Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy and a Dog in The Drop

In 2011, director Michaël R. Roskam made a big splash with his riveting debut film, Bullhead. Like plenty of foreign directors that have made an impression in the States, he’s following up that critical darling with an American picture. Not all have succeeded in that transition, but Roskam has made a smooth passage with The Drop, an emotionally compelling and admirably old-fashioned crime film. Adapted by Denis Lehane and based on his own short story, “Animal Rescue,” The Drop is about people grappling with the past. At the center of it all is Bob Saganowski (Tom Hardy). He’s a quiet man who keeps to himself, only interested in tending bar for his cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), a former gangster who used to own the place but lost it to a local Chechen crime boss (Michael Aronov). For him, Bob and Marv handle “the drop,” which involves the safekeeping of all the mob’s money in the bar. One night before closing, the place is robbed. While Marv and the boss search for who is behind the holdup, Bob begins a close friendship with a stranger (Noomi Rapace) after the two find a beaten pit bull left in a trash can.

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Tom and Leo in Inception

Two years ago, we told you about a project teaming up Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy and Tobey Maguire as producers of a drama about animal trafficking for Warner Bros. The film was inspired by Hardy’s friends, former Special Forces operatives who went on to become anti-poaching fighters in South Africa and other nations where the problem ran rampant. Although that project is still in development with Hardy in the lead, Deadline reports the same three have signed with the same studio to produce another film about the same issue, and they may all star in this one. Scripted by Will Staples, so far best known for writing video games and the as-yet-unmade Mission: Impossible 5, the new project will follow a structure somewhat in the vein of Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, as in it’s taking a multistory approach to the impact of animal poaching. The film will explore the heinous industry from every facet and angle, from the dirty back door dealings that start the whole process, to a glimpse into the life of a poacher — and what could possibly make hunting down and slaying animals for profit a great career choice — to every single minion hanging out in the seedy dark corners of a trade that okays capturing an elephant for its ivory and storming the seas to fish for sharks for their valuable fins.

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Mad Max: Fury Road

After over a decade of trying, director George Miller finally got to make another entry in the Mad Max series…almost two years ago. The film began shooting all the way back in the fall of 2012, but it wasn’t until this year’s Comic-Con that anyone saw a lick of footage from Mad Max: Fury Road. The action-packed trailer impressed those in Hall H, thanks to plenty of practical stunts, muscular action, and a promising glimpse of a return to one of the coolest worlds and character ever put to film. Max is now played by Tom Hardy, who is of course a beast of a man that’s well-suited for the character once played by Mel Gibson. Will Hardy’s performance reflect Gibson’s iconic work as Max or is Hardy and Miller going in a different direction? That’s a question director George Miller answered in the press conference for Mad Max: Fury Road, a story that takes place “45 to 50 years after the opening of the movie.” Miller had plenty more to say, so we made sure to take notes. We also get our first look, which was released online today.

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Mad Max: Fury Road

George Miller wasn’t afraid to let it all hang out during the Comic-Con press conference for Mad Max: Fury Road. And by “it,” I’m of course referring to the legendary 67-year-old filmmaker’s wild ambition. Miller has been trying to make Fury Road for a long time. Hearing him speak at the Comic Con press conference, it’s easy to see why his heart has been in this sequel for well over a decade: it’s not your average summer movie. Mad Max: Fury Road is an almost nonstop chase. 80% of the movie is comprised of action. To make it sound even sweeter, Miller wanted to deliver stunt-heavy action that leaned on practical effects. Dangerous stunts and chases is what this series is all about, so, thankfully, the filmmaker hasn’t forgotten a part of what made his trilogy so special.

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Mad Max: Fury Road

Let’s take a little journey back in time, oh, say about five years, to when we first heard tell of George Miller‘s latest installment of the Mad Max franchise, a small, dusty feature called Mad Max: Fury Road. Back then, in September of 2009 (do you even remember September of 2009? here’s a hint — the number one song for most of that month was “Obsessed” by Mariah Carey), the film was set to star an impressive duo of talents — the just-rising Tom Hardy and the always-good Charlize Theron. While their involvement hasn’t changed in the five years since the film was first announced, plenty else has. Really, plenty, from the rumor that it was to shoot back-to-back with a sequel to the plan to lens the whole thing in Australia to the obvious buzz that it would be shot in 3D. There’s also the fact that we’ve been talking about this film for nearly half a decade and that it’s finally, finally happening. Really! Mad Max: Fury Road is indeed happening — in fact, it’s happening so much that it already happened. The film has already been shot and is in post-production but that doesn’t mean a whole lot without a fresh glimpse at its two stars, now does it?

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The Drop

It’s been a little over a year since the world lost James Gandolfini and his many talents, but it’s making the transition a little softer knowing that the late, great actor still had several films in the can when he passed. The final film of that bunch is set to arrive, meaning The Drop is the last new film in which we’ll ever see the former Tony Soprano do what he does best: intimidate the hell out of everyone around him and boss around one or two or a dozen shady individuals. The Drop, directed by Michael R. Roskam (Bullhead) isn’t just a vehicle for showcasing Gandolfini. As all good crime movies begin, the trailer starts us off in a very ornate, probably Catholic church where our protagonists are likely attempting to repent for some unforgivable sins. Might as well have the big guy on your side if you’re going to get tangled up in something that could leave you riddled with bullets. Gandolfini is Marv, the owner (or maybe not?) of a bar where his cousin Bob (Tom Hardy) helps out bartending and watching his back. Now the trouble with Marv, and a little bit with Bob, is that they both have criminal pasts — Bob has opted to leave his there, while Marv is letting his leak more and more into the present, where it’s infecting the business of the bar, and the well-being of his family, including Bob’s love (Noomi Rapace), who has taken on an excellent concerned — […]

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Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson in THE ROVER

Lionsgate was a pioneering label for brooding dramas, compelling imports and insightful nonfiction until it partnered with Tyler Perry, Jigsaw, and a certain YA book series. Miramax was the flagship of envelope-pushing American indies until the Weinsteins became better known for re-cutting films than for supporting filmmakers. Focus Features was the home of young early-aughts visionaries like Sofia Coppola, Michel Gondry and Joe Wright until CEO James Schamus was ousted to “broaden its portfolio.” As indie distributors and studio subsidiaries refocus their efforts towards studio-sized earnings, their previously coherent brand identities as vessels of imaginative filmmaking quickly fade out. Since the indie boom of the ‘90s gave way to the ‘00’s bottom lines, it’s been increasingly difficult and frustrating to rely on name distributors to continually devote their efforts toward risky films. All of which makes it all the more incredible that A24 has made itself into a distributor dedicated to anything but convention – and, at that, has assembled a slate of films defined by a certain amount of risk and subversion. With its 2013 slate – which included Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, Coppola’s The Bling Ring, Sally Potter’s Ginger and Rosa and James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now – A24’s first year was (intentionally or not) focused on films that produced a dark, incisive and more complex vision of youth than can be found elsewhere. But A24’s 2014 films have provided something even more needed in the current cinematic landscape: central performances that openly defy cinematic convention and expectation.

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Locke Movie

Over a year ago we saw Steven Knight makes his directorial debut with Redemption. The acclaimed screenwriter behind Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things exhibited a clean eye for striking images and keen acting, with Jason Statham giving the most dramatically compelling performance of his career. It was a conventional yarn, despite being about a nun and a haunted gangster falling in love, but it was finely told, if a bit safe. Knight’s second effort behind the camera, Locke, doesn’t play it safe at all, yielding a powerful 85-minute result. We’ve seen plenty of single location films, but setting a movie almost entirely in a car with a character consistently talking on the phone is ambition itself. Knight’s script matches that audacity. Locke is a thriller, except the suspense comes from interpersonal drama, not gun fights and explosions. Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is a hardworking and honest family man. It’s a big night for him: his family is excited to watch a major football match together and the next day he’s meant to oversee the biggest concrete pour in European history. The problem is he won’t be present for either the football match or the pour. Months earlier he cheated on his wife (voiced by Ruth Wilson) with Bethan (voiced by Olivia Colman), who’s about to give birth to his child. She’s having a premature delivery, and Locke wants to be there for the child, so he’s driving to meet her at the hospital. Within his car, he’ll have to tell his wife about the affair, his bosses about leaving town, and make sure everything goes according at work […]

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Minority Report Movie

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Locke Movie - Tom Hardy

Start up the trailer for Locke, and the first thing you’ll see, right smack in the middle of the screen, is the BMW logo. Then, you’ll see Tom Hardy, seated in a BMW. Streetlights reflect off the vehicle’s glossy exterior. A faint orange glow dances across Hardy’s face from over the steering wheel. It can’t be long before Hardy starts extolling the virtues of the luxurious, all-new 428i Series. But Locke is a movie, not a BMW ad. It’s just a movie that happens to take place entirely within one car and entirely within real time. Hardy stars as a fellow named Ivan Locke, who’s driving to London and has a few phone calls to make during the long trek. And that’s the movie — Locke will dial up various people, confront various problems, and (from the looks of the trailer, anyway) have his mental state rapidly deteriorate. The “one character, one setting” movie has been done before, with All is Lost, 127 Hours, Buried, and so forth. But with all those films, it’s a dude who’s physically isolated from the rest of the world and is trying his hardest to not die horribly. With Locke, Hardy’s still safe within the bonds of civilization, and from the looks of this first footage there doesn’t seem to be much life-or-death struggle.

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At this point, it feels a little foolish to doubt Tom Hardy‘s transformative properties. Pick any two films from his filmography and you’ll find yourself faced with two drastically different Hardys. He may be rail-thin or bulging with muscle. Soft-spoken or screamingly incoherent. Like snowflakes, no two Tom Hardy performances are ever quite the same. So when the news comes in, as it has (via Deadline Hollywood), that Hardy has officially signed on to play Elton John in the biopic Rocket Man, all we can really do is shrug our shoulders and say “yeah, that sounds about right.” Before too long, Hardy will have made himself over in the image of the famous musician, sporting massive sunglasses and sequin-covered clothing, and will probably learn a thing or two about playing the piano. Although he may not be doing too much singing – according to the official press release, the real Elton John will be re-recording his own songs for use in the film.

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gibson

What is Casting Couch? It’s the news column that answers important questions like, what’s next for Denzel Washington? Which two Community cast members are going to do film work together? And how is that kid from Mud doing finding another job? You may had thought you’d seen the last of Mel Gibson, but a handful of public meltdowns can’t kill a career that had reached the heights of his, they can only cool it off for a few years. Is the public ready to dip their toes back into the Gibson waters to see if they’re still feeling manic and racist? That’s what Sylvester Stallone may soon find out, because Showbiz411 is claiming to have a source close to the matters that says Gibson has been hired to play the villain in The Expendables 3. It’s a rumor, but one they seem pretty confident of. If it does prove to be true, are you willing to give such a vital actor a shot at a second chance? Or does antisemitism and demanding blow jobs from everyone in a ten block radius earn someone a lifetime black mark in your book?

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Tom Hardy

Yup, this one is certainly unexpected. HitFix reports that the leading role in the upcoming Elton John biopic, Rocketman, is currently “out to Tom Hardy,” which the outlet clarifies does not “mean they’ve made him a formal offer yet, or even that he’s interested,” but it does mean that the Rocketman team is interested in the star.  John himself is serving as an executive producer on the project, which is coming to us from director Michael Gracey and screenwriter Lee Hall, and has been billed as “a biographical musical fantasy that weaves together the life of Sir Elton John and his music.” What’s most weird about the Hardy news is that, back in January of 2012, John himself announced that he wanted Justin Timberlake to play him in the biopic, a pick that certainly makes a hell of a lot more sense. Timberlake is clearly a busy guy, but playing John seems like a totally natural fit, so it’s strange that it hasn’t materialized and that Hardy is already seemingly in the mix. We’ll be keeping a close watch on this one. Until then, there’s always Gnomeo and Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes.

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khan

It’s long been said that the Star Trek movies work on an unwritten rule that the odd numbered ones wind up being disappointments and the even numbered ones wind up being the ones that are worth watching. If you go down the lineup and check the work on that theory, it seems to hold up. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was widely considered to be a misfire, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was considered to be the rebound that got things right, and then things keep sticking to that pattern all the way up to the tenth movie, Star Trek: Nemesis, which is said to have ended the streak of even numbered movies being good and is essentially the reason the franchise had to go through a reboot. Of course, if you’ve read this column before, you can probably predict that I don’t agree with this assessment. The Wrath of Khan is widely considered to be the best of the Star Trek movies, but to my non-fan eyes it plays as a set-bound bore full of paunchy, over the hill actors who were well past needing to be put out to pasture. Maybe you need an emotional investment in the franchise to really get its appeal. Nemesis, on the other hand, starts really horribly with a cringe-worthy wedding scene full of clunky banter and fake laughter, but as it goes on it develops into becoming an entertaining enough big, dumb action movie. It’s the perfect thing for the […]

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cumberbatch trek 01

It’s a great week for Benedict Cumberbatch. Moviegoers around the world (though not yet in the U.S.) are currently flocking to see Star Trek Into Darkness, in which he plays the villain. And another film he’s set to star in has already become a humongous success thanks to a quick crowdfunding drive at Indiegogo. The newer project is a short titled Little Favour and will feature the Sherlock Holmes star as a PTSD-suffering man enlisted by an old friend (Harry Potter actor Nick Moran) to “help with a deal gone wrong.” With six days still remaining in the effort, Little Favour has already greatly surpassed its goal of £25,000 ($38,385) and looks to possibly triple that amount. This is a pretty remarkable achievement for a campaign that has nothing illustrating its potential, not a video nor storyboards nor any other sort of proof of concept. We don’t even know how long it’ll be. And the film is written and will be directed by newcomer Patrick Viktor Monroe, who is otherwise best known as Tom Hardy’s personal trainer and assistant (he also beefed up Cumberbatch for Star Trek). Producers on the project are also relative unknowns, Adam Ackland (second AD on The Killing Gene) and Ben Dillon, whose usual job is coordinating vehicles for movies including the upcoming Kick-Ass 2.

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Tom Hardy

What is Casting Couch? It’s feeling a little left out this week since casting agents seem to be focused on getting their clients pilots for the next TV season, but it’s got a couple pieces of big movie casting news anyway. Chances are, as much as Tom Hardy’s face shows up in these casting updates, you assumed that he already had enough jobs to last him for the next decade or so. Turns out this isn’t the case. Whether or not Hardy actually gets around to starring in all of the projects he has in development will remain to be seen, but for now he has another gig to add to the pile. Deadline is reporting that he’s developing a new film with first time feature director Greg Williams called Samarkand. Much like the short film that Williams and Hardy collaborated on, Sergeant Slaughter, My Big Brother, this one will be dealing with the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental disorder that often plagues post-war combat soldiers. Williams co-wrote the script with his brother Olly, who reportedly has some real-life experience dealing with the issue. It will see Hardy portraying an SAS soldier returning from a tour in the Middle East and having trouble reintegrating with society. This is good news, because Hardy is even dreamier when he gets to keep his English accent.

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Christian_Bale

In a movie climate that’s mostly concerned with alien invasions and superhero showdowns, we haven’t gotten a good, old-fashioned man vs. nature disaster movie in a while. So, in tribute to the summer that brought us both Deep Impact and Armageddon, and the summer that brought us both Dante’s Peak and Volcano, Hollywood now has two movies about climbing Mount Everest in development. The first one, that we’ve already heard about, is called Everest, it’s going to be directed by Doug Liman, and it stars Tom Hardy as George Mallory, a British man who tried to scale Everest three times in the 1920s and eventually died on the mountain. Deadline has the rundown of the second Everest film that’s now being developed. It, confusingly, is also going by the simple title of Everest, but it’s going to tell the much more recent tale of a big winter storm that hit the mountain in 1996, while there were three different ongoing climbing expeditions, and led to the death of eight people. Baltasar Kormákur (Contraband) is set to direct the film, which shouldn’t be much of a stretch for him, given the fact that he made a stranded in Arctic waters movie called The Deep last year. The big news though is that Christian Bale is in early talks to star in the film, which should give it the star power necessary to go up against a dueling mountain movie that stars Tom Hardy.

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Tom Hardy

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news round-up that continues its jam-packed week with stories involving Jesse Eisenberg, Emile Hirsche, Matt Smith, Kristen Stewart, Pierce Brosnan, and even more. We’re bursting at the seams here, people. Hearing that übermensch Tom Hardy is going to get a chance to beef up and kick some ass on screen is never a bad thing, so rejoice in the news that he’s just been cast as the lead of an action film called Locke. Anthem announced today [via ComingSoon] that they’ll be financing the film, which comes from a script by and will be directed by Eastern Promises writer Steven Knight. Locke is said to be about a man named Ivan Locke who receives a fateful phone call one day that forces him to put his entire life on the line in a “tension-fueled ninety minute race against time.” Title is the main character’s last name, plot has a real-time element…yeah, this definitely sounds like it was supposed to be a Jason Statham movie. Looks like somebody’s got some competition.

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Tom Hardy

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that’s bursting at the seams after Hollywood had a very gabby twenty-four hours. Dig in. Tom Hardy: quite simply, he’s awesome. But can he do a Russian accent? We’re likely to find out now that he’s signed up to co-star alongside the also awesome Noomi Rapace in a new film called Child 44. Deadline reports that this one is about a Soviet war hero who uncovers a mass murder and is suddenly faced with doubts about the country he’s spent his life believing in and fighting for. Michael R. Roskam will be directing the film, which is an adaptation of the first in a trilogy of Tom Rob Smith novels. So, if you like bleak Soviet Union-set murder stories, you might be getting sequels!

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df3635859b6837f5af86ba2fa0165411_large

Crowdfunding campaigns are everywhere these days, and with this week’s report on the huge success of films financed through Kickstarter (more than 8,500 projects have made their goal since 2009), the number is sure to keep getting bigger. So, how do you choose which projects to help out, if that’s something you’re interested in? The easiest way to go is to find familiar talent, such as a veteran indie filmmaker looking to both avoid the established studios and financiers and focus on pleasing his fans rather than a suit with a checkbook. Animator Bill Plympton is a perfect model for how crowdfunding works best with an artist’s fanbase, by calling on and also giving back to the loyal followers as well as potential newbies. His latest feature, Cheatin’, is currently in the works and needs financial support, which he’s seeking through Kickstarter. It’s likely mostly people who know and love past “Plymptoons” like the feature-length Idiots and Angels (which we recently recommended you stream), the Oscar-nominated shorts The Face and Guard Dog and his brilliant first feature, The Tune, who will be lending a hand.

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