Isn’t it sweet that Shia sent Tom a fan mail. Sparko!
… Meanwhile, LaBeouf had been looking for opportunities to work with acclaimed English actor Tom Hardy. The two had struck up a friendship after LaBeouf sent Hardy a fan email about his arresting performance in the crime biopic BRONSON, and had begun forwarding scripts back and forth to one another. LaBeouf sent Bondurant’s novel to Hardy, followed by Cave’s screenplay. Hardy loved them both, and proved to be ideal casting for the role of quiet, fearless and fearsome Forrest Bondurant.
Hillcoat was also keen to work with Hardy, whose reputation as an exceptional talent preceded him. “I kept hearing about this incredible guy called Tom Hardy. I started watching his work, and I was awestruck - he was amazing. I could also see Tom and Shia as brothers. And Tom’s take on the character was quite audacious - he saw Forrest as the matriarch and the patriarch of the family, in the wake of their parents’ deaths. He wanted to explore Forrest’s softer side and play him in a quiet, contained way. By taking on the roles of the mother and the father of this family, he was really responsible and very caring, especially towards his brothers. But because of the time and the culture, he is unable to articulate it. Tom’s approach was very much about the different emotional textures there were to Forrest and how distilled and controlled he was. It was a unique and fascinating attitude towards the character,” Hillcoat notes.