Unlike his role in “The Dark Knight Rises,” Tom Hardy’s face is actually visible in “Lawless.”
The Brit who scored opposite Christian Bale’s Batman as the dastardly terrorist in this summer’s “The Dark Knight Rises” is breaking the law again as the head of a 1930s Tennessee moonshiner clan that includes Shia LaBeouf.
Hardy, who is filming the “Mad Max” reboot with Charlize Theron, can be so convincingly brutal and scary in his films, it’s surprising to hear him say, “I don’t know why but every time I do a character I get a tremendous amount of fear around the start.
“I always go through a pattern of trepidation, like, ‘Oh, no. I can’t do this. This is beyond me.’ I think if I look too closely at something it freaks me out. ‘I’m not capable of achieving what this is asking.’ Until I get there.”
To play Forrest, a moonshiner who believes he’s invincible, Hardy asked himself: “What is the most important thing for Forrest and the brothers?
“The older brother, Howard (Jason Clark), went off to war and came back with some form of PTSD” — post traumatic stress disorder — “because he’s drinking a lot, is un-manageable and uncontainable. Physically he’s the most dangerous of the three.”
Baby brother Jack, played by LaBeouf, “wouldn’t have had a mother or a father figure other than Forrest.
“So Forrest is there to clean, cook, wear the apron, stash money to make sure the boys have their future. Technically, I am these boys’ mother.
“None of this stuff is typical tough guy (expletive) like ‘I’ve got brass knuckles and I’m going to kick your pants and I’m in a gangster movie.’ This is all very human,” he added.
“Then a real woman, Maggie (Jessica Chastain), comes into this world and spins it out. No one’s ever cared for Forrest. So that’s a tough guy that’s just been cracked wide open. She changes his life and slowly they end up together.”
Hardy, who turns 35 Sept. 15, grinned. “Meanwhile, he (Guy Pearce) comes along and tries to destroy everything for my little boys.”
“I know actors who are so geeky, that the accents they use are perfect and concrete all the way down to the zip code. I’m enormously geeky myself, but for me it’s more important that the character is believable, rather than that the accent - in a world where all accents eventually will be found around the corner from each other - is exact.”