Tom Hardy on Fame, Acting School, and His ‘Mad Respect’ for Michael Fassbender

Tom Hardy in Mad Max

“Do what you love doing, do it well—everything should fit into place.” – Tom Hardy


Mad Max: Fury Road comes out this Friday, and it is everything you hope for in a summer blockbuster. Much of that can be credited to Tom Hardy, who stars as the title character. It isn’t the first time that Hardy appeared in an franchise film — he was Bane in The Dark Knight Rises after all — but it’s the first time that Hardy has taken such a central role in a blockbuster film. In an interview with Details, Hardy speaks about how he handles his fame, why he chooses to remain so private, and recalls his acting school days alongside Michael Fassbender.

Hardy says that he acts because he loves it, and the fact that he gets paid to do it seems like a lucky bonus. He says, “I’m not worrying about my diamond-studded shoes or, you know, my privileges. That would be ridiculous. I got lucky. I love what I do. I’m going to fucking ride it until the wheels fall off. Do what you love doing, do it well—everything should fit into place. And if you happen to make money doing it, lucky cunt. But there’s no difference between a $5 performance and a $50 million performance to me. You know what I mean? My work wouldn’t change depending on how much money you gave me. I have no desire to be a star. I’d like to be normal. ‘Cause I’m already nuts anyway. I don’t fucking need to be any further crazy.

When asked why he keeps his life so private outside of his films, Hardy says he’s just following the model of Old Hollywood. He explains, “Mystery is very healthy in this business anyway. Why wouldn’t I capitalize on mystery? If you look at the old movie stars, you didn’t know anything about them. It allowed them to transform and shape-shift into different characters. It was easier to believe what somebody is if you don’t know anything about them. If you had a dossier on me, telling you about who I am, where I’ve been, what I’ve done, for years, it makes it harder to maintain the ability to transform. I want to leave as little dossier around as possible. So, if there’s a mystery in any way, great. That’s great. For obvious reasons, isn’t it? ‘Cause you can do business with that. See, myths, usually asinine, circulate about people, normally by people who don’t know them.

However, despite his insistence on mystery Hardy does speak a bit about his origins in acting. On how he learned to act, he recalls, “Have you seen that movie Whiplash? I went to a school like that. You know, a drama school very similar to that. And the guy that trained me, they based Hannibal Lecter on him. His pursuit was just to fucking destroy us. He wanted us to achieve excellence, and I think all of us failed to impress him, to be fair. But that’s where I came from, and it was always laced with danger, that place. Which was always the attitude: This isn’t about money or fame, this is just about doing what it says on the tin.”

One of his classmates was fellow acclaimed actor Michael Fassbender, whom Hardy was in awe of. Hardy remembers, “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. I’ve got mad respect for him. I’d love to go up against him on stage.”

Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender in the same play? I assume producers are placing calls right now to make that happen.

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