Tom Hardy has confirmed he will portray both Kray twins for a new feature film based in the UK. The movie, written and to be directed by LA Confidential screenwriter Brian Helgeland, will document the lives of notorious English gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray, who were the two biggest names in organised British crime during the 1950’s and 60’s. Whilst information regarding the fledgling project is relatively thin on the ground, Hardy himself revealed the project will be called Legend.
Far from being one to shy away from challenging roles in his career, the 36-year-old actor has played a number of starkly contrasting characters since bursting onto the movie scene as Michael Peterson (aka Charlie Bronson) in Nicolas Winding Refn’s gritty biopic Bronson in 2008. He appeared in the final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy as main antagonist Bane to rave reviews, but has also refused to label himself as solely a Hollywood performer, putting in more low-key performances such as those in British short Sergeant Slaughter, My Big Brother and the recently premièred experimental film Locke.
Regarding his slated role(s) in Legend, Hardy said, “I’ve got to work out how to play both twins, which will be fun. It’s another experiment and I’m really looking forward to it, I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself. I just want to have some fun and see what’s out there and explore with the work.”
Of course, it’s not the first time one actor has played two twins in the same film. Armie Hammer played Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss in Oscar-winning movie The Social Network, and perhaps most famously Lindsay Lohan portrayed fictitious twins Hallie Parker and Annie James in 1998’s The Parent Trap.
Tom Hardy sees the task to portray both Kray twins in the new feature film as a challenge, but like every other character venture in the London-born thespian’s diverse portfolio, one he’s very much prepared to undertake. “The more of a challenge I give myself, the easier it is to take on more projects which are complicated in the future,” he said. It will be Hardy’s first film under the guide of screenwriter-turned-director Brian Helgeland, whose other credits include A Knight’s Tale (2001), Mystic River (2003) and Salt (2010).
The Kray twins were born in London in 1933, and became established as brutal nightclub owners after receiving dishonourable discharge’s from a national service army stint at just 19 years of age. With more than just a dabbling fancy in crimes involving armed robbery, arson and hijacking, a taste for violence and celebrity status (they became acquainted with the likes of Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra) meant that police had a very difficult time of charging them with anything. After eventually being convicted for the murders of George Cornell and Jack “the Hat” McVitie in 1968, both were sentenced to life imprisonment. Ronnie Kray died of a heart attack in Broadmoor hospital in 1995, whilst Reggie was released in 2000 to spend his final few weeks with wife Roberta before dying of bladder cancer.
With Tom Hardy preparing himself to portray both Kray twins in the new feature film, he’ll no doubt be going through rigorous research sessions to find more information on the infamous pair, and with films such as Child 44 and Mad Max: Fury Road yet to be released, fans of the actor can look forward to his hovering presence over the coming years.
Opinion by Zachary John