By Toni Abiru || Contributing Writer

A couple days ago, I was going through a real dilemma. I was deciding between pure, absolute laziness and writing a three-page essay focused on Anna Deavere Smith.

I definitely adore Anna Deavere Smith and her performance pieces, but on this cold Tuesday night, I had no intention of indulging myself in academic affairs. Following my heart, I decided to procrastinate. I started by reading up on soccer and music news in order to catch up with the world.

Next, I decided to find out what new movies to add to my ever-growing mental list of “movies to see” and so began my YouTube bingeing. I began by viewing the trailers to movies such as Steve Jobs and Suicide Squad; however, it was one particular trailer that caught my attention.

First and foremost, I was enthralled by the background song which is actually “I’m So Sorry” by The Imagine Dragons (I had to look it up). It made me sit up and got my heart pumping almost immediately. Next thing I saw was Tom Hardy, one of my favorite actors of all time. I was

The trailer I watched was Legend, a crime thriller film set in the late 1960s and based on the book The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins by John Pearson. The trailer involves violence, elements of humor and what looks like incredible acting. Hardy plays both of the twins and looks impeccable in both roles.

Then I began to remember the various conversations I’ve had with my peers about the household names in the acting industry. I began to wonder why Hardy’s name was never mentioned as a great actor of our time. I have frequently heard the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Matthew McConaughey, Bradley Cooper and Tom Cruise. 

Why isn’t Tom Hardy ever considered? Why is his name barely even mentioned in any of these conversations? This is Bane we are talking about here!
Personally, I feel he should be considered.

Edward Thomas Hardy, born on Sep. 15, 1977, is the only child of an artist and a comedy writer. Growing up, he was known for being a social misfit as well as getting himself into a lot of trouble. He eventually enrolled in drama school but began to suffer from addiction to alcohol and drugs. In 2001, he dropped out of school to take on a role in the miniseries Band of Brothers, directed by Steven Spielberg. The exposure from this role led to him to his next gig as an army officer in the movie, Black Hawk Down, released in the same year.

His earliest acclaimed role however was in the 2002 film, Star Trek Nemesis. In this role, he played the villain named Roman Praetor Shinzon. This character, bent on destroying the earth, serves as the human clone of Jean-Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart. In 2003, he enrolled in rehab in order to help with his drug abuse. During this time, Hardy also starred in several English production TV series with the most acclaimed being Stuart: A Life Backwards.

In 2008, the media really began to take notice when he played a gay gangster, Handsome Bob, in the Guy Ritchie-directed movie RocknRolla. His performance was applauded, along with those of his co-stars Gerard Butler, Idris Elba and Toby Kebbel. The role was a special landmark in Hardy’s career and was the beginning of his immense rise to fame. His next performance, however, would go ahead to top this one.

Bronson is a fictionalized biographical movie about the life of Michael Gordon Peterson. Peterson was renamed Charles Bronson by his fight promoter and would come to be one of the most dangerous lawbreakers in the UK. Hardy exhibited sheer dedication towards preparing for the role as he put on 42 pounds of muscle in five weeks in his desire for perfection. The real Charles Bronson praised Hardy’s performance of him in Bronson, a film based on his prison journal: Diaries From Hell.

In 2010, Hardy starred in Inception alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He really stood out in this sci-fi thriller and received rave reviews for his role. He went on to win a rising star award at the 2011 BAFTA Awards for this role. In 2011, Hardy went on to star in Warrior, a drama movie about two alienated brothers who encounter each other through mixed martial arts. Critics lauded the movie and Hardy’s star rose up another

To play his role, he took on MMA fighting as well as Muay Thai and kickboxing on a daily basis. The same year, he appeared alongside Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a British adaptation of a spy novel of the same name. By the end of 2011, he had become a part of Hollywood’s A-List.

In 2012, Hardy even took on an unconventional role, starring as a British heartthrob in the action-comedy This Means War, with Chris Pine and Reese Witherspoon. This again provided more evidence of his acting diversity. Afterwards he played one of three bootlegging brothers in the crime drama, Lawless. He once again performed impressively, even with a scar on his throat.

The next movie he played, along with Bronson, is where I believe Hardy has been at his best. In mid-2012, Hardy played Bane, the major super villain in Christopher Nolan’s final film of the Batman series, The Dark Knight Rises. For this role, Hardy put on 30 pounds in three months and mastered Bane’s eerie-sounding voice. On his own, he increased the worldwide popularity of a character who is not nearly as popular in any of the Batman comic books.

In 2013, he starred as the main character in Locke, a drama film almost entirely set in an BMW X5. His performance was once again applauded and the single character portrayed bears similarities to the solo performance art of Anna Deavere Smith.

This year has become Hardy’s biggest yet. He began by becoming a part of Child 44, starring as Leo Demidov, a Soviet Union officer who aims to uncover a set of child murders which occurred when Stalin ruled the U.S.S.R.     Later in the year, he went on to star as the main character in the fourth installment of the Mad Max series, Mad Max: Fury Road. The movie went on to become the highest grossing film of the entire franchise and has been attributed as “one of the best action films ever made.” I recommend this to anyone who wants to be blown away.

Over the years and specifically from 2008 to 2015, Tom Hardy has changed his body, taken on different accents, and starred in movies across different genres, whether in lead roles or supporting roles. The attention he has increasingly gotten is certainly good to see; however, the level of acclaim for his talents deserves to be elevated. He has definitely become Hollywood elite.

Back to my YouTube bingeing, the next trailer I saw after Legend was The Revenant. In this drama thriller, Hardy is playing John Fitzgerald alongside Will Poultier and Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie is directed by Alejandro G. Iñarritu (known for Birdman) and personally, I cannot wait for this blockbuster to come out. First of all, it would provide the final push for me to start completing my “mental movie” list. However, more importantly, it will once again confirm the fact that Tom Hardy can stand his ground and shine among the best in the business.

First-year Toni Abiru is a contributing writer. His email