Tom Hardy Is In Dark Knight Rises Denial (and 8 Other Revelations From the Warrior Press Conference)
When The Fighter premiered last year, Lionsgate was sitting on Warrior, another "fighter" film about the deeply rooted rivalry between two working-class brothers. Directed by Gavin O'Connor (Miracle), the action drama features burgeoning stars Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy (both of whom force fed themselves chicken and trained brutally to attain realistically rock hard MMA physiques) and Nick Nolte as their recovering alcoholic father who so desperately seeks their forgiveness. In anticipation of this gritty Sept. 9 release, O'Connor and his stars Nolte, Edgerton, Hardy and Jennifer Morrison gathered Friday at the Los Angeles press conference to discuss Warrior, their upcoming big budget projects (Dark Knight Rises and The Great Gatsby) and in the case of Nolte, Katharine Hepburn's affinity for drunks and the enduring social message of his '80s Eddie Murphy comedy 48 Hours. Click through for the revelations.
1. Hardy originally thought that he would have to beat out Chuck Norris for his Warrior role -- and acted accordingly.
"I actually flew out [to Gavin]," Hardy revealed. "I knocked at his door at midnight to tell him why he should hire me to be Chuck Norris because when I read Warrior the first time, I thought it was Chuck Norris that he wanted. I stayed with him for a week and he talked to me a lot about Marines and [his documentary] The Smashing Machine and the UFC and about process, acting process entirely. [...] We we spent a week talking about that and process and after that he totally went to bat for me to play Tommy."
2. In this case, MMA fighters were completely supportive of the actors portraying them onscreen.
Edgerton explained, "I had the perception that I would [come] to the gym and there would be a lot of testosterone, a lot of aggression, a lot of judgment towards us for trying to fill the role of the fighter but there was nothing but a nurturing and awesome atmosphere where they basically said, 'Welcome to the gym and let's show you what we know. They were really encouraging.'"
3. Surprisingly, Christopher Nolan had never seen Hardy's breakout film Bronson before casting him in Inception.
"Funny enough, Christopher Nolan never watched it," Hardy told the press. "He liked me in Rocknrolla. I played the gay getaway driver."
4. Katharine Hepburn once gave Nolte advice on marriage.
"Katharine Hepburn once said to me, 'Actors should not be allowed to get married because they ignore their families because they fall in love with their work so much.'"
5. Speaking of Katharine Hepburn, she also had a thing for alcoholics.
"She liked drunk men.," Nolte explained. She said, 'The difference between you and Spencer [Tracy] was that Spencer would go on benders and he wouldn't drink all the time. You just drink constantly. [...] I didn't get sober until I was 48 but I didn't know there was any other way to be."
5. Joel Edgerton doesn't think it's strange that The Great Gatsby is about to shoot in Australia.
When asked about the filming location of Baz Luhrmann's F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation, Edgerton said, "There's been movies set in space and you know, you don't shoot them in space. [...] Baz also has a very big infrastructure in Sydney. He's made a lot of movies there. He knows what's going on there."
Tom Hardy then cracked, "They tried [to shoot in space] but there is no electricity there, and the unions just will not allow it."
6. Tom Hardy is learning to speak Italian for Al Capone.
When asked about the Italian tattoo on his right arm, Hardy explained, "It's for my beautiful boy, my son. [...] No, I don't [speak Italian]. Only painfully. But I will because I hope to play Al Capone. So I will -- I'm learning to speak Italian."
7. Nick Nolte feels strongly about 48 Hours bridging the racial divide. Once, he tried to coin a racial slur too.
When asked which of his films fans still like to talk to him about, Nolte brought up 48 Hours, his '80s buddy comedy with Eddie Murphy: "The blacks liked to quote me and my lines," he said, "and the whites would go up to Eddie and quote his lines. The thing about 48 Hours that really isn't thought about much is that's the first film where the black and the white criticize each other. After Civil Rights, it was very awkward for whites and blacks. We didn't now how to talk to each other. [...] In [48 Hours], I wanted Eddie to call me 'Banana Skin.' He said, 'I don't know. I've never heard that, Nick.' I said, 'Well, whenever I wanted to hear good music [growing up], I'd go over to the black side of Omaha and they would always yell, 'Hey, Banana Skin. What are you doing over here?' [...] Then [Richard] Pryor and [Gene] Wilder took it to an art form after we first did it. Then the next movie that came out with that, it was considered politically incorrect. So there was only one time where that was allowed. [...] There hadn't been anything in culture that showed white and black men just, you know, saying 'What's going on?'"
8. Unlike most Hollywood projects, Warrior sped through production. Allow O'Connor to use a urination metaphor to explain this.
"It was lightning fast, which had never happened to me before," the director said. "I pitched the movie to Toby Emmerich at New Line, New Line imploded just after he bought it. I took it to Lionsgate and they bought it in the room. I wrote the script, finished the script and then we were going [into production]. It was an interesting process in having something come out and there wasn't a gestation point which happens a lot. [...] It's like holding in pee for a really long time and then when you go to shoot it, you finally get to pee. That feeling of, 'Ahhhh.' But it was straight through until we finished cutting. Then there was a year before it was released because the studio didn't want to go up against The Fighter."
9. Tom Hardy might have a nervous breakdown if he actually thinks about the fact that he is in The Dark Knight Rises.
"It's such an honor to be asked to be in Batman, full stop," he said. "If I think about it, what I'm doing it, it would be so overwhelming that I probably wouldn't be able to do the job so I'd rather not talk about it. It's quite a big deal. Chris and the crew are making it a very intimate environment, so you're never aware of the size."