Tom Hardy, from 'Warrior' battles to Batman brawls

Thu Sep 8, 2011 4:47pm EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It is an understatement to say that actor Tom Hardy's star is rising fast.

Last year, the 33 year-old British actor earned Hollywood credibility as a member of Leonardo DiCaprio's dream traveling posse in "Inception." The film's director, Christopher Nolan, then cast Hardy in one of 2012's most coveted roles: the villain Bane in Batman flick, "The Dark Knight Rises."

On Friday his movie "Warrior," set in the world of mixed martial arts, debuts in U.S. theaters. It was filmed before "Inception" and it catches the actor at a time that will soon be rare -- a time when he was an relative unknown.

The actor plays a former wrestling prodigy-turned-marine who returns to the ring to fight for a $5 million prize, only to be pitted in the ring against his estranged brother played by Australian actor Joel Edgerton.

Hardy gained an additional 30 lbs. of muscle thanks to physical training and lived out a "Rocky"-esque fantasy in scenes where he waded through crowds of cheering fans on his way toward the fighting cage.

As convincing as he may look physically for the role on screen, Hardy harbors no notions that he could actually thrive as a fighter the MMA world.

"I'd get knocked out -- stone cold," said Hardy with certainty. "I'd probably trip on the stairs on my way up to the ring and knock my teeth out. So its a very short-lived moment of 'I can do this!' because I really can't."

Still, that doesn't stop him from taking on roles that might prove otherwise. Hardy put on over 40 lbs. to play the real-life U.K. prisoner Charles Bronson who spent most of his life in solitary confinement in the 2009 film "Bronson." His current weight as Batman rival Bane is 192 lbs. -- the most he's ever weighed.   Continued...