TOM HARDY – “BANE”
On the day we were visiting, Tom Hardy was shooting a huge scene in front of 10,000 extras at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, so we understood why the unit publicist told us he’d only stop by to greet us for a few minutes. Just for context, Hardy had just been at Comic-Con a few weeks earlier promoting his awesome mixed-martial arts drama Warrior, and he had developed the recurring mantra of “I can’t talk about Bane. I can’t talk about Bane,” which he would use to answer any questions about Bane. Fortunately, once we started asking questions, he started to warm up (slightly) and answered some of them.
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?
Hardy: I can’t say anything about him. I really can’t say anything. (collected sigh)
Q: What’s it like fighting Christian Bale, since he’s the “Fighter” and you’re the “Warrior?”
Hardy: 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 and gentle. So it doesn’t feel like such an overwhelmingly big experience, which it is, if you look out the window there. I’ve played to a crowd of a thousand four hundred people, 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 tell us what it’s like to wear the mask and the costume?
Hardy: Hot. It’s very, very, very hot. Yeah, we’re all getting very hot. When you think about the lads who are out there in Afghanistan and Baghdad and the kit they have to wear, and you think, “Well it’s not that bad, is it?” But it is hot, and It’s hard to breathe.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about when you first put it on, and working with the costume department to get it right?
Hardy: You just put it on, you know? (laughs) And then it’s on, and then it’s hard to breathe.
Q: Is hard to perform your lines wearing the mask?
Hardy: Well, I can’t hear anyone, and no one can see me speak. So there you go. (laughs) Then the magic begins.
Q: Do you find yourself having to speak bigger with your arms or your eyes, things like that?
Hardy: I can’t talk about magic.
Q: Do you have more respect for Darth Vader now?
Hardy: (laughs) I grew up with the original Star Wars. And Darth Vader is really cool, isn’t he? Really cool.
Q: Were you familiar with the character Bane before Chris came to you, and did you go back and read up on him?
Hardy: 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. If something comes in, it’s always a new experience, so it started when I first got the part.
Q: One thing Bane is known for in the comics is his brilliance, in addition to the physical. Are we going to see that this is a smart guy that’s equal to Batman in his intellect?
Hardy: All I can think of is that you’re calling me stupid. (laughter) I kind of want to flip the table and throw you through the window. Does that answer your question?
Q: There are may incarnations of Bane but he’s always depicted as larger than life, but Nolan likes to ground his films in reality with three-dimensional characters, so how do you go about grounding Bane in reality?
Hardy: Well, if Nolan always grounds everything in reality, then I’d have to follow suit. Yeah.
Q: When you played Charlie Bronson and your character in “Warrior,” they were both bad guys, but bad guys you like. Can you bring any of that to Bane or does Bane have to be completely bad and you can’t like him because you’re on the side of Batman? Are you playing him different than some of your other characters?
Hardy: Well, he’s a different character, so of course, I’m playing a different character than I’ve ever played before. But I think that would give away too much of the story, so I can’t answer that.
Q: Did you have any apprehension of being the guy that would follow Heath Ledger’s Joker?
Hardy: No, I don’t think so. 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 rather than trying to be better than somebody else. You know what I mean? What he did was amazing. That’s that. I’ve got a part I’ve got to play, and I’m going to play my part. Does that make sense?
Q: Can you tell us what fighting style your 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,” but did you learn anything new for Bane?
Hardy: I just watched Peanut over there. I’ve seen him wade through a few places. He doesn’t look like a peanut, does he?
Q: The last franchise you were in was “Star Trek,” so does the experience of adding to large franchise attract you at all?
Hardy: Working on “Star Trek” really opened me up. I was a very young boy. I think I had only been working for nine months when I got “Star Trek,” and it was huge. It was very overwhelming. It opened my eyes a bit at an early age of how not be frightened when walking into a responsibility of playing something like a villain in Batman say, 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 and that you make the effort. So “Star Trek” was a stepping stone towards this journey, and I’m incredibly grateful to be playing the villain in a world which, if I really thought too 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.
Q: Can you talk about what you’re filming today?
Hardy: I’m going to talk to 10,000 people. I’m a bit nervous. (laughs) You’re my warm-up!
And with that, Hardy was off and we would see him not too long afterwards on the field doing exactly that.
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