This is going to be Tom Hardy‘s summer. The British actor who first broke through Stateside two years ago in Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending hit Inception (His real breakthrough came in the British prison flick Bronson, two years earlier), has two major films coming out over the next few months. One is called The Dark Night Rises, and you may have heard of it, while the other is called Lawless, and you may not have heard of it. Either one, or both, should provide a big-time boost to his profile.Hardy’s season kicked off yesterday, as Christopher Nolan screened a brief preview of the final film in his acclaimed Batman trilogy hours before the first trailer for Lawless hit the internet. Speaking before an audience of mostly theater owners at CinemaCon in Las Vegas—which also featured earlier this week the first showing of Sacha Baron Cohen’s completed The Dictator and ten divisive minutes from Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit—Nolan said that he is facing the end of the series that he has devoted nearly a decade to since 2005’s Batman Begins with “mixed feelings.” The clips opened on Hardy as the masked villain Bane, a role he is already getting rabid attention for. It will be an uphill climb to follow in the footsteps of Heath Ledger and his posthumous Oscar for his turn as the Joker in The Dark Knight, but from what we’ve heard, Hardy is game for the effort.
With his summertime box-office smash safely in the bag, Hardy will next be shoring up his highbrow cred with Lawless, director John Hillcoat’s follow-up to his brutal and searing 2009 postapocalyptic masterpiece The Road. It was announced last week that the movie has received the stamp of approval from the Cannes Film Festival, where it will be screening in competition for the Palme d’Or. Based on Matt Bondurant’s historical novel The Wettest County in the World, Lawless also features Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowski, and Shia LaBeouf in a violent story about a family of moonshiners in Prohibition-era Virginia. From the looks of things, the film aims for the same potent violence and sere aesthetic as No Country for Old Men, and it has potential to be a crossover hit for a director who likes to make his audiences work. Someone get this man a bigger trailer.
[Ed. Note: We saw Lawless, and while Tom Hardy is a force of nature in it, the thing belongs to Guy Pearce.]