By now, Tom Hardy is quite well-known for his ability to transform himself physically for a role. He’s especially good at bulking up. Next year’s “The Dark Knight Rises” where he plays hulking villain Bane would be the third time. Before he shot that, he made “Warrior” and the part required him to get into the best physical shape of his life — even more so than for Bane.
Askmen’s John Scott Lewinski spoke to Hardy recently about his preparation for the film, where he plays brutish Mixed Martial Arts fighter Tommy Conlon. The 33-year-old British actor expressed a deep respect for the MMA profession, in spite of the feeling not being mutual with one particular pro fighter…
John Scott Lewinski: The intensity of the fight scenes in “Warrior” are what make them very graphic and cutting edge. What brought that special energy to the scenes?
Tom Hardy: The sibling rivalry fuels this story — the themes of estrangement and abandonment. Due to that rivalry and the depth of those feelings between the two brothers, they’re fighting for their survival. They come from such a place of separation that it’s almost as if they’re not really brothers. That’s the tragedy of the story.
JSL: How intense was your fight training for “Warrior”?
TH: Excruciating training, but that’s what you sign on for, so no complaining. There was also a very stringent diet, which was perhaps the most difficult part because the lack of carbohydrates can make you a little crazy. And you can’t really lose your temper in a gym full of professional fighters while you’re training because there’s nowhere to go with that anger. You need to grow up and go have a rice cake or something.
JSL: Did those professional fighters give you a hard time?
TH: No. There was no hazing. In fact, all of the professionals were very generous and wanted to share with us the sport they had given their lives to, so we didn’t get this story wrong… with the exception of one, who I won’t name. He broke my rib. And, he was the quietest one of the group. More often, I felt the pressure to get it right for them. You’re working with such finely conditioned athletes — such powerful men — it’s like working with a horse. You can get hurt or make a mistake so easily because of the strength involved with these men.
JSL: So, rather than worry about getting hurt, you worried about hurting them?
TH: When you’re working with a professional fighter, and you have to put on a shoulder lock or something, and if you mess that up, you could end that man’s career. They were so generous and so helpful teaching me their sport and their own histories, I felt that sense of responsibility to make sure I got everything right.
JSL: You’re brutal in “Warrior”. You’ll stay brutal as Bane. Are all of these physical roles transforming you into a legitimate badass?
TH: No. I’m not. It’s not something I enjoy — to mix it up or engage in that kind of thing. I think I have these parts because of whatever I can bring to the parts as an actor, not because I’m tough.
As for “Dark Knight Rises”, it’ll be incredible. But there’s nothing more I can say about it.
“Warrior” premieres 22nd September in Malaysia.