Yet another interview with Tom Hardy from Cannes. He doesn’t like the furniture… *g*
Consider Heath Ledger’s Joker. If you conduct a Twitter hash tag search using the phrase #reallytoughacttofollow, by rights Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight should come up first.
Now, even though no one’s seen it yet, consider Tom Hardy’s Bane. This is the actor, portraying the ragingly violent adversary featured in The Dark Knight Rises (opening July 20), who finds himself in the unenviable position of following Ledger’s posthumous Oscar-winning act.
The 34-year-old Hardy is everywhere at the moment, which takes the heat off following a really tough act. Like Michael Fassbender, who was two years ahead of Hardy at the same London drama school, Hardy’s an actor of considerable stage training and an already impressive range of screen credits, most recently Warrior and, less comfortably (the script was crud), the romantic comedy This Means War.
At this particular moment within his overall career moment, Hardy’s trying to get comfortable on a surreally low-slung couch in a banquet room in a hotel (the Martinez) located on the Croisette, the seaside boulevard that transforms each May into a study in elegant traffic congestion during the Cannes Film Festival. Hardy’s in Cannes with Lawless one of eight English-language main competition titles (out of 22) vying for the Palme d’Or.
“Sorry, I seem to be sitting here rather louchely,” Hardy says, doing his best to negotiate a position of repose without sliding onto the floor straight off the hotel’s stylish but uncomfortable settee. All the furniture in Cannes works this way, I say.
“Yes, but then, everybody in Cannes is stylish and uncomfortable,” Hardy counters, grinning.
The Prohibition-era drama opens Aug. 31 in America under the Weinstein Company banner, and stars Shia LeBeouf as the real-life Jack Bondurant, junior member of a tight-knit rural Virginia clan that held its own against rival bootleggers and various lawmen until alcohol was once again legalized. LeBeouf may top the billing and narrate the heavily romanticized story in director John Hillcoat’s movie, but Hardy anchors and dominates the cast as Jack’s older brother, Forrest, a fearsome wielder of brass knuckles and a man who often grunts, bear-like, in a witty actor’s flourish, when words fail him.
Hardy, whose last stage appearance came in early 2010 in “The Long Red Road” Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, says that his main concern in “Lawless” was not making his character a lout of pure violence, nor a “second-rate Clint Eastwood.” Animals were his building blocks, he says. Forrest is a bit of a bear, a dinosaur and, he says rather perversely, Tweety Bird from the Warner Bros. cartoons.
Like so many projects in Hollywood, “Lawless” languished a long while before coming to fruition and earning a prestigious Cannes competition slot. (Rumors abounded this week as to why; one had Harvey Weinstein, the man who took The King’s Speech and The Artist all the way to best-picture Oscars, strategically murmuring about the possibility of “Lawless” bowing at the Venice film festival, in order to get Cannes to bite. Which they did. On the other hand, maybe Cannes festival head Thierry Fremaux like its brand of pulp Americana.)
Hillcoat, the Australian filmmaker whose previous picture was The Road, rehearsed his “Lawless” actors on the set in Georgia, a process Hardy enjoys. Screenwriter and composer Nick Cave based his script on the memoir “The Wettest County in the World” by Matt Bondurant. At a “Lawless” press conference in Cannes, Cage noted, sardonically, that he was attracted to the story’s blend of “sentimentality and brute violence.” Hillcoat stressed they were going for something based in character as well as archetype. “In my world,” said Hillcoat, “which is the medium-budget world, I’m interested in films that have character and drama. And those are words that you cannot use in the United States at this time.”
But he got it made, and Hardy’s reputation will only benefit from being the strongest aspect of “Lawless.” Somewhat apologetically, as Hardy attempts, eventually with success, to get out of that infernal low-slung sofa, the actor notes he has no immediate plans to the return to the stage. He’s to be the new Mad Max in the “Mad Max” reboot. His work has been linked to the animalistic charisma and tenderness of Brando, and while he hastens to mention that he quite deliberately has never seen the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire or, from three years later, Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront, he’s humbled by the comparisons.
“May as well make a bit of hay,” he says, again with a faint note of apology. Why not? It may be raining in Cannes, but career-wise, Hardy’s sun is shining.
“I never been like you.”
A new clip from Lawless, featuring Tom Hardy & Shia Labeouf.
Tom Hardy talks about Mad Max (how can there STILL not be a start date, it makes no sense):
For the past couple of months, Tom Hardy has been sporting a particularly luxuriant beard, as part of his prep for Mad Max: Fury Road. And it looks like he might not be touching a Mach 3 for a good while longer. Empire got the chance to speak with Hardy and his Lawless co-star Guy Pearce in Cannes, where the former admitted that the long-delayed project still has no set start date.
“We keep moving that around, you know?” he shrugs. “Who knows when it’ll come out? I’ve been on stand-by for two years… but it’s all part of it. It’s kind of the cool thing to do, to be elusive with dates and all that.”
While there has been talk of the Mad Max shoot being so ambitious that it will last an entire year, rumour has it that the schedule has been cut down to trim the budget.
Says Hardy, not entirely seriously: “It was going to be a year of filming, then six months, and now we’re supposed to be doing it in six days. It’s a musical – we’re going to go around shopping centres in a little wagon and sing songs. People were expecting big, but we’re going to give them small. It’ll be a live, free-running musical and it’s coming to a place near you soon.”
And finally, answering the burning question of why Pearce has no eyebrows in Lawless, Hardy points at his beard: “I have his hair. I’m holding onto it.” Pearce laughs. “It’s true, Tom’s got it. He’s stuck it on his face.”
An interview with Tom Hardy & Guy Pearce! Part of the junket interviews they did today, I believe.
Tom Hardy rambles on adorably and passionately as usual. And says he was overwhelmed by Cannes and that he wanted more Jessica in the film… :)
A few quotes from Tom Hardy & Nick Cave about Lawless:
What do you get when you cross a western film with a gangster film?
“A wangster. It doesn’t sound good. You’re a wangster, not a real gangster,” said actor Tom Hardy of the genre nickname suggested for his latest film, Lawless.
“Let’s not use that term,” agreed Australian co-star Guy Pearce.
But while the moniker may irritate those in front of the camera, Lawless screen writer and composer Nick Cave was the one to offer the abbreviation.
“It’s a great name. If it’s half western film and half gangster film, it’s a wangster film,” said the forthright Australian singer.
Based on a true story of the infamous three Bondurant brothers in prohibition-era Virginia, Lawless has made its competition premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
For Hardy, who plays likeable hardman Forrest Bondurant, the film’s genre is not the only mixed feature of Lawless.
As the middle sibling and leader of the trio, Forrest falls short of the gangster stereotype.
“He doesn’t drink, he’s a teetotaller, obsessive-compulsive, super-fastidious … very feminine. He’s a matriarch figure,” Hardy told AAP of Forrest.
“Everything is counter-macho. Although the exterior is still bearded, cigar, knuckle dusters, the entire interior landscape is different.”
A violent film, not for the squeamish, Lawless boasts a range of Australian talent, including director John Hillcoat, Cave, Pearce, Jason Clarke and Mia Wasikowska.
Asked what reaction he has received since the film’s premiere, Hillcoat answered: “It’s very volatile at the moment; it could have gone both ways. I’m sure we’ll get kicked in the teeth soon.”
Cave was more optimistic, and in reference to the coveted prize for which Lawless is competing, the Palme d’Or, said: “It’s in the bag.”
Tom: “Whatever floats your boat, just don’t get caught.”
Gangster film ‘relevant to today’
A new prohibition era gangster film starring Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf has parallels with today because it reflects a time of instability and insecurity, its director said.
John Hillcoat told a packed press conference at the Cannes Film Festival that Lawless, which also stars Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain and Jason Clarke, focuses on a time when serious organised crime began.
“I think we’re in a time of a lot of instability and insecurity,” he said. “There’s a lot of parallels to today with the economic crisis, the political war on drugs.”
He said that at one point the film, which was written and composed by Nick Cave, had a montage that started with what was happening with the Mexican cartels and rewound through the 80s, through heroin and cocaine, and landed on prohibition, where it all started.
Hillcoat added: “That was the start of serious organised crime and it’s been going ever since. I think this sort of feeds into all the things that are going on today.”
The film is based on the true story of the Bondurant Brothers, three bootlegging siblings who made a run for the American Dream in Virginia. It was inspired by true-life stories from author Matt Bondurant’s family in his novel The Wettest County in the World.
Hardy, who plays Forrest, one of the three brothers, said he thought there was a good argument around legalising drugs but did not want to take a particular stand.
“I’m not sure about the drugs and alcohol stance, really. I wouldn’t want to make a political stance.”
He added with a smile: “Whatever floats your boat, just don’t get caught.”
Jessica: The great thing about Maggie is that she’s from a men’s world, she’s from Chicago … and when she meets up with these three brothers, she brings this feminine energy to this house of masculinity, aggression and violence, but at the same time she’s also very … masculine .. in her .. (laughs) … I don’t know … (laughs) she’s, I mean, in the love story between the two of [Forrest and Maggie] she’s like the man, she takes the power position.
Tom: Oh god.
Jessica: And he’s the girl!
First clip of Tom Hardy & Guy Pearce in Lawless!
Official poster of Tom Hardy in LAWLESS
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