Tom loves Christian and it was “a fucking breath of fresh air to work with somebody like that.” And “I just pull faces and wear tights for a living, do you know what I mean? I’m not a fighter [laughs].”
Tom Hardy Talks Bane
The Dark Knight Rises? Not if this guy has any say in it. / Empire online
Tom Hardy has become one of the hottest stars in Hollywood over the last few years, thanks to his no holds barred turn in Bronson and eyecatching role in Christopher Nolan’s Inception. No wonder, then, that Nolan turned to the actor when it came to casting Bane: there aren’t many in Hollywood who can convince as a muscular juggernaut and a mastermind at the same time. We spoke to Hardy about taking on the role - but be warned! The following contains a major Warrior spoiler!
You have a lot of very physical scenes in this movie. How is it doing those with that costume and mask on?
It’s uncomfortable because your body’s really restricted. It takes a while to get the sweat on and get loose and fit. It’s heavy and it’s tight and the costumers need it to look good and solid. So it looks great when it’s tight but it’s not practical to move it, and you need a couple of hours of moving about before the suit will then move with you. Then the costumer will come in and tuck bits and tweak bits so it looks great, but then it’s all functional and you start sweating. Then you get drenched with sweat on the inside and it creates another layer between me and the costume, so that’s when it gets comfortable, funnily enough. A bit like when you have a scab and you pick off the scab. It’s like ripping off a plaster; it’s like that sort of… freedom. But the first couple of hours is a bit of a pain in the arse. Going for a pee is really a pain in the arse.
You got zips and undershorts, underarmour - body armour - under that. It’s all a bit of a faff. Forget about taking a shit, that’s not happening. [laughs].
Is that why Bane’s so angry?
Oh yes, fucking retentive. Totally. Miserable.
How easy is it to breathe through the mask?
Um, it’s more psychosomatic. If I panic then it’s not easy and if I’m chilled then it’s fine. It’s got plenty of room to breathe but if I’m a bit panicky doing something, or a bit too high up or whatever, then I’m going to, you know, gasp a bit more. But once again I get used to the mask, I’m happy in it.
How would you define the fight style? Obviously you did Warrior before this… immediately before?
I did Inception after Warrior, then a play, The Long Red Road, with Philip Seymour Hoffman in Chicago. Then Tinker Tailor, This Means War, then The Wettest County [now titled Lawless], then this. Warrior took a year to edit. Took a long time to edit.
So - the fighting style. How is it different to Warrior?
It is brutal and military. It’s more military in many ways. MMA [Mixed Martial Arts] is very athletic. It’s an athlete’s sport. And you’ve got your Krav Maga and whatnot from Bourne, the Bourne world. Very tight movement, very contained but aimed to kill. To kill, do you know what I mean? And maim. Then you’ve got the Keysi lot that Batman does I suppose, which is a lot of elbow business. But Bane is brutal. It’s not about fighting. It’s about just carnage with Bane. Which is different to [Warrior’s] Tommy Conlon, who is in the eye of the storm when he’s fighting. He has peace of mind. Until he meets his brother and then it’s all out of the window. He loses the fight because it implodes on him, you know? Whereas Bane’s not that. Bane’s a superhero villain. So that’s what the violence is there to imply, and the style is heavy handed, heavy footed.
Does it bother you that Bane’s not so well known by the broader public? Obviously the comic-book fans will…
…They’ll go mental for it, yeah. I think one has to be aware that when you get involved in the Batman family, Batman is owned by so many of the fans already. Everybody has a right to an opinion, and some of the opinions on Batman are very hardcore [laughs] about how it should be done. Now for somebody like me who’s a small, small part of a huge vehicle, who has been asked to play a character who has great importance to a world which I’ve been largely incubated to, there’s a certain pressure that comes with that. I respect this is how you want to see your villain, or this is what you think this villain is, and granted, this is what this villain looks like. It’s comic books. But I’m also working for Chris Nolan. So I am going to have to trust my director as well to go and deliver the Bane that we’re about to deliver together, and I’m standing shoulder to shoulder with a man who I trust and who I’ve worked with before and who also has also brought a tremendous amount to the Dark Knight and the Batman franchise which people have loved. And they’re big, heavy-hitting movies. So my trust and faith is in Chris Nolan, do you know what I mean?
How is it working with Christian Bale?
I love Christian. He’s brilliant. He’s really good fun. And it’s like, he’s a really serious actor, he takes the work very seriously, but not himself very seriously. He’s a very funny, witty man, very smart. He’s a brilliant character actor, and not at all alpha male in the way that there’s not enough limelight for everybody to shine around him. So he’s not greedy. He has a tremendous humility as a performer. It’s a fucking breath of fresh air to work with somebody like that. And it’s very physical.
Because that is the advantage of Bane as a villain…
This is the fight film.
You get to beat him up.
Well, it goes both ways. We beat each other up; we beat the shit out of each other. And he’s a big lad, Christian. He’s not messing around. I just pull faces and wear tights for a living, do you know what I mean? I’m not a fighter [laughs]. I give him all I’ve got and I’m like, Yeah! Then he gets up and goes, [does spot-on Bale impression] “That was really good” [claps hands]. And I’m like, “That was all I’ve got” [laughs]. He’s tougher than I am. In real life.
Interview by Dan Jolin