How Tom Hardy Became America’s Sweetheart

It took Tom Hardy a little more than a year to become one of the most wanted actors in Hollywood and in only two films he went from being a cocky English guy in Inception into a national hero in Warrior. But before he took over American hearts, Tom Hardy was just another English actor struggling to get more than one line in a western film. I have recently watched Marie Antoinette and knowing the scale and speed with which Bane’s (The Dark Knight Rises) popularity is growing, it was quite funny to see Hardy delivering literally one line in this movie. Looking at him, it was almost impossible to predict how his career would turn out, however, the moment his role became more challenging in Christoper Nolan’s Inception, it was obvious that Hardy was born to succeed, and to succeed big.

Not with this hair cut and clothes obviously, but he was

America loves English guys. There is always one somewhere in the background playing either the main lead’s love interest- always quirky and romantic or the ultimate villain boss, simply cold and cruel. Not that many of them have a proper career in Hollywood- usually they are stuck in the supporting, stereotypical roles. Of course, we have Hugh Grant who has been playing the ultimate English guy for the romantic comedies’ audience since he signed his first contract; we have Michael Caine always playing the wise man, the over intellectual victorian gentleman. I don’t want to spend too much time focusing on different stereotypes portrayed by English actors in Hollywood, but just stop and think of any English actors that made a career in Hollywood for a bit, and tell me, who do they usually play (if not always in many cases).

Hugh Grant as Hugh Grant in a Hugh Grant movie

Of course, I don’t want to say that Hollywood is a close minded place and yes, English actors do get opportunities to prove themselves in different roles and genres, however, it is often the fight between earning money and audience’s hearts and getting new, challenging and interesting roles. It is simply easier for them to get this one repetitive role than to struggle for survival with American sharks in the American sea. But there’s a third option…

…and I believe this option ideally applies to the man of this post, Tom Hardy. Tom Hardy is a perfect import-export brand. He became the guy Americans can easily identify with and more importantly, the guy Americans WANT to identify with, while remaining completely loyal to his country of birth.

maybe a little too loyal

In Inception he plays a cocky, charming and fun English guy, the one we all want as a friend. He lights up the mood with a good line and a hint of hope being one of the most informed and creative in the group. He is also the reliable and trustworthy one- he knows the inside stories of everyone and somehow manages to remain pretty mysterious himself. For Hardy, this role was a breakthrough.

Although his accent is unforgettable it is so British, he blended immediately.  America loved him and England was proud. That’s when he became the national symbol. But which nation did he represent?

In Warrior, Tom Hardy stars as ‘what-if-it-all-went-ok’ version of Mickey Rourke in the Wrestler. He speaks in American accent, shows off his badass muscles that we didn’t even notice him growing and presents his own version of the underdog’s achievement of American dream. The times have changed and the American dream itself has changed, so Hardy’s character is not our typical, uplifting hero. He is constantly failing yet incredibly determined self made man who is there to show the nation that sometimes it is better to surrender as a human than succeed as a machine. He is the modern day Rocky. The foreigner who has a greater insight into American soul than most natives.

It is still too early for Tom Hardy to get nominated it seems, and he was the one left behind when this year’s Oscar nominations to Warrior were given. Beloved by the American audience, his next step seemed rather natural. The mission to win over western hearts would never be completed if Hardy didn’t star alongside another American sweetheart, Reese Witherspoon.

The result of this collaboration can now be watched at the cinemas and is called This Means War.

The kiss that united the nations

This Means War is a romantic action comedy (romantic comedy action, action…oh god damn it) and is as tasteless as Tom Hardy’s first haircut. It is a very disturbing film about a lying girl being stalked by two agents. She becomes a compulsive slut while they are becoming controlling tyrants, but it somehow doesn’t bother anyone.

It all starts pretty naively. Chris Pine and Tom Hardy are best friends and co-workers who do more damage than the actual work (however, they remain in their high positions and respected by the others). After failing another mission, they are ‘grounded’ and doomed to spend some time not doing much in front of their computers in the most open space office in the history of offices.

or maybe they just work in the hallway…

Meanwhile, Reese Witherspoon is struggling to survive in the world of couples. Her married friend who talks about men she would happily do all the bloody time advises Reese to go online and find the love of her life. She creates a dating profile and that’s how she meets Tom Hardy. She goes on the date with him, likes it, but on the way home decides to pick a movie at a local video rental. And that’s where she meets Chris Pine, who is a fucking psycho, I promise.

He is stalking her, he is being pushy and he doesn’t let her go. If I was Reese, I would definitely run for my life seeing all of the signs of rape alert, but of course, she likes it instead and decides to go with it. Or rather, her slutty friend decides for her.

Very soon Tom Hardy and Chris Pine find out that Reese is dating both of them at the same time. Testosterone does its magic and they decide to prove each other who can get a girl swearing also that their friendship is always on the first place and no girl will ever tear them apart. Guess what happens…

Having too much time and energy, both guys involve other agents in spying on Reese and one another. Because both of them are doing pretty well, they decide to ruin each other’s dates. This is a chance for a movie to present us with some creative action sequences, funny pranks and uncomfortable jokes. Instead we get boredom.

The thing that makes This Means War a bad film (apart from the overall creepiness) is that it is so extremely predictable that people who have never seen a romantic comedy in their lives would easily guess every line before it is delivered. It lacks creativity and freshness and it is painfully forgettable (painfully, because it’s been weeks since I’ve seen it and now I need to write a review of it and the only thing I remember is that the press screening was held at Empire cinema).

So how come an actor like Tom Hardy who only just missed a nomination stars in this bland feature? Well, if he didn’t, he would have missed the most important element of becoming America’s sweetheart. The romantic element that now makes him America’s beauty

 

Now that Tom Hardy’s place in the hearts of the nations is secure, it seems like his mission to become America’s sweetheart was not so friendly after all. Not when we look at his new upcoming film or should I make it easier for you to guess and call it the most anticipated movie of the year? In the Dark Knight Rises he plays Bane- the ultimate villain who knows no pain, no mercy and no morals. The villain who America fought many times before in many different films and in many different books. The villain so evil that only a superhero can save it. Or Brad Pitt. Same thing.

Whatever this leads, Tom Hardy is definitely someone to be aware of. Be very aware…

 

 

This Means War