What Meryl Streep is to accents, Tom Hardy is to facial masks. The Mad Max star spent much of last year's apocalyptic remake strapped to a dune buggy wearing what looked like Hannibal Lecter's grill. As the villainous Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, he spent hours talking through a McDonald's drive-thru speaker affixed to his mouth.
In his latest obscured triumph, Dunkirk, the 39-year-old British actor stars as a WWI fighter pilot, whose leather flight mask is fairly essential to the portrayal.
Dunkirk director Christopher Nolan — who also directed the actor in Dark Knight — explains that only Hardy could triumph in this selection of headgear that calls to mind Dumb Donald from Fat Albert: "Of course Tom, being Tom, what he does with single eye acting is far beyond what anyone else can do with their whole body, that is just the unique talent of the man, he's extraordinary."
In an interview with the Press Association, Nolan said: "I was pretty thrilled with what he did in The Dark Knight Rises with two eyes and couple of eyebrows and a bit of forehead."
So Nolan, ever an actor's director, said he wanted to push Hardy to the next level in Dunkirk: "I thought let's see what he can do with no forehead, no real eyebrows, maybe one eye."
Flattery or damage control? Nolan could be covering up for lazy casting, after all.
A number of Twitter users have caught on to the Tom Hardy movies trademark:
"Tom Hardy works best when his face is 80% covered," says novelist Dana Schwartz.
Tom Hardy works best when his face is 80% covered pic.twitter.com/L9wgbjEu9w— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) July 6, 2017
Is it a rule that Tom Hardy has to wear some kind of face mask in Nolan's films now?" said another.
Is it just a rule that Tom hardy has to wear some kind of face mask in nolans films now?— Courtland Budd (@TheInaneRambler) May 30, 2017
Looks incredible.— Martyr (@MartyrA2J) May 5, 2017
Man they can't keep Tom Hardy out of a face mask can they? https://t.co/d6HIC1jeIb
The actor's run shows no sign of stopping. He's been cast as Venom in the new standalone film about the Spider-Man character, who wears — yeah.
In the meantime, if Hardy's face is all the mask you need to confront the world, you can order your own Tom Hardy maskless face mask on Amazon.