With Mr Hardy’s profile very much on the rise, what with his triumphant turn as Mad Max earlier this year, and his dual role as the Kray Twins just arrived in cinemas, it’s quite timely that this 2012 biography is reprinted with chapters covering the recent years.
Beginning by briefly covering his upbringing (both his parents having a cultural bent, his father being a writer and mother an artist) in relative comfort, causing the young Edward Thomas Hardy to begin to rebel as teenagers often do, the book overlooks any real insight into what makes the superstar tick. Being an unofficial biography it culls its quotes from previously-published interviews and such, but Haydock does manage to do it in such a way that we can get a feel for the angst felt by young Hardy in these turbulent years.
From the moment he won the Big Breakfast ‘Find Me a Model’ contest in 1998, things wouldn’t be the same for Tom, but that didn’t curtail any self-destructive traits he may have had. Not completing the course at the infamously strict Drama Centre, and an ill-fated (if passionate) young marriage all began to take their toll, and even the luck of being chosen to appear in major TV mini-series Band of Brothers did nothing to slow the self-destructive tendencies down.
However, if it’s the sad low point of Hardy’s life you’re looking for insight on, you’ll find the book rather lacking. It’s certainly covered, but with the bulk of the book looking at his film and TV output, it’s relegated to a short chapter early on. It’s probably wise, as without proper input from the man himself (other than the aforementioned interview quotes), it would probably be unfair to dwell too much on such a downbeat (although, ultimately, triumphant since he got clean and has become so bankable) period of his life.
Similarly, Mad Max Fury Road is covered, but fairly briefly, and Legend is merely referenced (understandable since it would have been far off release when it was being written, but it’s not too shabby for an unofficial entry to the biog shelves. Casual fans will find enough to keep them going, while diehards might be best waiting for an authorised or even autobiography to emerge, as the obligatory photo section adds little more than the standard ‘red carpet’ shots, the likes of which we’ve seen before.
TOM HARDY: RISE OF A LEGEND / AUTHOR: JAMES HAYDOCK / PUBLISHER: JOHN BLAKE BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW