'Warrior' stars Hardy and Edgerton have eyes on Batman, Gatsby
In 2009, when “Warrior” director Gavin O’Connor first cast Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton as two estranged brothers who meet in the ring of a mixed martial arts tournament, both actors were relative unknowns in Hollywood. By the end of 2012, moviegoers will have seen the British Hardy and the Australian Edgerton in several high-profile roles, including Hardy as the villain in Christopher Nolan’s Batman sequel “The Dark Knight Rises” and Edgerton in Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby.”
“We’re always trying to judge that X-factor, that charisma, that thing that you can’t really define or put on a piece of paper,” said Joe Drake, president of Lionsgate’s motion picture group, of slotting Hardy and Edgerton into the roles. “They had it, they had a great look. And their performances at that time, they were extraordinary. Our job is to try to identify that and then bet on it.”
Hardy has a more utilitarian view of his and Edgerton's casting.
"A lot of imported actors are probably here because they have a certain amount of credibility, but they’re not bankable and they’re useful to the machine," he said in an interview conducted in July at a screening of "Warrior" for Marines at Camp Pendleton. "They fill a spot in the machine. How it turns out in the long run, we just don’t know.... We were available. [Director Gavin O’Connor] could break our noses and ribs." (That interview — which includes Hardy and Edgerton's discussion their training and theories about the rise of MMA fighting — appears in Thursday's newspaper.)
For a primer on the stars’ careers—the roles that put them on the map and the ones soon to follow, here’s a cheat sheet, with video interview of Edgerton discussing his upcoming projects:
“Warrior” role: Responsible ex-fighter-turned-teacher Brendan Conlon
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
What put him on industry radar screens: Edgerton played hot-tempered Stanley Kowalski opposite Cate Blanchett’s Blanche DuBois in a critically praised 2009 Sydney Theatre Company production of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” which later traveled to New York.
What put him on audience radar screens: Edgerton was Luke Skywalker’s uncle in two of the “Star Wars” prequels (in 2002 and 2005).
What’s next: He’s a heroic helicopter pilot who stumbles onto some extraterrestrial activity in Antarctica in October’s “The Thing,” a prequel to the 1982 John Carpenter sci-fi horror film; a wishful dad married to Jennifer Garner in next September’s family movie “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”; and the arrogant Tom Buchanan opposite Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jay Gatsby in Baz Luhrman’s 2012 adaptation of “The Great Gatsby.”
Hot project: Edgerton has also met with Kathryn Bigelow about her untitled 2012 movie on the capture of Osama bin Laden, though is not yet officially attached to the project. See him field questions from Amy Kaufman about that film and his other future projects in this video from "Warrior's" red carpet premiere Tuesday.
“Warrior” role: Stoic Marine Tommy Conlon
Hometown: London, England
What put him on industry radar screens: Hardy had delivered some strong soldiering performances in “Blackhawk Down” (2001) and HBO’s “Band of Brothers” (2001), but the actor’s breakout was his role as the notoriously violent British prisoner Charles Bronson in Nicholas Winding Refn’s stylized 2008 biopic “Bronson.”
What put him on audience radar screens: Hardy was the identity forger “Eames”—the least nerdy dream hijacker—in Christopher Nolan’s “Inception.”
What’s next: He plays a scalp-hunting hit man in the John Le Carré adaptation “Tinker Tailor Solider Spy” in December, a violent bootlegger in the Depression-era yarn “The Wettest County in the World,” and a spy vying for Reese Witherspoon’s affection in "This Means War," set for February 2012.
Hot project: The role fanboys are waiting for is next year’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” in which Hardy is Bane, the comic book villain perhaps best known for breaking Batman’s back.
Photo: Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton in "Warrior." Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Lionsgate