Tom Hardy on Chuck Norris and MMA Fighters, Plus a New Clip from Warrior
08.20.11 by BJSprecher
English actor Tom Hardy is getting a lot of press lately for his upcoming role as the primary villain in Christopher Nolan's third and final Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR), which is currently in production. But, right now, what Hardy is hoping the media will put the spotlight on is not his stint as Batman's (Christian Bale) juiced-up nemesis, Bane — "I’d rather not talk about [TDKR]." — but on his role as ex-Marine Tommy Riordan, half of a dysfunctional pair of fighting brothers (Joel Edgerton playing the other half) in co-writer and director Gavin O'Connor's (Pride and Glory) new Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) sports drama, Warrior. At the recent press junket for the movie held by Lionsgate in LA, Hardy spoke about how he tried to convince O'Connor to cast him as Riordan and not martial arts and action movie legend Chuck Norris and how, despite their fearsome reputation, MMA fighters can be very "nurturing."
Hardy said that he so wanted the role of Tommy Riordan that he just showed up at O'Connor's doorstep one day and basically begged for the job.
I actually flew out [to Gavin]. I knocked at his door at midnight to tell him why he should hire me to be Chuck Norris because when I read Warrior the first time, I thought it was Chuck Norris that he wanted. I stayed with him for a week and he talked to me a lot about Marines and [his documentary] The Smashing Machine and the UFC and about process, acting process entirely. ... We spent a week talking about that and process and after that he totally went to bat for me to play Tommy.
Hardy went on to say that he was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming and "encouraging" the MMA fighters were that he trained with in preparation for the role.
I had the perception that I would [come] to the gym and there would be a lot of testosterone, a lot of aggression, a lot of judgment towards us for trying to fill the role of the fighter but there was nothing but a nurturing and awesome atmosphere where they basically said, "Welcome to the gym and let’s show you what we know." They were really encouraging.
In conjunction with the press junket, Lionsgate also released the following new preview clip from the movie. Check it out!
The Fighter was written by O'Connor, Anthony Tambakis and Cliff Dorfman, from a story conceived by O'Connor and Dorfman. The cast includes Nick Nolte, Noah Emmerich, Kevin Dunn, Denzel Whitaker, Kurt Angle and Jennifer Morrison