SFX historical notes: And remember, this guy will soon be on our screens as Mad Max. We can’t wait to interview him again!
Shinzon, Star Trek: Nemesis
The potty-mouthed star of Star Trek ’s last movie has some odd thoughts about Marina Sirtis…
“The premiere of Nemesis was absolutely fuckin’ terrifyin’,” laughs Tom Hardy. He’s 25, a South Lahnderner, and Not At All What You Expect. “Arse-clenchingly nervous I was! I mean, there I was one moment in Wandsworth police station on the way to Wormwood Scrubs, looking at 14 years, to this!”
Hmm, okay. We don’t know what he’s on about, either.
“Fuck knows how this happened! We got on the red carpet and everyone’s dodderin’ about and whatnot. There was this big wall of f**kin’ cameras and it was like... ‘Shit! This is the deal!’ But when you’re going up the carpet, doing all these interviews, you’re making sure all the time that you don’t f**k up, swear or get ya knob out!”
You wonder how Tom Hardy was received in Hollywood. He’d run Colin Farrell a close second in the potty mouth department, and it’s unusual for an actor to be so totally honest in interviews. He’ll probably learn one day how to play the media game, but you hope he doesn’t.
“If you’re bald, people take notice,” he says, referring to his shaved head as Picard clone Shinzon. “When I was at drama school, nobody took me seriously, because I had sort of fey, long hair. And I was a tortured artist! I had a lot of anger and was into the method! Full of shit! I was a sort of shitbomb mess going, ‘What am I doing?’ At the time, I became very intensely fierce about being seen and heard and recognised and headbutting my way through doors. You know, the kind of actor who will smash up furniture. It had to be real. But that’s very dangerous.”
Hardy dropped out of drama school early to take a role in Steven Spielberg’s mini-series, Band Of Brothers . It was during that tour of duty that he nabbed the role of Shinzon. Suddenly he found himself being flown over the pond to star in a multi-million dollar blockbuster movie. But was playing alongside Patrick Stewart like a father-son relationship or was it more matey…?
“It was more, ‘Where is he?’” he laughs. “Patrick’s very busy. He was shooting for the first few months already on the next set. They had the Enterprise set and then they had my ship…” He pauses. “Hey, my ship!” he exclaims, “And I can’t even drive! But where was I? Oh yeah, so there wasn’t much work when we were together. But I had lunch with him a couple of times and went to his house for coffee. I just shut up and listened.”
Given that large British presence on the set, was it a case of the Brits teaming up against the LA bods?
“For myself, it was like me against the rest of the world!” he says. “Stuart Baird was on-side constantly. He’s an interesting character. There’s a permanent story going on in Stuart’s head. I don’t know whether he lets anybody into it or not but he’s constantly talking to himself about something, you know? He has a tendency to sometimes speak his thoughts out loud and not know he’s said them. It grated on some people, but it made me laugh. He’d say, ‘That f**king kid needs a beating!’ in the middle of my scene. He wouldn’t know he’d said it!”
And what of the others…?
“John Logan would be about with Rick Berman in the background, Stuart would be in the video village looking at the monitors, there’d be me up on the set, on me own, and Patrick was with the Next Gen crowd. He’s very aligned with them. He didn’t need me!
“Stuart Baird wanted the best to come from his film and from me, because he knew I was a novice. I owed it to him, to myself, to the whole Star Trek universe that I didn’t f**k up and dribble and screw everything up.” He pauses. “Oh yeah, Bob Ringwood was the other English guy, who was the designer, and – of course! – Marina, she’s from Tottenham, isn’t she? Or is it Arsenal? She switches her football affiliations all the time. I can see her there on the terraces, with a potato with a razorblade in it, kicking the shit out of some poor homeless dude on the way home! But I’m sure she’s done it, method actors an’ all. But she was a good laugh. She’d have a few minty fits now and then, but she’s a babe! So I attached myself to different islands on set, so I was very much my own. And when I went back to the Sunset Marquee at night, I’d sit on my own and rock back and forth in the corner and cry!”
Aw. “Don’t feel sorry for me!” he tells us, forcefully. “I’m alright!”
And what of the fans? Any close run-ins yet?
“I’ve met a few. They’ve been very kind, on the whole. I don’t feel threatened by them.”
No, you can’t really imagine a Star Trek fan beating people up on street corners…
“It doesn’t feel like that,” he says, “but then again, mate, you never know what’ll happen in Old Compton Street when I get accosted by some mad Patrick Stewart fan. I’ll be pulling the teeth out of my arse!”
Star Trek: Nemesis is available to buy on DVD from 11 August.