Man at His Best

Tom Hardy On Phone Hacking, Extreme Roles And The Best Advice He's Ever Had

Ten minutes with the enigmatic actor.

BY Olivia Ovenden | Jun 4, 2016 | Film & TV

"He's number 73 on the TIME 100 for animals," says Tom Hardy, pointing to his Labrador rescue dog, Woody, who is lying by the door, more asleep than on guard. "He beat Jaws."

The Oscar-nominated actor—who famously has a soft spot for canines (the Instagram account 'Tom Hardy holding dogs' has over 71,000 followers)—takes Woody everywhere, even, it seems, product launches. In the upstairs room at 1 Marylebone Hotel in London, Hardy is endorsing Solarin, the £9,500 titanium-paneled smart phone created by tech company Sirin Labs.

​Hardy has a reputation for being intense in person. He doesn't seem it when I first spot him, sprawled on a sofa in a baseball cap and slightly undone shirt. But a certain focus does reveal itself as we talk, his eyes flickering constantly from me, to the dog, to his e-cigarette and back to me again. His voice is low and gravelly, erupting when he gets animated like a parachute that bursts and slowly deflates as he gets distracted.​

With just ten minutes of his attention, I try and find out a little bit about Hardy's career, future aspirations and why he is, somewhat randomly, branching into tech.​

Why did you decide to get involved with Solarin?
The phone sells itself on military level security, which is essential for me. I often have important bits of footage or photographs of my family that are at high risk of being leaked. Whether I like it or not, I'm part of a framework where anything that I have has to be secure.

Have you had personal experiences with hacking?
All the time. When I send a text about going to meet my Gran at the train station, you'd be surprised who actually turns up. And nobody knows how it gets out. There are various public leaks but there is so much more every day that people don't know about.

You've played a lot of dark or villainous characters, what draws you to those roles?
I just see if I can see it when I read it. Either I feel I can't do it, or it slots in and I know I'd enjoy taking the part and growing with it.

You've worked with directors like Christopher Nolan and Alejandro Iñárritu, what was that experience like?
They are such huge names and they orchestrate vast pieces, so it is always fascinating working with them. Alejandro I've only worked with once but I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Nolan and George Miller I love too. They're all very different in their methods, which keeps things interesting.

Your techniques for getting into character have been described as extreme and sometimes referred to as 'method acting' - do you go along with that?
I don't do method acting. I know it sounds really wanky but I hate the term, it's such a load of pish. It is like training really hard for a fight, and then you get punched in the mouth and your plans go out the window. It's a bit like that with acting - you can train, do all the methods and techniques but it doesn't mean it will work on set.

So how would you describe your own methods?
I think people have an instinctive amount of talent you can't teach, and then you reinforce that with effort and training really hard. You have to take responsibility for your talent, not stagnate. I like watching documentaries, because you're observing real people.​

Next year you'll appear in Nolan's forthcoming film about the evacuation of Dunkirk in WWII, what other ambitions do you have?
I'm no spring chicken and I still want to work with so many people. I love storytelling. I started off acting but I've realised there are so many different ways to tell stories with film, radio and TV whether it is producing or directing.

Finally, what is the one piece of advice you live by?
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. And don't eat yellow snow. That's useful.​

From: Esquire UK.