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Tom Hardy's Latest Career Pivot Took Everyone By Surprise

Hollywood has no shortage of leading men, yet none have come to thrill, dazzle, terrify, and infatuate us quite like Tom Hardy. The brooding Englishman has quickly become one of the industry's most versatile actors, leaving many wondering how one man could pull off so many distinctly varied performances. Yet one look at the actor-turned-champion-fighter's dark personal history is all it takes to understand: to become the star he is today, Hardy didn't run from his demons; he embraced them.

Motivated by fear

"We are survivors," Tom Hardy has said. "We control the fear. And without fear, we are all as good as dead." From a young age, this fear pushed Tom down his difficult path to stardom, though it wasn't exactly monsters under the bed that he was afraid of.

Railing against comfort

Raised in the affluent London suburb of East Sheen by two artistic parents, Tom didn't want for much. Yet it was this stifling comfort — this stagnation — that scared Tom the most, and he did everything he could to rail against it.

Falling short of expectations

"I’m from East Sheen, I went to public school where I learned Latin at the age of nine, and certain expectations were made of me to go to St. Paul’s, Oxbridge maybe, and all that kind of thing," the actor recalled. "And I failed systematically to meet the mark; who I am and what I should have been are two very different things."

Turning to the bottle

So at age 13, Tom took up drinking, a rebellious act that quickly became an addiction. "When I found drinking at 13…I felt calm," he shared. "I thought this must be how everyone else feels, and I wanted more of it."