Tom Hardy’s work as twin British crime lords Reggie and Ronald Kray in Universal’s forthcoming Legend should indisputably cement his reputation as a master of playing villainous characters.
To be adept at playing bad guys one must have a number of attributes and Tom Hardy has them in abundance.
Physical Presence - This isn’t about height and weight because Tom Hardy isn’t overly big. He is, however, muscular…to a degree…and appears to be physically fit. His portrayal of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises suggests that any confrontation would be highly dangerous and difficult.
Deceptive - As Handsome Bob in the Guy Ritchie film, Rocknrolla, Tom Hardy was a bad guy who could effortlessly shift between duplicity and violence. Somehow the two complimented each other and you never knew where you stood with him…which gave him a near-full measure of control.
Batcrap Crazy - As Charlie Bronson in Bronson, the UK’s most-feared prisoner, Tom Hardy was so far gone mentally that he could and would become horrifically violent within a nanosecond but had a sense of humor. His instability always kept people guessing because being in the wrong had terrible consequences.
Intelligence - As Forrest Bondurant in Lawless, he was the middle brother of a Virginia moonshining family who endured, and dished out, far more than his share of violence (including getting his throat slit). Very imposing, Forrest kept the illegal booze making operation rolling thanks to his (underrated) intelligence.
Psychology - Alfie Solomons, a feared gangster in Peaky Blinders, Tom Hardy shows a man who is terrifying because of his penchant for violence but equally intimidating because of his calculating and shrewd thinking.
The greatest aspect of the new film Legends is that Hardy plays two criminals in the same production.
While few would argue that Tom Hardy is a highly versatile actor, is there anyone better at playing villains?