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Tom Hardy in Venom

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We saw a new side of Tom Hardy in 2018’s Venom and are bound to see even more surprises he returns to play Eddie Brock in the upcoming sequel, Venom 2, and as the title role of Josh Trank’s Al Capone biopic. Of course, there are plenty more bewildering things to know about the actor off screen.

Born in Hammersmith, London, the 42-year-old, who was nominated for an Academy Award in 2016 for his sadistic role in The Revenant, is one of the most versatile and exciting performers in Hollywood. A bit of a jack of all trades, Tom Hardy is known for everything from hostile takeovers of entire cities, rebelling against the hostile takeover of a post-apocalyptic desert, hostility toward rebellious orphans, and hostilely becoming a rebel of the life he loves to ensure his illegitimate son does not become an orphan.

Of course, as you will soon learn from the following trivial facts, he is not so hostile in real life. Once you have read through these six fascinating bits of information, then you will have my permission to call yourself an expert on the behind-the-scenes life of Tom Hardy.

Tom Hardy (center) on The Big Breakfast in 1998

Tom Hardy’s Big Break Came From A Modeling Competition

Tom Hardy was still a student of Richmond Drama School when he got his television debut at age 20. It also happened to be his debut as model.

U.K. morning program The Big Breakfast was holding its “Find Me A Model” campaign in 1998, of which Tom Hardy was their male London finalist. It is clear from footage of the episode, which can be found on YouTube, how host Denise Van Outen’s close contact and flirtatious interviewing style makes the young man visibly anxious. Fortunately, it all worked out in the end as he turned out to be the competition’s big winner (receiving a toolbox as his additional prize) and eventually, the prize of stardom as an actor, which began the same way as a fellow classmate of his…

Tom Hardy Went To School With A Fellow Future Marvel Actor

After his stint at Richmond Drama School, Tom Hardy transferred to Drama Centre London, under the school Central Saint Martins, where he met someone who, like him, would one day become known for portraying a villainous comic book character. Michael Fassbender, Magneto since 2011’s X-Men: First Class, earned “mad respect” from the future Venom star for his devoted method acting even outside of regular class hours, as the actor told GQ in 2015. Hardy said:

Mikey Fassbender, he was in the third year, and he was, like, the shit. And he was in this wheelchair, 'cause his character is in a wheelchair. We had, like, half an hour for lunch, a half an hour to feed the whole school. We had this little canteen, Barbara's canteen, and Mikey would be holding up the whole queue 'cause he wouldn't get out of his fucking wheelchair. That's the kind of school I went to. ‘Mikey, man, just stand the fuck up and order your lunch so we can go back to school, so we don't get thrown out at the end of the week.’ And he'd be like, ‘Fuck you!’ It was awesome.

Tom Hardy and “Mikey” got to leave Drama Centre early when they both landed roles in 2001’s Band of Brothers, the acclaimed World War II-era HBO/BBC miniseries from producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, in the same year that Hardy played another soldier in his feature film debut, Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down. Recently, it looks like the English actors are in an unofficial “war” with each other, as both have been in heavy consideration to succeed Daniel Craig as the next James Bond. However, neither Hardy nor Fassbender seem to have much interest in claiming such a victory.

Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock in Venom

Tom Hardy’s Son Had Some Brutally Honest Words About His Venom Performance

Tom Hardy has two children with his wife, actress Charlotte Riley, but also has a son, named Louis, with former girlfriend Rachel Speed. The actor has said on record that, not only does his firstborn hold much of the credit for why he chose to play the title role of Venom, but the 12-year-old apparently had quite an authority over his father’s performance as well.

At the Los Angeles premiere of Venom, Tom Hardy told Entertainment Tonight that Louis, a huge fan of Marvel and the symbiotic anti-hero in particular, “told me what I was doing wrong and I was doing more things wrong than I was doing right because children are deeply honest.” I wonder if one of his son’s critiques had something to do with one of the actor’s surprising choices of inspiration for the role… but more on that later.

Tom Hardy in Inception

Tom Hardy Was Surprised Why Christopher Nolan Cast Him In Inception

Speaking of surprising choices of inspiration, the role that, arguably, first opened doors for Tom Hardy to become the blockbuster badass he is today was the lead in Bronson, director Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2008 quasi-biopic of Michael “Charlie Bronson” Peterson, also known as “Britain’s most violent prisoner.” In fact, Hardy assumed it was that performance that led him to work with Christopher Nolan, with whom he has made three films, including The Dark Knight Rises and Dunkirk. Yet, that was not the case.

In an interview with Collider, Tom Hardy recalled how after he was cast in the Oscar-nominated, mind-bending 2010 hit, Inception, he learned that Christopher Nolan had never actually seen Bronson. What made the filmmaker interested in casting the fellow Brit as Eames, Dom Cobb’s forger, was his performance as Handsome Bob, a homosexual getaway driver from Guy Ritchie’s 2008 gangster flick RocknRolla. Of course, Hardy’s versatility makes it hard decide what to call his “defining role,” but some might argue a certain post-apocalyptic road warrior…

Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road

Before He Played Mad Max, Tom Hardy’s Pet Was Mad Max

While Max Rockatansky, George Miller’s cop turned lone Australian desert drifter, was originated decades ago by Mel Gibson in three Mad Max films, Tom Hardy took impressive ownership of the exquisite 2015 soft-reboot, Mad Max: Fury Road, without having much more than a page’s worth of dialogue. However, his connection to the character dates back to his youth, when he became acquainted with his beloved canine.

At 17 years old, Tom Hardy was given a Staffie-Labrador named Max, after the character he would one day play, whom the actor would frequently try to get involved in his acting projects, and succeeded by co-starring in the 2007 TV movie Stuart: A Life Backwards. Max passed away in 2011, but Hardy is still vocal about his unquenchable love for dogs, and has joined PETA in an effort to spread awareness of the importance of animal adoption.

Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/Venom in Venom

A ’90s Cartoon Served As An Unlikely Inspiration For Tom Hardy’s Venom Performance

As previously mentioned, Tom Hardy was largely inspired by his son to take on the role of Eddie Brock in Venom. However, to inform his performance as the Daily Bugle photographer bonded to a slimy alien life form, he looked to a certain iconic animated duo that, based on his explanation, makes some sense.

When commenting on the Venom character to Entertainment Weekly, Tom Hardy cited a comparison to Ren and Stimpy, the mismatched pairing of a furious chihuahua and a brainless cat who led one of the most chaotic Nicktoons ever created. He goes on to say that, essentially, Venom and Eddie Brock are two dramatically different personalities thrown together and playing both of them was an intriguing exercise in duality that the disparate characteristics of the 1990s animated series’ titular roles can certainly hold a candle to.

What do you think? Are this a lovely bunch of Tom Hardy facts, or do you think I should dream bigger, darling? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for more information and updates on the Venom 2 star here on CinemaBlend.