It’s almost sweet relief to cover an Oscar nominee who is not chiming in about #OscarsSoWhite. Unfortunately, that Oscar nominee is Tom Hardy, the same dude many of us fell out of love with late last year after he was called out for blatant douchery. Tom is still doing interviews in support of The Revenant (and Legend, I think), and he’s got a recent piece with the Daily Mail. He talks about everything, surprisingly, and I don’t know if it’s just the excited way the Daily Mail has transcribed his quotes (lots of !!!!), but he comes across well here. Some highlights:
Playing bad guys: “Playing the bad guy is a safe way of entering a fantasy world. I’m fascinated by someone who announces, ‘I am going to change the world to suit my needs,’ instead of ‘I am going to change myself to fit better into society.’ It’s quite compelling to watch because we know that, whatever happens up there on the screen, in real life there is no fall-out or harm done. Now, I am an actor, not a criminal! But if I am able to put myself into the shoes of those people, and revel in this as a safe place to learn a little bit about it, then that is extremely interesting to me.”
Violence on screen: “You might be surprised to hear that I feel very healthily indifferent to anything like that, because I do know that it’s pretend! Now, out here in the real world, there are real-life people who do heinous and horrible things. And they’re not just in the gangster world, either. You can go right through society, from commerce, to politics, to shopkeepers, and find them in all walks of life. The bad people out there are terrifying.”
People aren’t frightened of him in real life: “I’m actually fairly contained in my real life. And it’s not like people are frightened of me when they meet me socially. Well, maybe some people can be, but once they’ve broken bread with me and talked to me, they will find out that I’m not really Bane from Batman, if you know what I mean. In fact, I am as frightened of these characters as anyone is, because I have seen them in real life and they really do scare me.”
His “painfully middle class” childhood: “I grew up used to having lots of attention from my mother. There was only one problem. I was a bit of a naughty boy when I was young. No, let me correct that: I was a lot of a naughty boy!”
Acting saved him: “The only thing that saved me through that dark time was acting. I originally got into it because I wanted to make my father proud of me. Because I was an only child, this was very important to me — and there wasn’t very much of anything else that I could do. But acting was something I could do — and because I found that I was good at it, I wanted to make the effort to invest time and effort into doing it. These days, I’m lucky enough to do it for a living; and I love it and I learn from it every day.”
Becoming a father: “I wouldn’t say it saved my life, but it definitely changed my life. That was when the penny dropped that there was no longer very much time for me to think about myself any more — about what I might like to do or who I want to be — because there is somebody now on the planet who really needs me to get my act together and focus on something that is more important than me. And when I go home, I am not Tommy the actor, I am Tommy the dad, largely because my children aren’t allowed to watch any of my films yet. My older son really wants to watch Mad Max, but I’ve told him that he can’t — he’s got to watch the Harry Potter films first!”
I knew most of this stuff already, but then again, I’ve been following his career for years. I knew he came from an affluent, middle-class family and that he fell into drugs and craziness early on. I knew he was an only child – he’s described his need for constant attention before. And while his “naughty boy” description would have been enough to make me swoon a few months ago, nowadays I just think… yeah, you’re a naughty boy all grown up and you became a self-absorbed douchebag.
Photos courtesy of WENN.