Watch Tom Hardy Face Off Against Patrick Stewart In Star Trek: Nemesis Screen Test

We're all about Tom Hardy these days, but really, who isn't? The actor who previously dazzled art house audiences in Bronson and stole scenes in Inception took over the summer in a big way as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, the villain with the mask and the muscles and the terrifying will to destroy Gotham. Sure, complain all you want that it's hard to understand Bane or that it's a crime to block off Tom Hardy's impressive lips (I'll agree with you on that one), but Hardy was a gripping and scary villain, and given the massive success of The Dark Knight Rises, has likely guaranteed himself many more strong roles to come.

But even though Hardy was basically unknown until his breakthrough role in Nicolas Winding Refn's Bronson, he's actually already had a hand at playing a villain-- way back in 2002, with Star Trek: Nemesis. He played Shinzon, a resident of the planet Romulus who took it over in a violent coup-- and turned out to be a clone of our hero, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart). You can see his performance in the movie itself, of course, but in the video below you can see his screen test along with scenes from the movie, giving a much closer look at what Hardy brings to the performance. It's wild to see how young and thin he is after looking at Bane, but the calm, forceful presence has clearly been there from the beginning.

If you're newly wild about Tom Hardy, first of all, resist the temptation to check out his film from earlier this year This Means War. Instead, be a little patient-- he'll be back later this summer in John Hillcoat's Lawless, and is heading into production on Mad Max: Fury Road, taking over the title role from Mel Gibson himself. No more playing second fiddle to Patrick Stewart-- Hardy is clearly ready to come into his own as a star.

Katey Rich

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend