I saw Lawless this morning, and as you might’ve guessed, Tom Hardy was the best part of this intense Western about three Prohibition-era bootlegger brothers. You’ll hear more on the performance itself from me later in the week; right now, I want to talk about this interview that Tom did with Flicks and Bits, which further cements my respect for the guy.
It’s no secret that I already admire him for anonymously commenting back at internet haters. But hearing him talk so candidly about working with A-list stars is fascinating, especially because he comes across as so damn humble! I didn’t even quote his fanboying over co-star Gary Oldman – with whom he’s worked on Lawless, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and The Dark Knight Rises all in the past year — because I didn’t want to copy-and-paste the entire interview. But he also is realistic when talking about collaborating with Jessica Chastain and Shia LaBeouf, with whom he shares the most scenes:
“Every single one of those people and those artists have incredible sensibility, ability, talent and discipline. Each person was obviously different, and the combination of that kind of ensemble was electric and exciting. It was without ego… I mean, not completely without ego, we’ve all got ego because you need it to carve your way through certain situations—it’s actually imperative that you have it. But everyone distinctively put their ego down and was like, ‘OK, how can we join forces to create something that is clearly fabulous?’ [laughs] You were surrounded by quality and humility, and that sounds really cliché, by genuinely it was a working set.”
While Tom’s character Forrest is the most reticent of the three bootlegger brothers and will fill most scenes just with grunts and mumbles, he still had to master an American accent. Witness the British actor be adorably self-deprecating about his accent work:
“I’ve only ever done two American accents really, and a couple of not so good ones. So I’m still a bit nervous about the American accent. But this one is so specific, and such a strong colour that there’s a little bit more mask work to be done for me. So it’s a little bit easier to hide behind an accent like this. Which was not necessarily an accent but more of a personality and a character. So I didn’t feel like I was doing… it was funny, it felt like more of a voice that came from a centre than an accent. And it was the same with Warrior, I had a very similar monocephalic, central character to come from. So I wasn’t so caught up with dialect—as soon as that happens I panic and… I’m not Australian in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy for a reason. It wasn’t a choice. [laughs] That’s not true, I chose to be British. [laughs] But my accent work isn’t always amazing.”
Interesting that he uses the phrase “mask work” to talk about this very recognizable Western twang, since we of course associate “mask” with his role of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Tom was of course a champ in rerecording all of his lines after they were indecipherable; and even though at times he came across as surprisingly cheesy, in the same scene his lines came out chilling. You get a similar effect in Lawless, where he has the movie’s deepest lines but also its most heartfelt moments of comedic timing.
And yet, Tom will not take all the credit for these fine performances! It’s almost frustrating, but mostly just admirable.
P.S. Yes, he is wearing a Gotham City Rogues T-shirt, likely swiped from the Dark Knight Rises set, in London. Rock on, man.
Photo: Will Alexander/WENN.com