Reprising a truly great interview given in Cannes last year during the premiere of Lawless. Tom mentions his physical transformations, his weight in TDKR, being a scrawny guy, ‘fucking poodles’, clip-on bow ties, The Godfather (he’s never seen it), and The Dog Whisperer (he watches it all the time). Ace.
(Plus a bigger version of a bearded Tom photo I could only find in small size before.)
The Cannes GQ+A: Tom Hardy
GQ: It’s funny. When I walked in, I was expecting a hulking presence—the way you looked in Lawless, The Dark Knight Rises, Bronson…
Tom Hardy: I’m not a very big guy. It’s not always that way.
GQ: What the hell happened?
Tom Hardy: I lost weight.
GQ: You just deflated?
Tom Hardy: Yeah. I’m not a big guy anyway. I’m only, what, 150 pounds? I was 190 for Batman, 179 for Warrior. Films make you look big.
GQ: The first time you really registered on my radar was in RocknRolla. And you were just a scrawny little guy in that.
Tom Hardy: Still am that scrawny little guy. I’m even scrawnier inside.
GQ: Have you and Christian Bale ever traded notes about extreme muscle gain and weight loss?
Tom Hardy: I’m not as serious as Christian is about it. Christian has massive fluctuations. I’m within 35 pounds, he’s within 60. Fucking nightmare, all that exercise.
GQ: You should worry about stressing out your kidneys.
Tom Hardy: Oh yeah, I do. My kidneys, my liver, everything. You know, after Batman, I checked them out, and now I have to be careful. I’m not getting any younger. At 34, your body starts to say, “You know you are mortal.” But life is not without risk. The sad things you have to do to get noticed…
GQ: You don’t always have to suffer to be an artist, you know,
Tom Hardy: No, I don’t think you do. But it helps to have had some concepts of suffering to be versatile.
GQ: You’ve certainly had your share. You’ve been through so much hard living, in terms of getting over your alcohol and crack addiction and going into rehab.
Tom Hardy: I was young. I got that done pretty quickly and out of the way. I stopped when I was 25. And now, I’ve been sober almost as long as I was drinking and drugging.
GQ: Sounds like Hillcoat is a smart director to let you go with your instincts.
Tom Hardy: But it’s very hard to get into a room with smart directors. It’s rare to find a director who’s confident enough and sensitive enough. Chris Nolan gives you that creative space.
GQ: This is your second time around with Nolan. What did you do with that freedom? Were there certain things that you suggested?
Tom Hardy: In Inception, with Eames, it’s very easy: it’s Chris. With Bane, it’s very easy: it’s Chris. It’s all him.
GQ: So Nolan has a thuggish side?
Tom Hardy: I’m not saying anything else.
GQ: Does Nolan mumble like Bane?
Tom Hardy: I can’t tell you anything about Batman. You know the score, you know the score. Don’t fuck with it.
GQ: All right, changing subjects… How do you define style?
Tom Hardy: Like this grooming and styling thing? It’s fucking poodles. Human poodles. I feel sorry for a poodle because he’s a dog. You know, a dog is a fucking great creature. They would do anything for you. And the poodle gets a haircut. No one asks if the poodle wants his hair cut like that. Do they? They just fucking cut his hair like that. And he just walks around. And everyone is like, “Why is that poodle so snarky?” Fuck you.
GQ: Well, you don’t necessarily have to look pretty to have style.
Tom Hardy: Style, I think, is panache. Who are you? What did you do today? And what are you worth to me? What do you have to offer the world? How did you spend your time today on this planet? How are you spending your time every second? What are you doing now? Are you alive, or are you somnambulant? If you are somnambulant, then you are a fucking prick. Style is your ability to be awake. But who the fuck am I to judge? I’m starting to get really arrogant.
GQ: Whose tuxedo did you wear on the red carpet here in Cannes?
Tom Hardy: J.Lindeberg. Because I really love his suits.
GQ: How about the bow tie?
Tom Hardy: Oh, I had a hooked-on bowtie from here at the Martinez Hotel. I did have one of these tie-your-own bow ties, but I was like, “Oh shit.” I can do Windsor knots and normal knots, but I don’t know how to tie a fucking bow tie. I went to public school [ed note: known in America as a private school], but not a really posh one like Prince Harry’s. So I had the Martinez bow tie. You know, with, like, a Velcro bit. Like a real movie star.
GQ: Speaking of movie stars, someone at the Cannes press conference compared you not inaccurately to Brando, and you admitted that you’ve never seen The Godfather. I cannot believe that.
Tom Hardy: I haven’t. No.
GQ: I think, at a certain point, that’s a conscious decision.
Tom Hardy: Yeah. I think so. And I’m about to play Al Capone, so I definitely can’t watch it now.
GQ: Will you watch it after that?
Tom Hardy: Yeah. Probably. Are people pissed off about it?
GQ: I think they just feel like you’re missing out on something tremendous.
Tom Hardy: Well, my son hasn’t been to Disney World yet, either. But I would love to sit down and watch a trilogy. A fucking trilogy. A lot of people said, “We are going to put it on, Tom. We are going to watch them all back-to-back tonight.” I’m really looking forward to that. I’m a huge Robert De Niro fan. I’m a huge Marlon Brando fan. I’m a huge Al Pacino fan. But, you know, it’s just one of those things. I have not watched it yet. I play Xbox. I have a little boy to look after. I have dogs. You know, I have things to do. I would love to be able to sit down and watch something like a movie. I watch my own movies because I have to. Because we’re at a premiere. But to sit down and watch a whole movie at home? I don’t have that kind of time. We do sit and watch hourly chunks, like The Dog Whisperer. That’s my life. You know what I mean?
GQ: So you’re pacing yourself?
Tom Hardy: Yeah. When I watch The Godfather, you are going to see me steal everything from it. And everyone is going to be like, “Dude. He stole that from the Godfather.” It’s like, “Yeah. You know why? Because it’s what I do. I’m going to be heavily influenced by it.” You are lucky I watched Chuck Norris movies and The Dog Whisperer and shit. I steal everything.