplomat who claimed immunity.

When his career took him to Hollywood he was unprepared and did not know how to handle the sudden limelight.  Just a short while later his hot ticket career seemed to be over when Star Trek: Nemesis flopped.  He turned to alcohol and crack cocaine and went so far off the rails that his marriage failed.  He entered rehab in 2003 following a public collapse on Old Compton Street in Soho, London.

The rehab was successful and Tom Hardy has been completely sober ever since.  He even learned to drive when he found out his girlfriend was expecting their son.  Up until that time he had only ever travelled on public transport as his addictions meant that he could not be trusted behind the wheel.  He is now regularly seen driving his Audi R8 Spyder which he gets for free as part of a coveted endorsement agreement with the luxury car company.

He has never shied away from the question of his addictions and his behavior during that period of his life claiming that he is lucky not to have ended up in an accident, in prison or dead.  His experiences have also allowed him to bring a unique knowledge and depth to some of his roles, most notably the addict Stuart Shorter in Stuart: A Life Backwards.

  1. Tom Hardy Has Been Nominated For More Than 40 Awards and won 8

Tom Hardy is a highly decorated Actor.
Tom Hardy is a highly decorated Actor.

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It is a measure of his quality as an actor that he has received so many nominations in what is a comparatively short career.  In addition to his awards and nominations for his stage work in 2003 (see above) he was also nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor in Star Trek: Nemesis.  With his spiral into addiction and the cessation of his high profile career the awards stopped.

Things started to turn a corner when, in 2008 he was nominated for a British Academy Television Award for Best Actor in Stuart: A Life Backwards.  It was his role as the eponymous Bronson, however, that saw him really return to the big leagues.  An unlikely success Bronson charts the life of notorious British prisoner Charles Bronson.  In addition to receiving praise from Bronson himself Tom Hardy’s portrayal was nominated for four awards of which he won one, The British Independent Film Award For Best Actor.

The following year saw his performance in Inception garner an impressive 7 nominations of which he won two, the BAFTA Rising Star Award and the Scream Award For Breakout Performance – Male.  More nominations followed for his roles in Warrior, The Dark Knight Rises and Locke which won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor.

With recent performances in Child 44 and Mad Max: Fury Road amongst others and more projects in the pipeline it seems likely that we will be hearing of more nominations and awards in the near future.

  1. Tom Hardy Is Very Active On Behalf Of His Chosen Charities

Tom Hardy would rescue this guy.
Tom Hardy would rescue this guy.

Tom Hardy is passionate about and supports a number of causes very close to his heart.    He is a key supporter and fundraiser of the Cambridge based charity FLACK which is a magazine produced by the homeless for sale to the public.  He became involved in this project through his work on Stuart: A Life Backwards as his character had, in real life, been an activist and advocate for the homeless of Cambridge.

Other high profile causes include the Prince’s Trust, a youth charity which works closely to provide mentoring and training to people between 13 and 20 years old who struggle for one reason or another.  Many have been in care others have problems at school or in the workplace and may have had a brush (or more) with the law.  Tom Hardy was drawn to this charity through his own early life experiences and his battled to overcome addiction at a young age.

Together with his wife, Charlotte Riley, Tom Hardy became a patron of Bowel Cancer UK in 2012 and has since then campaigned to raise both funds for research and public awareness of the disease and its symptoms.

He is the proud and loving owner of two rescue dogs which he brought home to London from work in the US, one that he rescued in Atlanta and one in New York.  He has appeared in PETA adverts to promote adoption drives.

His fundraising efforts sometimes tend towards the unorthodox such as the time he agreed to fight heavyweight boxer David Haye in a charity boxing match.

 

Very few people would have ever connected Shinzon with Bronson or Bronson with Bane let alone Stuart Shorter or Twombly.  The fact that Tom Hardy can play all of these characters (and more) is evidence enough that he is one of the very best actors of his generation.

Not only is he an excellent and dedicated actor (and very enjoyable to watch) but he is also an inspirational man.  He not only built himself up from nothing but he did it twice and in the same career.  Following a troubled childhood he made his way to Hollywood only to blow that chance to alcohol and cocaine.  Undeterred he put himself through rehab and rebuilt his career getting a Rising Star Award in 2011 8 years after his first award nomination (Most Promising Newcomer) in 2003.

His second career chance looks to be fulfilling all of the promises of his first attempt but with none of the problems.  Older and more experienced he is grounded with a love for his children and wife and a sense of responsibility to his charities and (so he claims) to other actors who did not get the chance to play the parts he was offered.  If he can keep his career on track this time we can look forward to even greater things from this enigmatic but fascinating man.