The Evolution of Tom Hardy

British actor Tom Hardy has played Bane, Bronson, Mad Max, and Venom, but his biggest transformation was himself, and it started in the late 1990s.

Tom Hardy was born in London’s Hammersmith district in 1977 to parents who were both deeply involved in the arts. His father Edward was a screenwriter and novelist, while his mother Anne was a well-known painter. But despite his comfortable upbringing, Hardy had a troubled youth. He was kicked out of boarding school for stealing, then spent time in and out of jail for crimes ranging from disorderly conduct to gun possession.

Throughout it all, though, Hardy was always interested in acting. In 1998, at the age of 21, he won a TV contest that nabbed him a short-lived modelling contract. The same year, Hardy enrolled at Drama Centre London, where he studied alongside classmates like Michael Fassbender. But before he could finish his studies, both actors were called up to make their onscreen debuts in Steven Spielberg’s groundbreaking miniseries, “Band of Brothers.”

After “Band of Brothers,” he moved on to another military role in Ridley Scott’s influential action film “Black Hawk Down.” After excelling in ensemble roles, Hardy was ready to take a lead role in 2002’s “Star Trek: Nemesis.” The film was a box office bomb, and even though Hardy’s performance was praised, it nearly killed the “Star Trek” franchise.

Hardy became addicted to crack cocaine and alcohol at a young age, and despite his early success, he continued to fight his demons into his mid-20s. His battles came to a head in 2003, when after a night of bingeing he collapsed in a pool of vomit and blood on a London street. He then checked into treatment soon after, and he’s been clean and sober ever since.

Hardy’s profile continued to rise after portraying a gangster called Handsome Bob in a Guy Ritchie movie called “RocknRolla.” But it was his next role that truly made him a star: “Bronson.” Given his real-life run-ins with the law, Hardy has always excelled at playing criminals, crooks, and lowlifes, which also led director Christopher Nolan to cast him as the suave, smooth-talking forger Eames in his mind-bending 2010 heist film “Inception.” The next year, Hardy got to live out a childhood dream, acting opposite his hero Gary Oldman in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”

In 2015 alone, he starred in five films, most notably “Mad Max: Fury Road,” although compared to Furiosa, the Road Warrior himself was far from the star of the film. Next we’ll see Hardy in a much different kind of costume when he portrays the Lethal Protector Venom in the Spider-Man villain’s first solo movie.

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