Tom Hardy Took A Leap Of Faith On Christopher Nolan's 'Complex' Inception Script

Tom Hardy is an incredibly intense actor. Even if he's making something as goofily mainstream as "Venom," he throws everything he's got into the role. This can be a bit off-putting at times. His thick Brooklyn accent as Eddie Brock is a wildly heightened variation on the character he played in Michaêl R. Roskam's hugely underrated "The Drop"; it takes some getting used to, and some people just can't get there. But, hey, at least you can understand what he's saying, as opposed to his voice-modulated portrayal of Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises."

In any event, be it a comic book movie or a deathly serious Alejandro González Iñárritu drama, Hardy fully commits – even if he's not entirely sure where the film is headed. This was the case with Christopher Nolan's "Inception," a metatextual action film that unfolds on a grand, blockbuster scale. He knew he was in because Nolan's a world-class filmmaker, but what exactly was he in?

Accepting the role of a cog

If you've seen "Inception," you know it's a film that doesn't completely shake out on one viewing. How could it? The film takes place on several levels of consciousness as Leonardo DiCaprio and his associates attempt to incept an idea in the deepest reaches of people's dreams. It's complex stuff, and Hardy acknowledged this in an interview with Collider's Steve Weintraub:

"When you work with anybody you look up to, you don't want to question them. Seeing as he created it and it's his brainchild, it's all his concept. He did the script and we all saw what he did with THE DARK KNIGHT and BATMAN BEGINS and MEMENTO. This is someone who has the proof in the pudding. He's not someone you need to second-guess. I'm a very small cog in the wheel. When the script came, the complexities were in the shadow of being invented by someone who has clearly done a lot [more] of this than I have. It's not [my] place to say, 'Chris, I want to change your script' or 'Maybe if we tweak this line or change this line' or 'The third act doesn't really work. It falls down' or 'This is a big complicated.' All of that goes out the window."

Trust genius, even if you don't fully understand it

Hardy eventually realized that the characters in the script were, in some way, representative of relationships in Nolan's life, which, for an actor, could be a nightmare to portray. When a work is not only deeply personal but deeply interior, the director might have a difficult time communicating to their actors precisely what they want. But Hardy stuck with it because he trusted Nolan's singular vision. "That's why there was no ego on the set amongst all these very famous and brilliant actors," he said. "Because everyone just defaults to Chris. We're all very grateful to be here. It's a film with a lot of substance as well as a great action movie. It's an anomaly. You don't get that."

Whatever Hardy did in "Inception," it impressed Nolan enough to keep casting the actor. After his physically imposing portrayal of Bane, Hardy re-upped as a cucumber-cool Spitfire pilot who puts his plane down behind enemy lines. These three performances couldn't be more different, and this is why Hardy is one of the most exciting actors working today. He takes big risks and wild swings. You never know what he's going to do next, but even if the movie around him is absolute dreck (like the two "Venom" movies), you know Hardy will be worth watching.