Who We’re Thankful For In 2009: Tom Hardy, From ‘Bronson’ To ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ And ‘Inception’

Tom Hardy is a man you should be watching in the new year. Let’s face it: he’s a man you should have been watching since HBO’s stellar World War II miniseries “Band of Brothers” aired, his screen debut. You can be forgiven for missing “Bronson” this fall, as the movie didn’t open very wide. It was however critically hailed — with good reason — and a hit in the UK, where the subject, notorious criminal Charlie Bronson, is well-known.

Next year is going to kick off a whole new chapter however, as Hardy steps into a role formerly occupied by a younger Mel Gibson. He’ll star as the titular character in George Miller’s long-awaited return to our grim post-apocalyptic future in “Mad Max: Fury Road.” He’ll also be seen in “The Dark Knight” director Chris Nolan’s “thriller of the mind,”Inception.”

In an exclusive interview with MTV, Hardy discussed his recent and past good fortunes, and what he’s thankful for in 2009 as Thanksgiving approaches. “I didn’t expect to get ’Mad Max.’ I really didn’t,” he said. “I didn’t ever expect to get the lead in a Hollywood movie, for Chris Nolan off the bat to offer me [“Inception”] without an audition and then to go sit with [director] George Miller [on “Mad Max”] and work with him and not really audition in the orthodox way of auditioning — this year’s been crazy.”

Looking back over his career, which really only extends back to the beginning of the decade, Hardy became reflective. “I’ve been working as an actor for a long time now, and I’ve been waiting for an independent film to come along because it was very hard to get cast as a character actor, as a lead — being credible but bankable.”

That independent film was “Bronson.” As good as Hardy’s performances have been in “Band of Brothers,” in “Black Hawk Down,” in “RockNRolla,” it was the surreal biopic that really put him out there. It might as well be a one-man show, “Bronson,” focused as it is on the internal workings of Charlie Bronson’s criminal mind. Hardy recognizes how difficult it can be starting out, and he appreciates his recent good fortunes.

“It’s very hard to break in when there are plenty of people who can be cast, who can green-light, who can put bums in the seats. So this whole year has been staggering.”

What’s your favorite Tom Hardy performance? What are you looking forward to seeing from him in the new year?