Tom Hardy has a zealot’s belief in the power of theatre to transform lives. Having overcome crack and alcohol addiction with the help of his art, the 29-year-old remains loyal to his theatre company, Shotgun, even while Hollywood beckons.

Small parts in “Layer Cake” and Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette” have led to bigger things, including a starring role in BBC2/HBO adaptation of Alexander Masters’ award-winning book, “Stuart: A Life Backwards” in April this year.

On suffering:

“I’m not interested in walks in the park. Anything difficult that people think I couldn’t play, I’m straight at it. If they say, “Tom, don’t put your hand in the fire,” you know I’ll be coming out of casualty an hour later with third-degree burns and bandages up my arms.”

On DIY: “Shotgun is an idealogy of collaborative artists who come together, train together, and work together.” Even if it’s just on the undeground and never anywhere, it doesn’t matter. Theatre is the cornerstone of social politics and human issues and it always should be – get involved.”

On Challenges:

“The work is out there. Ninety percent of scripts don’t get made and they’re brilliant, so it’s like, ‘Why not?’ Well, Apparently no one’s interested. They want men in capes of a big man in a gorilla suit to pick up a beautiful girl because we know that people will pay the money for that and audiences don’t want to be challenged. But it’s like, ‘Did anyone ask them? No.”

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