Say what you will about Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises as a whole, but Tom Hardy’s Bane is one of the most enjoyable supervillains put to screen. A combination of legitimate menace and high camp, Hardy plays the character with the kind of violent unpredictability and hammy glee that makes comic book movies fun in the first place.
Nolan, too, thinks Hardy ought to get a bit more credit for the performance, saying on the most recent episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast that people haven’t yet “fully appreciated” Rises’ version of Bane.
Aside from the fact that Hardy drew one of the best “funny character voices” yet from his seemingly infinite well of them for the character, Nolan says he was particularly impressed by some of the subtler choices the actor made in the role. Nolan describes how he and Hardy “had all these discussions about [Bane’s] mask and what it would reveal and what it wouldn’t reveal,” with Hardy asking if he could leave his eyebrows and temples exposed for what he had in mind.
“Sure enough, you see there in the film this kind of Brando-esque brow, expressing all kinds of just monstrous things,” Nolan says. “It’s really quite a performance.”
Nolan praises Hardy’s “voice, the relationship between just seeing the eyes and the brow” and says he thinks what the actor “did with the character has yet to be fully appreciated.” Thinking of just how much joy we’ve received over years of mumbling theatrically about shadow betrayals and spirit-breaking, we’d argue that we’ve definitely had a lot of appreciation out of the character—maybe just not in the studious sense that Nolan means here.
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