For Warrior, actors Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton face off as mixed martial arts fighters — and brothers — trying to punch, kick and grapple their way to a better life. But just because they can pass for lethal, musclebound cage-fighters on screen doesn’t mean either is ready for a career change. “Any one of you guys could beat me up right now,” Edgerton says, sizing up the reporters and publicists in the room, who smile back nervously.
While he’s still in peak shape for his next role, Hardy agrees, explaining that the first thing they learned was how little they knew. “You know that we trained because now we know even less about fighting than we did when we started,” Hardy says. “You don’t go swaggering, because it will come home to roost. It’s normally the quietest guy in the room. You learn things like, if I can hear my own voice in a bar fight, I’m just about to get knocked out.”
If leaked online footage is any indication, the quiet guy taking Hardy down these days is Christian Bale, whose Batman goes toe to toe with Hardy’s freakishly strong Bane in the Dark Knight Rises, currently filming — though the only thing Hardy will say about that project is that he “can’t talk about it at all.”
The third of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films isn’t the first time Bale has gotten in Hardy’s way, so to speak, as Warrior was originally set to come out last year, but an unfortunate coincidence led to it being delayed. Edgerton explains: “As they got closer to any kind of finished form of the movie, this film called The Fighter came out — a little family drama that centres around a bit of fighting. They’re completely different movies, but on a trailer or on paper, the supposition is they’re the same thing.”
Hardy summed up the similarities more succinctly: “Two brothers fight,” he said. “But Christian Bale obviously is going to win an Oscar, so let’s not put ours out now.”
How big of a delay are we talking? Hardy actually filmed Warrior before joining Nolan’s Inception. So while Warrior and the Dark Knight Rises have meant lots of weight training and bruises for Hardy, he’s had some rest in between.
“It was like putting on a pair of slippers and a robe and, like, rubbing myself in lavender oils,” Hardy says of the transition from one film to the other. “Having everything done for me, it was heaven, to be honest. I had a wire instead of having to leap over things, and no one was trying to hit me in the face. Heaven.”
Edgerton, who will next be seen in The Thing, is heading back to his native Australia for a similarly comfortable transition, starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan in Baz Luhrmann’s the Great Gatsby — the mere mention of which gives Hardy a chance to razz his co-star.
“In 3D!” Hardy boasts, interrupting Edgerton with a laugh. (Luhrmann is in fact shooting the film in 3D.) Edgerton adds, “Yeah, just imagine this coming at you,” motioning to his face.