Bane might not rank among the “classic” Batman villains (the hulking back-breaker was introduced in the comics in 1993), but the character is a perfect fit for the Batman world created by Christopher Nolan in his Dark Knight trilogy. To play the villain in The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan turned to Tom Hardy, who appeared in Nolan’s previous film, Inception.
Hardy explains that he leaped at the chance to work with Nolan again and goes into detail about how he played the character opposite Christian Bale‘s Batman.
Hardy admits he had no hesitation working with Nolan again, though Nolan initially approached Hardy thinking he would have one reservation. Hardy explains, “Chris called me up and said there was a role I might be good for, but he wasn’t sure I’d be interested because I’d have to wear a mask for several months. He wouldn’t tell me anything else about the character, except that he was a very bad guy. I said, ‘Let me get this straight: you want me to come and work with you, travel around the world, have a stunt team and all the weapons I could possibly want to play with, and all I have to do is wear a mask?’ He answered, ‘Yeah, pretty much…’ And I said, ‘I’m in!’” In fact, Hardy says he felt the mask helped him get into character, adding, “I didn’t feel limited by the mask. What’s cool about it is, as soon as you put it on, you become the character.”
Hardy sees Bane as the ultimate villain with no redeeming qualities, pointing out, “Bane has come to do a job and has no feelings of remorse or shame about the death and destruction he’s causing. There is nothing ambiguous about Bane. He is clearly a villain…just a horrible piece of work.”
Despite Bane’s sizable advantage over Batman, Hardy reveals that he underestimated the intimidation he would face upon seeing Christian Bale in the Batman costume. He says, “I remember the first time I saw Christian in the makeup chair, and I arrogantly thought to myself, ‘That’s not a problem; I can handle him.’ And then, on the set, Batman showed up. It wasn’t Christian Bale anymore; he absolutely was Batman.”