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Tu Style magazine, 5 May 2014

Tom Hardy/Interview
BY ㅈ ㅏ몽

I am a (proud) father on a cell phone

On his body full of tattoos, two (dedicated
to his son) are in Italian. “I do not speak [the language] but
it sounds sweeter [in Italian],” he says. Yet he, the protagonist
of a bonecrusher movie, does not feel macho. On the contrary:
in his latest film he performs seated while on a phone

Text Valeria Vignale - photo by Andrew Medichini

“I do not feel strong or manly, as I think that a man should be. I’m just a middle-class Londoner. But certain tough guys that are scary, and who sometimes scare me, too, I know and can imitate well.”

And yes, the 36-year-old Englishman Tom Hardy arrived like a punch into the stomach of Hollywood: noticed in the role of violent and eccentric inmate Bronson, cult movie by Nicolas Winding Refn, was immediately hired to become Bane, the fierce anti-Batman (TDKR) and even Mad Max: Fury Road, which we will see in 2015. But you can tell by the writing tattooed above that there is a sensitive soul in the mass of muscle.

On his torso that looks like a billboard, including images of the Madonna and Mona Lisa, not only is the name of Charlotte (Riley, who he met five years ago on the set of Wuthering Heights), but also phrases dedicated to his son Louis Thomas (6 yrs old) with his ex Rachael Speed.

And to show how many emotional chords the beautiful Tom is able to touch on the screen, here he is venturing into roles that are the exact opposite of a strongman in action. While we wait to see and hear him sing in an Elton John biopic (Rocketman), on 30 April a film that was highly acclaimed at the last Venice film festival was released in theaters: Steven Knight’s Locke, where Hardy plays for once the everyman, but even more messed up. His life is overturned in the time it takes for a car trip, at night, from Birmingham to London.

Everything takes place while he is driving and talking on the phone with his wife, children, colleagues and former lover, trying to save work and relationships from an event-bomb: the unexpected birth of a son, the result of a chance encounter. Hardy does not move or hardly, but knows how to engage with the face and words, and the suspense of a very human story.

After so many action movies, what was it like performing always sitting, just talking on the phone?

“It shows that the actor does not have to "do” but to “think”.
Empathize, empathize with the lives of others. I had dialogues full of tension: the voices of others, on the phone, i fed on emotions even if I could never look [the other actors] in the eyes.“

He had to drive for real?

"The car was mainly transported on a truck, because through the windows could be seen flowing lights and machines like on a real journey, but in some scenes I really drove. And perhaps they are the best.”

He has a beard and looks a little ‘aged’: tricks to make anonymous the Tom Hardy we know?

“What can I say? The look is the last thing I care about: it is at the service of the story.”

When Locke tells his wife of cheating on her just once, in a moment of solitude, she replies: “The difference between 'never’ and 'once’ is like that between good and evil.” Do you agree?

“There is no absolute answer to these moral dilemmas. In theory we could all agree, but the experience will change the vision of all of us. And then Locke does not want to give up the baby, because he has an obsession: to avoid the big mistake that his father made with him.”

Also aims to avoid the mistakes he has seen his parents make?

“Yeah, too bad then there is no way out: maybe you will not do the same, but others, different and unexpected. Life, for me, lies in how you (are?) constrained by family destiny, by certain mechanisms that are inherited. But whether you are looking to follow the same path or escape it, it is the journey itself that gives the final direction.”

Two tattoos are dedicated to his son, Louis Thomas: “Proud Father” and “My beautiful son”, written in Italian. Why Italian?

“So they sound much more sweet, though I do not speak your language. "My beautiful son” [in English] is rougher, no? (Does a big gruff voice. And moves his t-shirt to show a lettering below the neck, ed.) French also has a nice sound; in fact I even tattooed “Sans Souci,” no worries.“

Among his passions is Africa: he made a documentary on poaching, "Poaching Wars”, for a British TV network. Battle for animal rights?

“I am pleased to lend a helping hand to nonprofit organizations that are fighting against the hunting and trafficking of animals, from Siberia to Vietnam. And making documentaries is my way of knowing the world and knocking off from the assembly line of film.”

Did having a writer father and a painter mother influence the ambition to become an artist yourself?

“Having a creative family has supported me in my career, but it was certainly not the initial spring: I came to this profession from a path of despair that could have taken me to jail more easily than onto a stage! (He has had problems with drugs and alcohol, ed.) I learned to channel my fears: I have been sooo lucky.”

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