With his charming good looks and bad boy persona, Tom Hardy has become one of the leading actors of his generation. First garnering our attention in his breakthrough role in Christopher Nolan’s 'Inception', he's followed up with a slew of hit films that have made him one of the world’s most acclaimed performers of the 2000s.
Tom Hardy is the only child born to Anne Hardy and Edward ‘Chips’ Hardy. His mother, a painter and artist alongside his father, a comedy writer and novelist, raised him in East Sheen, London. He was, by all accounts, a precocious child that tested and challenged everything around him. Hardy studied at Tower House School, then Reeds School, and then Duff Miller Sixth Form College. After discovering an affinity for acting, Hardy later studied at Richmond Drama School, and then followed up at the Drama Centre London. In 1998, after studying for a time, Hardy got a minor break in The Big Breakfast’s ‘Find Me a Supermodel’ competition at the tender age of 21 and then subsequently signed a modeling contract with Models One. In 1998, Hardy left Drama Centre London after winning a role as US Army Private John Janovec in the HBO/BBC miniseries Band of Brothers.
Hardy made his big screen debut in acclaimed director Ridley Scott’s epic war thriller Black Hawk Down in 2001. In 2003, he was featured in the film ‘dot the i, the following it up with Simon: An English Legionnaire, traveling to North Africa to film the movie about the French Foreign Legion. That same year, Hardy appeared in the international movie Star Trek: Nemesis as Reman Praetor Shinzon, playing a clone of USS Enterprise Captain Jean-Luc Picard. After wrapping the movie, he returned to his native England to appear in the feature film LD 50 Lethal Dose.
In 2003, Hardy received the London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer for his acclaimed performance in Blood and In Arabia We’d All Be Kings at the Royal Court Theatre and Hampstead Theatre. Hardy was nominated in 2004 for the Laurence Olivier Award for Most Promising Newcomer of 2003 in a Society of London Theatre Affiliate for his work in the same production and then appeared in 2005 as Robert Dudley, in the BBC production of The Virgin Queen, a mini-series that showed his character Robert Dudley having a platonic, yet romantic, affair throughout the course of her reign during the 16th century. Hardy appeared in another BBC series, Stuart: A Life Backwards, in 2007 as Stuart Shorter, a homeless man abused and possibly left for dead. Up next was the British thriller WΔZ in 2008. Later that year, Hardy appeared in RocknRolla, Guy Ritchie’s gangster movie, playing Handsome Bob, a gay mobster. In 2009, he appeared in the movie Bronson as an English prisoner that falls in love with a childhood friend.
In early 2010, Hardy returned to the theatre in Chicago in the play The Long Red Road at the Goodman Theatre. Written by Brett C. Leonard and directed by acclaimed actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, the play earned Hardy rave reviews as an alcoholic attempting to drink away the pain. In 2010, he reteamed with director Christopher Nolan in the movie Inception, which earned him a BAFTA for Rising Star. He replaced his former classmate Michael Fassbender in the 2011 film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and signed a first look production deal with Warner Bros. Next up was the movie Warrior, which Lionsgate Films released in September 2011, with him starring as Tommy, a man trained by his father to fight against his brother. The film was praised by critics and garnered the young actor even more acclaim. The actor turned to comedy in the 2012 movie This Means War alongside Reese Witherspoon, and then followed it up in 2012 with The Dark Knight Rises, a Christopher Nolan film. After appearing in a music video for Riz Mc in ‘Sour Times’, Hardy starred alongside James Gandolfini in the film The Drop, which was the last feature film made before his death. Hardy next appeared in the BBC series Peaky Blinders portraying Alfie Solomons, the head of a Jewish mob ring.
In 2015, Hardy made five movies: Child 44, a film set in 1950s Russia, portraying a police agent investigating child murders. His next film was the widely praised Mad Max: Fury Road, which grossed over $378 million worldwide, making it the biggest film in the Mad Max franchise. He then portrayed the Kray twins Reggie and Ronnie in the crime epic Legend, which earned him the award for Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards. Hardy then appeared alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, a movie that earned him his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Upcoming projects include Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, Unreasonable Behaviour, and the Al Capone bio-pic Fonzo.
Tom Hardy is considered one of Hollywood’s biggest heartthrobs, ranking #1 on IMDb’s ‘Top Stars’ in 2012 and 2015. In 2013, he ranked #17 on the Empire magazine list of 100 Sexiest Movie Stars. GQ magazine also named him one of the 50 Best Dressed British Men in 2015 for his stylish red carpet appearances. Notoriously shy, Hardy is adamantly opposed to celebrity culture, stating:
“I want to dispel that it’s all about celebrity-ism, I’m f***ing bored of people looking at whose shoes are interesting and what hat is interesting.”
Outspoken, brash, and shockingly honest, Hardy has confessed to experimenting sexually in the past, telling the magazine Attitude some years back:
“I’m an actor, I’ve played with anything and anyone. But I’m not into men sexually. It just doesn’t compute to me now that I’m in my 30s and I’m done experimenting.”
Instead of playing the Hollywood game typical of most stars, Hardy has made the decision to connect with people through his craft and his work as an actor, saying:
“Storytelling is very important to people, it comforts them, unite us, cheers us up, we can affect change with these arts. We need to be entertained to connect.”
In 2010, Hardy was named an ambassador to The Prince’s Trust, a youth charity in the United Kingdom that provides mentorship, support, and advice to young people. In 2012, he was named one of the patrons of Bowel Cancer UK, and in 2014, Hardy appeared at the Olympics when London hosted the event in September 2014, reading the poem ‘Invictus’ with several other entertainers and athletes.
In 1999, Hardy married producer Sarah Ward. Early in his career up until his mid-20s, Hardy battled an addiction to cocaine and alcoholism, finally kicking the habit in 2003. His addictions were the catalyst that ended his marriage to Sarah Ward in 2004. He stated:
“I went entirely off the rails and I’m lucky I didn’t have some terrible accident or end up in prison or dead, because that’s where I was going. Now I know my beast and I know how to manage it. It’s like living with a 400lb orangutan that wants to kill me. It’s much more powerful than me, doesn’t speak the same language and it runs around the darkness of my soul. In a blackout I could end up anywhere, I might wake up somewhere on the other side of London, or in another country or in bed with someone I didn’t know, not knowing how I got there. Bleeding. This was on a daily basis and I was going to work, I didn’t want to appear rock ‘n’ roll, I didn’t want anyone to know I was out of control, but I couldn’t hide it. Eventually, the body gives up, my body told me – I was completely kaput, I was lucky I didn’t get hepatitis or AIDS.”
After the end of his marriage to Ward in 2004, he was involved in a relationship with actress Linda Park from 2003 to 2004, where they lived together and starred in the play Roger and Vanessa in 2004.
Hardy met his girlfriend Rachael Speed in 2005 on the set of The Virgin Queen, who bore him a son in 2008. In 2009, the pair separated after four years together. Later that year, Hardy began a relationship with Charlotte Riley, an actress he met on the set of Wuthering Heights. The two married in July 2014 and in October 2015, their first child together was born.
- Tom Hardy: Rise Of A Legend by James Haydock
Written by: Triston Brewer