You’ll remember that the first trailers for The Dark Knight Rises polarized fans: Some were drooling over the 2011 IMAX prologue that featured Bane’s henchmen yanking him out of the CIA plane mid-flight, while others were confused as to why we couldn’t understand a damn word Tom Hardy was saying! Once the studio had Hardy redo every single line (that’s dedication!), you probably forgot that initial disappointment—which is why this video is worth watching.
At the time, I wasn’t too jazzed for TDKR, so I don’t think I actually watched the teaser. So it was a surprise for me to hear just how gravelly Hardy sounded, along with the usual complaint that he had a mouthful of marbles. The one downside is that when he re-recorded everything, he did come out sounding rather cartoony and like a weirdly chipper Sean Connery. You can see that here, as the video compares each of Bane’s lines side-by-side. That jauntiness worked later in the movie when Bane was strutting around Ice Age Gotham in his pimp coat; for his first introduction, it certainly sets a jarring standard.
When the complaints first arose, Hardy refused to let it bother him. He told MTV News in February, “I trust [director] Christopher Nolan implicitly. I’m not worried at all about people understanding him mumbling away. But I have seen some brilliant stuff online about [my mumbling] ‘Mmmm … Batman doesn’t beat up retards!,’ which I thought was very funny. I enjoyed that.” Later, at the TDKR premiere, of course there were plenty of questions about his inspiration for Bane. Interestingly, Hardy did not cite Mr. Connery and instead attributed his performance to a man named Bartley Gorman: “He’s the king of the gypsies, and he’s a boxer, a bare-knuckle boxer, an Irish traveler, a gypsy.” But we know what we heard.