I consider myself a connoisseur of dark and brooding British melodrama so of course I’ve now seen four film adaptations of Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte. I’ve never actually read the book, but I consider this to be beside the point. The point being that I’ve found the NEXT Marlon Brando. Ok, so I didn’t FIND him, he’s an actor on the rise, a male ingenue as it were, a supporting actor in one of the largest films of the year. In any case, I’m putting my money in the ring for, one, Tom Hardy.
With buzzy roles in Bronson, Layer Cake and the ubersexy RocknRolla, Tom has been building a solid repertoire for a few years running. It was not until Inception though, that audiences began looking past Leo, past Mr. Gordon-Levitt and directly at Tom Hardy, asking “Who the hell is that?” It was at this time I began a thorough research into his past film projects, stumbling upon the aforementioned Wuthering Heights adaption. I was skeptical that Mr. Hardy could out-Heathcliff my favorite actor of all time, the illustrious Ralph Fiennes (1992 version). I was, however, humbled and disturbed by this revolutionary performance. Bitter, vile, hedonistic, primal, pathetic. Perfect. Pairing feminine histrionics with male force and ego, Mr. Hardy creates a 50/50 balance in which a full on-screen personality is realized, a space in which gender becomes a non-issue and raw emotion is central.
Brando, possessor of explosive rage and languid vulnerability. A man in touch with every emotion, whether it be decidedly masculine or feminine. It was in Hollywood where he defied and then defined what it is to be a character actor and yet, it is still Hollywood where a man’s sexuality will typecast him. Unwilling to back down from bigoted perception, Tom Hardy embraces every aspect of his personality, even if that means admitting to bisexuality. He is a 21st century Brando, consistently pushing the boundaries of what it means to be human, what it means to be masculine or feminine, what it means to be an actor.