I will never for get the first time I felt violated. I was in High School and while flipping through the pages of a magazine I came upon a image of a good looking man. When I realized I was holding the page longer than customary for a heterosexual guy, I finished the turn so hard that I arrested my own insecurity. Many years later after fashion photography became my source of income, I realized that I felt better knowing I was capable of acknowledging a good looking guy. Of course I could never discuss this with another guy. I was to become a photographer before I realized that at that moment way back in what was the foreshadowing of my artistic eye. I was simply drawn to objects of beauty: men, women, clothes, buildings, rocks and trees. Anything that caught my eye would receive equal consideration.
Now that I watch movies more than I do my own weight, I am forced to look at white male actors more than any other category. Every decade or so we hail farewell to some and hello to others. I noticed Michael Fassbender and Tom Hardy both are decent looking actors. But more importantly I notice that they both have the ability to morph into a character so much so that they can fool my eye. While Fassbinder's range of characters seem more diverse, once I realize its him, I'm Ok. But Tom Hardy can fool me so well that I may make it all the way through a movie and when the credits role.... then I issue that proverbial... Ah Ah moment. Since I consider myself a know it all, I feel as dim witted as the next dork when I am clueless about my favorites. These two guys are way up there.
Think back on their respective careers. I had seen Hardy in LAWLESS, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, and INCEPTION. But when I saw LAYER CAKE (also starring Daniel Craig) I did not recognize Hardy at all. In that movie he plays a character named Clarkie. Clarkie is a gay guy immersed in the criminal world and unable to come clean with his attraction toward men, namely the nameless character played by Craig. Tom Hardy certainly is an actor to watch, before that role in LAYER CAKE he had already starred in BLACK HAWK DOWN and BAND OF BROTHERS. Any actor who is willing to go from a mash up of male testosterone as BLACK HAWK and then later play a frustrated gay guy in a gangster flick is comfortable in his skin.
Nonetheless I wonder if Hardy and Fassbender pass the test for actors with a the attributes of a chameleon. Is there such a test by casting agents. Do they sometimes know an actor will have camouflage well... or...morph well?
Fassbender with his cool demeanor easily played a convincing role as a cool womanizer in SHAME. He credits director Steve McQueen with giving him that first leading role. In turn for that favor, Fassbender gave his all in a Oscar winning role as Edwin Epps, the vicious slave holder in McQueen's 12 YEARS A SLAVE. It took courage to play that role and to appear immersed in it while doing so. This is only a credit to his commitment and it is impressive that he could pull off such diversity. But step back and tell me you could pull Michael out of a line-up when he played Lt. Archie Hicox in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS? Heck I had to keep reminding myself he was David in PROMETHEUS. Granted his rather bland skin can give him away but that was not the case the COUNSELOR with Jarvier Bardum and Brad Pitt.
I have not tried to list either of these actors entire list of movies. Needless to be said the only time ether of them has worn a mask was Tom Hardy. He was the villain Bane in the DARK KINGHT. BUT you recognized him didn’t you? I did not.
Look for Tom Hardy in THE DROP where he stars along side the late James Gandolfini.
Do you know who that was in X-MEN:DAYS OF FUTURE PAST? Was that Hardy in TINKER SAILOR SOLIDER SPY?
Did I turn that page too fast?