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Tom HardyEdward Thomas "Tom" Hardy (born 15 September 1977) is an English actor. He is best known for playing the title character in the 2009 British film Bronson, and in films Star Trek Nemesis, RocknRolla, Inception, and in the upcoming film The Dark Knight Rises.

Hardy, an only child, was born in Hammersmith, and raised in East Sheen, London. His mother, Elizabeth Anne (née Barrett), is an artist and painter of Irish Catholic descent, and his father, Edward "Chips" Hardy, is an advertisement and comedy writer. Hardy studied at two private schools, Reed's School and Tower House School, then at Richmond Drama School, and subsequently at the Drama Centre London. He began his career in war dramas, winning the part of United States Army Private John Janovec in the award-winning HBO and BBC miniseries Band of Brothers. He made his feature film debut in Ridley Scott's 2001 war thriller Black Hawk Down.

In 2002, Hardy appeared in the independent film Dot the i, sharing the bill with Gael Garcia Bernal. He then travelled to North Africa for Simon: An English Legionnaire, a story of the French Foreign Legion. In the same year, he gained some heavy international exposure as the Reman Praetor Shinzon, a clone of USS Enterprise Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) in Star Trek Nemesis. He returned to England to feature in the 2003 thriller LD 50 Lethal Dose.

Hardy was awarded the 2003 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer for his performances in Blood and In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings performed at the Royal Court Theatre and Hampstead Theatre. He was also nominated for a 2004 Laurence Olivier Award for Most Promising Newcomer of 2003 in a Society of London Theatre Affiliate for his performance in the aforementioned production of In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings.

Hardy appeared in the 2005 BBC miniseries The Virgin Queen as Robert Dudley, a childhood friend of Elizabeth I. The miniseries portrays them as having a platonic, though highly romantic, affair throughout her reign over England during the 16th century. Hardy featured in the Richard Fell adaptation of the 1960s sci-fi series A for Andromeda, on BBC Four.

In 2007, he appeared in the BBC Two drama based on a true story – Stuart: A Life Backwards. He played the lead role of Stuart Shorter, a homeless man who had been subjected to years of abuse and whose death was possibly suicide. In September 2008, he appeared in director Guy Ritchie's London gangster film, RocknRolla. He played the role of gay gangster Handsome Bob, one of the members of the criminal gang the Wild Bunch, led by One Two (Gerard Butler), whom Bob has a crush on. Hardy will reprise the role in Ritchie's sequel The Real RocknRolla.

In early 2009, Hardy starred in the film Bronson, about the real-life prisoner Charles Bronson, who has spent most of his adult life in solitary confinement. For the film, he put on three stone of muscle.

In June 2009, Hardy starred in the Martina Cole written 4-part TV drama The Take on Sky One as a drugs and alcohol fuelled gangster. The role gained him a Best Actor nomination at the 2009 Crime Thriller Awards.

In August 2009, he appeared in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, playing the part of Heathcliff, the classic love character who falls in love with his childhood friend Cathy (played by Charlotte Riley), "the love that destroyed everything it touched". It was even suggested by tabloid paper The Sun that he began a relationship with Charlotte Riley shortly after finishing work on The Take, and that he left his partner of two years and mother of his infant son to be with Riley. Riley has disputed this rumour in interviews.

In early 2010, Hardy starred in The Long Red Road at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. The play was written by Brett C Leonard and directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hardy won some good reviews for his portrayal of Sam, an alcoholic trying to drink away his past.

Hardy played the son of Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte) in the as-yet-unreleased 2010 film A Warrior's Heart, about a washed-up mixed martial artist. He will be the main protagonist in the film. He starred as Eames in Christopher Nolan's science fiction thriller Inception for which he won a BAFTA Rising Star award.

In June 2010, Hardy announced on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross that he will play the title role in a new version of Mad Max. Hardy replaced Michael Fassbender in the 2012 adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, also featuring Gary Oldman and Ralph Fiennes. He will play a bootlegger in John Hillcoat's The Wettest County in the World. He will play the chemically enhanced muscleman Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.

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