Tom Hardy


  1. Jeremy Renner, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, 2010. The new M:I agent William Brandt was designed, everyone said, to succeed Tom Cruise when he tired of being Ethan Hunt. Paramount checked out Renner, Christopher Egan, Anthony Mackie, Kevin Zegers and – already in the Paramount family due to the Star Trek franchise – Chris Pine. Renner was still around in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, 2014. But so was Cruise!

  2. Colin Farrell, Total Recall, 2011.   Due to the impact of Christopher Nolan’s Inception, the Englishman was just too scheduled… with This Means War, Nolan’s The Dark KnightRisesand the new Mad Maxmovie Fury Road.  Same for the other busy Brit, Michael Fassbender. Pierce Brosnan once tipped fellow Irishman Farrell for 007.  I never saw why until  his action hero in this stunning (if critically slaughtered) re-make.  Although director Len Wiseman’s new take failed  at any retread’s #1 rule. Build a better movie.

  3. Aaron Johnson, Savages, 2011.     Like Leonardo DiCaprio, James Franco and Garrett Hedlund, Hardy was far too busy to take up Oliver Stone’s drama about two pals growing such great pot that a Mexican drug cartel threatens to kill their girlunless they work for the drug lords..

  4. Chris Hemsworth, Snow White and the Huntsman, 2011.    For the first of two revisionist Ms Whites that year, Hardy had to bow to the new flavour of the newmonth – Thor. And his $65m opening.
  5. Ryan Reynolds, Safe House,  2011.     All the new guys – Hardy, Zac Efron, Andrew Garfield, Jake Gylllenhaal, Garrett Hedlund, Chris Hemsworth, Taylor Kitsch, Shia LaBeouf, James McAvoy, Chris Pine, Channing Tatum, Sam Worthington – angled  to be the freshman CIA babysitter  rescuing Denzel Washington in the  Hollywood debut of Swedish director Daniel Espinosa.
  6. Benjamin Walker, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, 2011.      Less beautiful than Buffy or not, the oddest vampire slayer of all was a  hot 3D project (he throws a mean axe!) and a great role – Honest Abe, the 16th US president, from 20  to 55,  during his other life. (His mother had been  slain  by a vampire). After seeing Tom, Eric Bana, Adrien Brody, James D’Arcy, Ron Huebel, Josh Lucas, Timothy Olyphant  and newcomer Oliver Jackson-Cohen, the  Russian producer-director Timur Bekmambetov voted Walker. Another producer was Tim Burton. So where was Johnny Depp? 
  7. Ray Winstone, The Sweeney, 2011.     Hardy was short-listed for Detective Inspector Jack Regan (with Orlando Bloom as Detective Constable George Carter) when the suits were (correctly) going younger in the totally unnecessary  – and bad! – re-hash – of the 1975-1978 Thames TV series about the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad.  (Or, Sweeney Todd in Cockney rhyming slang).  Winstone remembered  being an extra in a 1976 episode, Loving Arms. 
  8. Mark Strong, Zero Dark Thirty, 2012.     Quick change by Kathleen Bigelow for her first film since being the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar (for The Hurt Locker on March 7, 2010). Subject: How a US Navy Seal team hunted and killed America’s Public Enemy #1: Osama bin Laden in 2011.
  9.  Paul Bettany, Transcendence, 2013.      Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer Wally Pfister  was spoilt for choice of (eager) stars for his directing debut.  Max was up between McGregor, Jude Law, Tobey Maguire –  and Tom Hardy from  the Chris ’n’ Wally 2011 show, The Dark Knight Rises.

  10. Jason Clarke, Terminator: Genesis, 2014. Terminator begins again… Hardy tested in November 2013 but his overcrowded agenda – the busiest in world movies at the time – prevented him following Christian Bale from Gotham City to Terminator country. Good job, too. The reboot sucked. Hardy became the new Mad Max instead – ironically as Mad Max II: The Road Warrior, 1980, had been high among James Cameron’s er, influences for the first, 1983 Terminator.
  11. Jason Clarke, Everest,  2014. Idem –  Clarke for Hardy – in Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur’s account of a team’s fatal assault on the planet’s highest peak. Having reached the summit, they died on the descent when, as Australian critic Louise Keller put it, mother nature thrashed her whip
  12. Alexander Skarsgård, The Legend of Tarzan, 2014.   Warner Bros was keen. Tom, not so much. Next? Fellow Brits Henry Cavill, already the studio’s Superman and Napoleon Solo (and a lot of good that did him!) and Charlie Hunnam. Plus, in the hallowed Johnny Weissmuller tradition, US Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps – the most decorated Olympian, with 23 gold medals from five Games during 2000-2016.  The other American in the jungle mix was Matt Barr, a  Hunnam  lookalike from Texas – and Kevin Costner’s Hatfields & McCoys mini-series.  The ape-man  is a Skarsgård family hero. Poppa Stellan showed the Weissmuller films to his seven sons. Alexander is the oldest and hoped the youngest, Kolbjörn, would not consider  him  “a shit Tarzan”!     He had to wait until the delayed 2016 summer release to find out. 
  13. Joel Edgerton, Black Mass, 2014.   In this account  of Boston gang boss Whitey Bulger (ie Jack Nicholson in The Departed and  #1 on the FBI Most Wanted list during the 80s/90s), Hardy had to pass  to Edgerton the ripe role of  the crooked FBI agent, James Connolly, helping Bulger (who had protected him at school) to avoid jail and tackle the Italian Mafia muscling in on his territory… in  a way that was damn near  black-comedy. Johnny Depp won great reviews as Burger – except from his old gangsters.  . The  $2m reward on his head was the largest until  the hunt for  Osama bin Laden.
  14. Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange, 2015.  Discussed, planned, written, re-spun since 1986, always dropped despite scripts from Alex Cox, Wes Craven, Bob Gale, etc, until chosen as the  portal into the supernatural side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.Mads Mikkelsen  was first choice. But that was in in 2013…  Among those later flown up the flagpole were  TV doctor Patrick Dempsey, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jon Hamm, Tom Hardy, Ethan Hawke, Jack Huston, Oscar Isaac, Matthew McConaughey, Ewan McGregor, Vincent Price (in 1986!), Keanu Reeves (listed but never approached – how wise!), Justin Theroux. Oh and two Jokers: 2015’s Jared Leto and 2018’s Joachin Phoenix.  Finally, production wisely waited until after Cumberbatch’s Hamlet stagetriumph in London. If Iron Man is Mick Jagger, Strange is Jim Morrison…  and could be head of the MCU when Robert Downey pawned his ironmongery.
  15. Joel Kinnaman, Suicide Squad, 2015.    Held up by The Revenant delays. the ever hectic Hardy had to quit the DC Comic empire’s squad. Rick Flagg was finally waved by the Swedish-American – who had been Hardy’s foe in the under-rated Child 44 flop that year.Also in the mix for DC’s Dirty Dozen, a black ops force of supervillains, forced, blackmailed or offered  deals to work for the US government., Jake Gyllenhaal, Jon Bernthal, Jason Clarke, Joel Egerton and Karl Urban.
  16. Oscar Isaac, X Men: Apocalypse, 2015.    “Everything they built will fall! And from the ashes of their world, we’ll build a better one!”   Producer-director Bryan Singer shuffled through Hardy, Isaac and Idris Elba for the arduous make-up, high-heeled boots and a 40 lb suit of En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse  – quite possibly, the world’s first mutant.  Isaac called him the “creative/destructive force of the Earth.”

  17. Matthew McConaughey, The Dark Tower, 2016. 
    The 220th of King’s staggering 313 screen credits is the worst.  Since Carrie in 1976, King’s filmed books come along in good/bad patches. Dependinbg, not on the stories, usually supernatural, but how they’re made – film or series – and  by who. . Frank Darabont, Rob Reiner made classics; Stanley Kubrick and King, himself, did not. As this tale is one of eight exhilarating books, it merits a series, not this middling mess  (stuffed with King references) from director Nikolaj Arcel – a not so great Dane who by 2020 hasn’t helmed (or harmed)  another movie. (Back when there were only seven  books, JJ Abrams planned to film ‘em all).  Christian Bale, Javier Bardem, Viggo Mortensen, plus  the 2006 Casino Royale good and bad guys, Daniel Craig and Mads Mikkelsen,  were up for Roland, The Gunslinger (“I do not kill with my gun, I kill with my heart”), trying to save the vital tower from Matthew McConaughey’s Man in Black  (or is he really The Stand’s walkin’ dude, Randall Flagg?). When such strong (on-the-page) characters are upstaged by young Brit Tom Taylor, 14, as a typical King kid, you know something’s very wrong.

  18. Russell Crowe, The Mummy, 2016.   .  “Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters…” In this reboot of 2007’s planned   Mummy 4- Rise of the Aztecs(replacing hero Brendan Fraser (no, really) with Tom Cruise), five actors were in the horror mix for “Henry” – Dr Jeykll, that is. Crowe, Hardy, Javier Bardem, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eddie Redmayne. However, Cruise’s Mum flopped (a mere $4000m globally) and Universal scrapped its Dark Universe movies about Dr Crowe and Bardem as Frankensteinls Monster.
  19. Jared Leto, The Outsider, 2017.    Usually innovative, Netflix went backwards  for a weak and déjà vu Yakuza drama with hints of Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku. Just not enough. Hardy had to pass – as usual. Jeeremy Renner was called but Edgerton answered. Michael Fassbender had been a much earlier choice.
  20. Taron Egerton, Rocketman, 2018.   Universal was wary of the Elton Jonn bio-musical because Elton refused to cut out all  his drugs, booze, gay sex and a  suicide attempt. UK producer Matthew Vaughn came to the rescue when editing Kingsman: The Golden Circle (starring Egerton plus a cameo from Elton) but he had  two concerns: Tom Hardy was too old [41] and he was going to mime the songs! Vaughn then explained how for his audition to join the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Egerton sang Your Song, andlater voiced the gorilla belting out I’m Still Standing in 2015 Singtoon. “When they [Elton and his life and business partner, producer David Furnish] heard Taron sing, it was like a no brainer. ‘He’s unbelievable’.”  Right! As Elton wrote after seeing the movie: “I didn’t think it was Taron. I thought it was me.”
  21. Ben Affleck,Triple Frontier, 2019.Five buddies take down a South American drug lord. But which magnificent five?  Well, it was only the squad leaders  mentioned – one wrinklie, one younger –as the script lay on the ropes for eight years, going from directors Kathleen Bigelow to JC Chandor and from Paramount to, but of course, Netflix.  Tom Hanks-Johnny Depp were the 2010 duo, followed by Denzel Washington-Sean Penn, Tom Hardy-Channing Tatum, plus Ben Affleck and his bro, Casey. And finally Ben Affleck-Hunnam. Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith and Mark Wahlberg also featured in the mixes – minus any cited pardner.
  22. Michael B Jordan, Tom Clancy’s Remorse, 2019.  The 1993 book was aboutthe hardass tough guy  John Kelly who became John Clark in the Jack Ryan franchise, played by Willem Dafoe in Clear and Present Danger, 1993, and Liev Schreiber in The Sum of All Fears, 2001.  Preferring  his John Wick franchise,  Keanu Reeves passed on $7m for a ’94 Clark solo trip. Gary Sinise was due in ‘ 95, Tom, Hardy in 2012 and finally Jordan – already  Adonis Creed, Erik Killmonger, Guy Montag, Johnny Storm –  had a new hero to embody. 









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