Since I’m gonna spend my hour-long BART commute thinking about the movies I want to see Tom Hardy star in anyway, I decided to make a list.
So why biopics specifically?
A lot of them happen decades, or even centuries, in the past. This gives actors the chance to act like People From History. Tom’s ability to portray yesteryear’s most muscular babes while also existing as the ideal boyfriend who loves dogs, freestyling, and perfectly postmodern self-awareness is why he can, and should, wow his fans (Hardies? Tommyknockers?) as the following notable figures:
- Bobby Beausoleil
Tom wouldn’t be quite as alluring without that “is he or isn’t he” queerbait vibe, and it’s this same vers top magnetism that made Beausoleil—who was going to star in Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising until he committed homicide for Charles Manson—such a fucking stud. Don’t tell me watching Tom play a drifter-daddy-turned-convicted-killer doesn’t get you all hot in the biscuits, even if (despite Anger’s reported overtures) Beausoleil actually was straight.
True, Tom is a little mature to play a 22-year-old Beausoleil, but that’s what suspension of disbelief is for. And is that little discrepancy really worth missing the chance to see him recreate Beausoleil’s appearance in the 1969 softcore porn flick The Ramrodder?
Casting Suggestions: Wouldn’t Steve Zahn make a great Charlie Manson? John Leguizamo and Peter Dinklage both have really similar bone structure to Anger.
- John L. Sullivan
Most people probably don’t know who John L. Sullivan is, but I think it’s safe to say most people do recognize the John L. Sullivan-type almost immediately: caricatures of the shirtless, Victorian-era pugilist who would be twirling his mustache if his dukes weren’t up can be found all across pop culture. This guy screams “Tom Hardy” more than I do. I mean, I can’t even find a daguerreotype of the man with a shirt on.
I’m sure that Sullivan, the 19th-century American first recognized as gloved boxing’s first Heavyweight Champ, lived a life that was, if not fascinating, at least chock-full of brutal fights and goofy old-timey boxer slang. Cartoonish? Perhaps, but it’s not like Hardy’s never done that in a role, or while satirizing himself. He can be over-the-top or the straight man, and you only have to look as far as Legend to watch him do both versions in the same movie.
Casting Suggestions: Daniel Day-Lewis is the shoe-in as the period-drama/boxing movie standby.
- Ron Jeremy
Okay, bear with me on this one.
There are two different reasons why the biopic is compelling: it is either the depiction of a life by an actor who can look and behave with uncannily similarity to the subject or it is this depiction by an actor so much better-looking than the subject that even the ickiest of them can become watchable.
Personally, I have zero interest in watching Ron Jeremy do anything on camera. But I would be very interested in watching Tom Hardy portraying Ron Jeremy do just about anything. And I mean anything.
As a passably hirsute man with an affinity for flashing dick, Tom has the physical basics of Jeremy, the porn icon best-known for his enormous wang and his resemblance to a really unattractive hedgehog, on lock. A movie about Jeremy’s undoubtedly interesting life would have some interesting content, cool cameos, and, of course, Tom being undressed a lot.
And this is Hollywood, for Christ’s sake. Some actors are chosen to portray significant figures they don’t resemble in the slightest. If we’re talking porn biopics, in what world does Amanda Seyfried look at all like Linda Lovelace? Or biopics in general: are we really gonna pretend Leo DiCaprio isn’t light-years more attractive than J. Edgar Hoover ever was?
Casting Suggestions: Just bring back everyone who was on the second season of Surreal Life with him for extra cameo goodness.
- Clark Gable
I know that Tom doesn’t look a whole lot like Gable, but to be fair, who does? This pick has more to do with a professional aspiration I have on Tom’s part.
Here’s my thinking: with a lot of Tom’s characters, his dashing tends to be more incidental, or accidental, than that the infamously suave Gable. For as often as he gets played as the cheeky lothario (his small role in RockNRolla comes to mind, or his part as Reggie Kray in Legend), he gets cast as the stone-cold weirdo who’s somehow also a hottie (Bronson) just as often.
Portraying Gable could be an opportunity for Hardy to challenge himself as an actor. We’re more accustomed to seeing him as the barely-restrained madman who’s going to tear your clothes from your trembling limbs just as soon as he’s done greasing up his naked body and assaulting twenty armed cops, or the laconic superhero/villain who only speaks to prove that he has an almost incomprehensible but completely historically accurate accent.
But don’t you think a little debonair’d do ya? That Tom can evoke subtlety, even in his most brutal roles, proves he’s a master of nuance. With less intense muscles and some prosthetic ears, he could exercise that just enough to clinch that his Best Actor win as “The Kind of Hollywood,” Clark Gable.
Additional Casting: Rooney Mara has the eyebrows, if not the spirit, of Vivien Leigh. And since she’s an It Girl right now, I’d suggest Brie Larson as Barbara Stanwyck.
- Ernest Hemingway
When it first occurred to me that Tom would be the perfect Hemingway, I almost dropped my vibrator. Not only does he have the vitality to embody our country’s favorite literary macho man, but, weirdly, there hasn’t yet been an epic movie biography of one of the 20th century’s most influential American writers. And now that we can shoot in Cuba again, the timing couldn’t be better!
For me, the Hardy/Hemingway connection is more than a passing physical resemblance. As we know from Bronson, Mad Max: Fury Road, and whichever Batman movie it was where he played Bane, Tom is one of the few performers who could convincingly balance Hemingway’s bull-running, deep-sea fishing, cigar-smoking machismo with the sexual anxiety that’s a major theme of his work.
You could argue that Hemingway never quite realized masculinity doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive with emotional vulnerability, but if Tom’s role as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights tells us anything, it’s that you can totally be an abusive and violent man’s man without losing touch with your feelings (I joke but here’s what not a joke: my fucking obsession with Wuthering Heights).
Additional Casting: Tom Hiddleston as F. Scott Fitzgerald. Lea Delaria or Frances McDormand as Gertrude Stein. And could we pretend he met James Baldwin at some point so Chiwetel Ejiofor could play him?