ByVaria Fedko-Blake, writer at Creators.co
Staff Writer at Moviepilot! [email protected]
Varia Fedko-Blake

Judging by his old, pre-fame MySpace profile, actor #TomHardy always had it in him to be a star. And ever since taking the Hollywood world by storm years later, his career has only gone from strength to strength as he continues to accumulate a hefty acting resumé.

And now, it appears that following his days as Jewish gang leader in #PeakyBlinders, Hardy is upgrading to the criminal world stateside – he has just been cast as notorious mobster Al Capone in #Fonzo, a movie documenting the final years of his life.

Tom Hardy will be Al Capone
Tom Hardy will be Al Capone

According to movie sources, Fonzo will focus on Al Capone's later life, during the years spent in prison for tax evasion and when the infamous bootlegger struggled with paresis, a severe mental condition resulting from syphilis. As we all know, this won't be the first time the gangster's life has been brought to the big screen with Robert De Niro notably playing him in The Untouchables, although at an earlier stage in the mobster's life:

Yet, despite the various representations of the mobster over the past decades, what do we actually know about the man? Read on to familiarize yourself with the true story behind Al Capone, the ruthless crime lord Tom Hardy is suiting up to play in Fonzo.

What Is The True Story Behind Al Capone, Tom Hardy's Next Role In Fonzo?

Capone's Early Years In New York

Young Al Capone with his Brother Vinny | Vivian Maier
Young Al Capone with his Brother Vinny | Vivian Maier

Born to Italian parents in 1899 in the heart of Brooklyn, New York, the young Al Capone didn't have the most stable start to life, living in squalid immigrant tenements with his seven siblings and struggling parents. Despite this though, the Capone's were always regarded as law-abiding citizens, getting by in the best way that they could (Al's mom was a seamstress and his father was a barber).

In fact, in his early years, there was nothing to predict the young boy's rapid transformation into becoming one of the most feared gangsters in American history. However, this all began to change when he was suddenly expelled from his strict Catholic school at the age of 14 after hitting a female teacher in the face.

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Enter Johnny Torrio

Johnny Torrio was the crime boss of the "Chicago Outfit"
Johnny Torrio was the crime boss of the "Chicago Outfit"

Many argue that it was Al Capone's chance meeting with gangster Johnny Torrio that set the impressionable young man on the dangerous path to crime. Over the years, this man would become a mentor to him, introducing him into the world of gambling and whorehouse operations making up a notorious crime empire called the "Chicago Outfit."

Before moving to Chicago to take care of booming business there, Torrio introduced Capone to fellow mobster Frankie Yale, who provided Capone with employment as a bouncer on Coney Island — it was here that Al earned his infamous nickname "Scarface."

The story goes that one night Capone was slashed across the face by a man after making a rude remark to his sister at the bar, markings that left lingering scars for the rest of his life.

The Move To Chicago

Al Capone's family
Al Capone's family

When he was 19, Al Capone married his wife Mae Coughlin weeks after the birth of their son, Albert Francis. Now a responsible father, he took a job as a bookkeeper at a construction company. Yet, it appears that a low-key lifestyle was never on the cards for the young man and following the death of his own father in 1920, he took Torrio's advice and moved to Chicago himself.

There, he jumped on the bootlegging bandwagon with his criminal mentor and quickly became a ruthless partner in the lucrative field during the Prohibition Era. With time, he was raking in $60 million a year and going everywhere with at least two bodyguards.

Men protesting the prohibition of alcohol
Men protesting the prohibition of alcohol

However, despite the fact that business was booming and that Al had taken over as manager of the Four Deuces in Chicago — the group's headquarters that also served as a speakeasy, gambling joint and whorehouse — a crackdown on corruption in the city meant that operations had to be moved out of town. Working out of the Cicero suburbs, Torrio and Capone got involved in hard politics in order to prevent operations from being shut down. Together, they even went as far as ensuring that they ruled the mayoral elections, working hard to elect a puppet representatives.

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

| The Chicago Daily News
| The Chicago Daily News

When Torrio decided to move back to Italy, the entire operation was handed over to Capone, who moved back to Chicago and lived in the expensive Metropole Hotel, spending lavishly whenever he could. By 1929, many estimated his worth to be at over $100 million and he fully dominated the illegal liquor trade in the city.

However, Capone swiftly began to garner a brutal reputation, which culminated in the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre on February 14, 1929. Posing as police, Capone's top hit man "Machine Gun" Jack McGurn took a group to a North Side garage occupied by his long-time rival "Bugs" Moran and assassinated seven of his men in cold blood. Although he was staying with his girlfriend in Miami at the time, the public's outrage named him "Public Enemy Number One" after Moran, who escaped with his life, pointed the finger firmly at Capone.

An Isolated Life In Prison

Al Capone's prison mugshots
Al Capone's prison mugshots

As a result of the outcry against Capone, President Hoover encouraged the government to step up their efforts to convict the mobster for income-tax evasion. On June 5, 1931, trial proceedings against Capone began and he was consequently accused of 22 counts of evasion and sent to prison for 11 years. Ultimately, Tom Hardy's movie Fonzo will be focusing on these aspects of Capone's life.

Capone's cell at the now closed Eastern State Penitentiary
Capone's cell at the now closed Eastern State Penitentiary

After spending the first few years Eastern State Penitentiary in Atlanta, Capone was sent to the infamous island fortress Alcatraz in 1935, where his health rapidly dwindled away. As a young man, he had contracted syphilis and his mind was now slowly deteriorating into severe dementia — in fact, when analysed by a physician during the final years of his life, he was found to have the mental capacity of a 12-year-old.

Released from Alcatraz six years into his sentence, he spent three years in a mental ward in Baltimore, before dying of cardiac arrest in his Miami home alongside his wife on January 25, 1947. On that same say, the New York Times trumpeted his passing as the "End of an Evil Dream."

Were you already familiar with the true story behind Al Capone, Tom Hardy's upcoming role in Fonzo?

(Source: History.com)