'The Dark Knight Rises' Interview: Tom Hardy, on What Sets Bane Apart From Other Villains

'The Dark Knight Rises' Interview: Tom Hardy, on What Sets Bane Apart From Other Villains

May 27, 2012

Actor Tom Hardy is continuing to fuel many peoples' curiosity around the world with his enigmatic screen presence and his choices to tackle interesting characters. Getting his film career started in 2001's Black Hawk Down and 2002's Star Trek Nemesis, Hardy has gone on to star in some critically lauded films giving life to truly fascinating characters. Garnering a fair amount of attention for 2008's Bronson before landing some truly breakout roles in Inception and The Warrior, Hardy seems to be a man on the rise in the world of cinema.

Going into his second collaboration with director Chirstopher Nolan, Hardy joined the cast of The Dark Knight Rises as Bane; a character known in the comics for deciphering Batman's identity and breaking his back. Ever the expert of misdirection, Hardy couldn't say too much about the character he'd be portraying in Rise, but the spirit of the man behind Bane's mask very much comes through in this interview from the set of The Dark Knight Rises in Pittsburgh.

Q: I want to ask you a question that you couldn't answer at Comic-Con--

Tom Hardy: I probably still can't answer it. [Laughs]

Q: Do you have an accent in this movie? What are you doing for the voice?

TH: I can't say anything about him. I really can't say anything.

Q: What's it like fighting Christian Bale? Because he's the "Fighter" and you’re the "Warrior."

TH: I love working with Christian actually. I love working with everybody. I love working with Chris Nolan every time. Everybody in this cast is always lovely, constant professionals. There's a distinct lack of ego when you work with Chris. It's wonderful. So everybody plays to that environment which is very intimate. So it doesn't feel like such a big-- overwhelmingly big-- experience. Which it is. I've played to a crowd of a thousand people, 1,400 I think. That's the National. And then when we did Warrior, there was about 1,500 extras. And I think there's about 11,000 people out there.

Q: Can you talk about what you're filming today?

TH: I'm going to talk to 12,000 people. I'm a bit nervous. [laughs] You’re my warm up!

Q: Can you tell us what it's like to wear the costume?

TH: Hot. It's very, very, very hot. Yeah. We're all getting very hot. You think about the [unintelligible, people?] in Afghanistan and Baghdad, and you think about what they have to wear, well then it's actually not that bad, is it? But it is hot. It's hard to breathe.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about when you first put it on, and [unintelligible] get it right?

TH: You just put it on, you know? [Laughs] And then it's on, and it's hard to breathe. I can't hear anyone, and no one can see me speak. So there you go. [Laughs] And the magic begins.

Q: Do you find yourself having to speak bigger with your arms or your eyes, things like that?

TH: I can't talk about magic.

Q: Do you have more respect for Darth Vader now?

TH: [Laughs] I grew up with it, the original Star Wars. And Darth Vader is really cool, isn't he? Really cool. He was some old man. Sad.

Q: Were you familiar with the character Bane? Did you go back and read up on him?

TH: I had no immediate knowledge of the world of Batman at all. I'm quite incubated. I just keep myself to myself and my dog. He's not with me anymore. And if something comes in, it's always a neat experience. So it started when I first got the part.

Chris Clow/MDC: One of the things that sets Bane apart from other villains is his brilliance, in addition to the physical aspects of him. Are we going to see that this is a smart guy, equal to Batman in his intellect?

TH: All I can think of is you're calling me stupid. [Laughs] SO I really want to flip the table over, and throw you through the window! Does that answer your question? [Laughs]

CC/MDC: Yes, sir!

Q: From the pictures, Bane looks larger than life. But in all of Nolan's films, he likes to ground it in reality with three-dimensional characters. How does he go about grounding this character Bane in reality?

TH: Well, if Nolan grounds it in reality, then I'd have to follow suit.

Q: The character is kind of a bad guy but a bad guy you like. Are you bringing that to Bane, or does Bane have to be completely bad?

TH: He's a different character. Of course, I'm playing a different character than I've ever played before. But you know way too much of this story of me. So I can't answer that.

Q: Did you have any apprehension for being the guy that would follow Heath Ledger's Joker?

TH: No, I don't think absolutely. That would be putting myself in a competition with somebody who's clearly brilliant. And it's not a question of whose talent is greater or whose work is greater. It's just trying to be the best that we can be. I'm not trying to be better than somebody else. What he did was amazing. That's that. I've got a part I've got to play, and I want to play my part.

Q: Can you tell us what fighting style you’re doing in this movie or any martial arts that you had to learn? Because I know you learned some of the MMA stuff as you prepped for Warrior. Did you learn anything new for Bane?

TH: I just watched Peanut over there. I've seen him wade through a few places.

Q: Is it "Peter" or "Peanut?"

TH: "Pea-nut." He doesn't look like a peanut, does he?

Q: Can you talk a little bit about other franchises you've worked on like Star Trek? Does the experience of adding to large franchises excite you at all?

TH: Working on Star Trek [Nemesis in 2002] really opened me up. I was a very young boy. I think I had only been working nine months when I got Star Trek, and it was huge. It was very overwhelming. So that opened my eyes a bit at an early age, kind of how not be frightened when walking into a responsibility of something like that. Like a Batman, or a Hobbit, or whatever it is. These characters belong to a large group of people who love them. And it's a huge responsibility to deliver something important to them. So Star Trek was a stepping stone towards that, this journey. I'm incredibly grateful to be playing the villain in a world which, if I really thought to hard about what I was doing, I would get very nervous about the size and the magnitude of the importance and responsibility of being a villain in the world of Batman.

Read our other reports from the set of The Dark Knight Rises:


The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters on July 20th.

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