Christopher Nolan Defends Tom Hardy’s Bane

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He’s having a tough year, you guys!

Tom Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight RisesChristopher Nolan‘s conclusion to his acclaimed, influential Dark Knight Trilogy, was released in 2012. Now, eight years later in 2020, Nolan still has some salt to spread about it. Tom Hardy joined the cast as main villain Bane, bringing along with him a face-obscuring mask, physically imposing frame, and most controversially, an at-times incomprehensible vocal affectation that I might describe as “an old-timey boxer playing Count Dracula for his son’s homemade haunted house”. Oh, and I mean that as a sincere compliment; I find Hardy’s Bane to be unrelentingly watchable, unusual, and downright courageous, and you can feel the repercussions of his unique performance choice throughout pop culture since (i.e. this is what Bane sounds like now in The Lego Batman Movie and Harley Quinn). And yet, for Mr. Nolan… it’s not enough.

Speaking to the Happy Sad Confused podcast (via NME) to promote his recent Tenet, Nolan said that “what [Hardy] did with that character has yet to be fully appreciated. It’s an extraordinary performance, and truly amazing.” Nolan went on to explain what he loved about his muse’s work:

“The voice, the relationship between just seeing the eyes and the brow. We had all these discussions about the mask and what it would reveal and what it wouldn’t reveal, and one of the things I remember him saying to me, he sort of put his finger up to his temple and his eyebrow and said, ‘Can you give me this to play with? Let people see this’… Sure enough, you see there in the film, this kind of Brando-esque brow, expressing all kinds of just monstrous things. It’s really quite a performance.”

Tom Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises
Image via Warner Bros.

Wow. Not only is Nolan chastising us for not enjoying the villain of his 2012 movie about a man who dresses like a bat to punch people enough, he’s friggin’ comparing him to Marlon Brando, one of our most iconic screen actors of all time! Where is this coming from, Mr. Nolan? Is it that Tenet sorta biffed it at the box office? Or that Warner Bros. and HBO Max sorta screwed you and maybe the industry you love so much? Or that no one’s offering you a Fast and Furious sequel?

Hmm. Okay, Mr. Nolan, it seems like you’re having a tough year. I’ll give you this one. I’m sorry I haven’t appreciated Bane enough and I promise I will more in the future. Now, do you feel in charge?

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