Throughout his career, Tom Hardy has portrayed tons of characters — some of which involved a major physical transformation. Over the years, the British star has changed a lot for his personal and professional life.

Perhaps one of his more notable transformations was for the role of Bane in the 2012 movie The Dark Knight Rises. However, if you ask the actor he wasn’t in the best shape.

“If you really study the photographs [of Bane], I was really overweight, actually. I ate a lot and I wasn’t much heavier than I am now, but I just ate more pizza. They shoot from low to make you look big,” he recalled to BBC Radio 1 during an October 2021 interview. “People would lift up the lids on their motorbike [helmets] and say ‘I always thought you were bigger, mate.’ … I was just bald, slightly porky and with pencil arms.”

He went on to explain that the “magic of lighting” paired with “lifting and training and eating lots of pizza” allowed him to look the part.

“It wasn’t great for my heart. … The point was to look as big as possible,” the Peaky Blinders alum explained. “I have really skinny legs and my friend Jacob Tomuri — my stunt man — liked to say, ‘Why did Tom come in riding an emu?’”

Tom has since slimmed down for other roles, but he’s still into different types of working out. In September 2022, he quietly entered — and subsequently won — the 2022 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open Championship in England.

“Everyone recognized him but he was very humble and was happy to take time out for people to take photographs with him,” a spokesperson for the event told The Guardian at the time. “It was a real pleasure to have him compete at our event.”

The Warrior star shared a heartfelt Instagram caption about his involvement in the tournament, revealing that he represented the REORG charity which supports “the mental health and well-being of veterans of service, military and first responders through the therapeutic benefits of Jiu Jitsu and fitness training.”

“Simple training, for me (as a hobby and a private love) has been fundamentally key to further develop a deeper sense of inner resilience, calm and well being,” Tom added. “I can’t stress the importance it has had and the impact on my life and my fellow team mates.”

Scroll through the gallery to see the actor’s transformation over the years. 


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Tyler Cowan