Tom Hardy Talks Following Heath Ledger’s Joker, Bane’s Costume, STAR TREK and More on the Set of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

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Tom Hardy Bane THE DARK KNIGHT RISES image slice

When Christopher Nolan first announced Bane as the villain of The Dark Knight Rises, many were nervous that whoever would take the role wouldn’t be able to come close to Heath Ledger‘s amazing performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight.  However, last August on the set of The Dark Knight Rises, I watched Tom Hardy as Bane walk onto Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and completely own the place.  It was during that hot and humid afternoon that I realized Bane was going to be a kick ass villain.

During a break between filming, I participated in a group interview with Hardy on set.  While he was very guarded about revealing too many secrets, he did talk to us about the costume, Bane’s mask, if he has more respect for Darth Vader now, Bane’s physicality, whether he had any apprehension about following Heath Ledger‘s Joker, what he learned working on Star Trek: Nemesis, and more.  Hit the jump to either read or listen to the interview.

As usual, I’m offering you two ways to get the interview: you can either click here for the audio, or the full transcript is below.  The Dark Knight Rises opens July 20.

Bane-Dark-Knight-Rises-image-Tom-HardyQuestion:  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]

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.

What’s it like fighting Christian Bale?  ‘Cause he’s the “Fighter” and you’re the “Warrior. ”

Hardy:  Oh, yeah.  I’ve only just realized! I’m always the last to know these things.  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.  Does that make sense?  So it doesn’t feel like such a big– overwhelmingly big—experience, which it is.  I’ve played to a crowd of a thousand people, 1,400 I think.  That’s The National.  And then when we did Warrior, there were about 1,500 extras.  And I think there’s about 11,000 people out there.

Can you tell us what it’s like to wear the costume?

Hardy:  Hot.  It’s very, very, very hot.  Yeah.  We’re all getting very hot.  You think about the lads that are out in Afghanistan and Baghdad, and you think about the kit they have to wear, well then it’s actually not that bad, is it?  But it is hot.  It’s hard to breathe.

the-dark-knight-rises-tom-hardy-bane-imageCan 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 it’s hard to breathe.  I can’t hear anyone, and no one can see me speak.  So there you go.  [Laughs] And the magic begins.

Do you find yourself having to speak bigger with your arms or your eyes, things like that?

Hardy:  I can’t talk about magic.

Do you have more respect for Darth Vader now?

Hardy:  [Laughs] I grew up with it, the original Star Wars.  And Darth Vader is really cool, isn’t he?  Really cool.

Well David Prowse had to wear that mask and couldn’t really see.

Hardy:  Who wore the mask?  It wasn’t the same person as when the first time they take it off?

No that’s a different guy.  That’s Sebastian Shaw.

tom-hardy-christian-bale-the-dark-knight-risesHardy:  He was some old man.  Sad.

Were you familiar with the character Bane?  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.  And if something comes in, it’s always a neat experience.  So it started when I first got the part.

There is a brilliance to Bane in addition to the physical.  Are we going to see that this is a smart guy, equal to Batman in intellect?

Hardy:  All I can think of is you’re calling me stupid.  [Laughs] I kinda want to flip the table up and throw you through the window. That kinda answers your question doesn’t it?

From the pictures, Bane looks larger than life.  But in all of Nolan’s films, he likes to ground it in reality with three-dimensional characters.  How does he go about grounding this character Bane in reality?

Hardy:  Well, if Nolan always grounds it in reality, then I’d have to follow suit.

The character is kind of a bad guy but a bad guy you like.  Are you bringing that to Bane, or does Bane have to be completely bad?

the-dark-knight-rises-bane-posterHardy:  He’s a different character.  Of course, I’m playing a different character than I’ve ever played before.  But you know way too much of this story of me.  So I can’t answer that.

Did you have any apprehension for being the guy that would follow Heath Ledger’s Joker?

Hardy:  No, I don’t think absolutely.  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 then trying to be better then somebody else. I’m not trying to be better than somebody else.  What he did was amazing.  That’s that.  I’ve got a part I’ve got to play, and I want to play my part.

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.  Did you learn anything new for Bane?

Hardy:  I just watched Peanut over there.  I’ve seen him wade through a few places.

Is it “Peter” or “Peanut? ”

Hardy:  “Pea-nut. ” He doesn’t look like a peanut, does he?

Can you talk a little bit about other franchises you’ve worked on like Star Trek?  Does the experience of adding to large franchises 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 nine months when I got Star Trek, and it was huge.  It was very overwhelming.  So that opened my eyes a bit at an early age, kind of how not be frightened when walking into a responsibility of something like villain in Batman, or a Hobbit, or whatever it is.  These characters belong intrinsically to a large group of people who love them.  And it’s a huge responsibility to deliver something important to them and to make the effort.  So Star Trek was a stepping-stone towards that, this journey.  I’m incredibly grateful to be playing the villain in a world which, if I really thought to 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.

Can you talk about what you’re filming today?

Hardy:  I’m going to talk to 2,000 people.  I’m a bit nervous.  [laughs] Doing my warm-up!

For more from our The Dark Knight Rises set visit:

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