Hardy played a Royal Air Force fighter pilot in Christopher Nolan's action-thriller Dunkirk (2017), based on the British military evacuation of the French port of Dunkirk in 1940 during the Second World War. He appeared alongside Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy and Harry Styles. Hardy also co-produced and starred in the eight-part BBC One television drama series Taboo. It was created by Hardy, Steven Knight, and Hardy's father, Edward "Chips" Hardy. Taboo was aired in the United States by FX.
Hardy starred in five films in 2015. The first, Child 44, set in 1950s Soviet Union, saw him playing Leo Demidov, a Soviet secret police agent who investigates a series of child murders. Despite mild praise for his acting, Child 44 was reviewed negatively by critics and was a box office failure. Hardy then played the title character, Max Rockatansky, in the action film Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). His performance was praised by critics and overall the film received critical acclaim and became a box office success, grossing over $378 million against a $150 million budget, becoming the highest-grossing film in the Mad Max franchise. He played a dual role as London gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray in the crime thriller Legend (2015). On 7 December 2015, Hardy won Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards for his portrayal of the Kray twins, and on the same night attended the premiere of the biographical western thriller The Revenant, in which he reunited with his Inception co-star Leonardo DiCaprio, at Leicester Square, London. On 14 January 2016, Hardy received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Revenant.
Edward Thomas Hardy CBE (born 15 September 1977) is an English actor, producer and screenwriter. After studying acting at the Drama Centre London, he made his film debut in Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down (2001). He had supporting roles in Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) and RocknRolla (2008), and went on to star in Bronson (2008), Warrior (2011), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), Lawless (2012), This Means War (2012), and Locke (2013). In 2015, he starred as "Mad" Max Rockatansky in Mad Max: Fury Road and both Kray twins in Legend, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Revenant. He has appeared in three Christopher Nolan films: Inception (2010), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) as Bane, and Dunkirk (2017). He has since starred as Eddie Brock/Venom in the film Venom and its 2021 sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage.
Edward Thomas Hardy was born in the Hammersmith district of London on 15 September 1977, the only child of artist and painter Anne (née Barrett) and novelist and comedy writer Edward "Chips" Hardy. He is of Irish descent on his mother's side. He was raised in London's East Sheen suburb. Hardy attended Tower House School, Reed's School, and Duff Miller Sixth Form College. He later studied at Richmond Drama School and the Drama Centre London, now a part of Central Saint Martins. He has named Gary Oldman, with whom he would later work on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, as his "hero" and added that he mirrored scenes from Oldman while at drama school.
In 1998, Hardy won The Big Breakfast's Find Me a Supermodel competition at the age of 21, earning him a brief contract with Models 1. Hardy joined Drama Centre London in September 1998, and was taken out early after winning the part of US Army Private John Janovec in the HBO-BBC mini-series Band of Brothers. He made his feature film debut in Ridley Scott's war thriller Black Hawk Down (2001). During this time, Hardy also had a brief stint as a rapper and hip hop producer with his friend Edward Tracy (under the name "Tommy No 1 + Eddie Too Tall"), with whom he recorded a mixtape called Falling On Your Arse in 1999 that remained unreleased until 2018.
Hardy married producer Sarah Ward in 1999, and they divorced in 2004. He met and began dating assistant director Rachael Speed on the set of The Virgin Queen in 2005, and they later had a son before separating in 2009. That year, he began a relationship with actress Charlotte Riley after they met on the set of Wuthering Heights, and they were married in July 2014. Together, they have 2 sons. They had two rescue dogs, Max and Woodstock, and Hardy appeared with Woodstock in a PETA advert to promote pet adoption. Woodstock died on 5 June 2017 due to an aggressive case of polymyositis.
In 2002, Hardy appeared as the Reman Praetor Shinzon, a clone of USS Enterprise Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: Nemesis. The following year, he appeared in the film Dot the i, and then travelled to North Africa for Simon: An English Legionnaire, a story of the French Foreign Legion. He then returned to the United Kingdom to feature in the horror film LD 50 Lethal Dose (2003).
In 2007, he appeared in BBC Two's drama based on a true story, Stuart: A Life Backwards. He played the lead role of Stuart Shorter, a homeless man who had been subjected to years of abuse and whose death was possibly a suicide. The same year he played Bill Sikes in the BBC mini-series Oliver Twist, an adaptation of Charles Dickens's novel that aired on PBS Masterpiece Classic in the US. In February 2008, he played a drug-addicted rapist in the British horror-thriller WΔZ. In September 2008, he appeared in Guy Ritchie's London gangster film, RocknRolla; Hardy played the role of gay gangster Handsome Bob. In 2008, Hardy starred in the film Bronson, about the real-life English prisoner Charles Bronson, who has spent most of his adult life in solitary confinement. For the film, he put on three stone (42 lb or 19 kg).
In June 2009, Hardy starred in Martina Cole's four-part TV drama The Take on Sky One, as a drug and alcohol-fuelled gangster. The role gained him a Best Actor nomination at the 2009 Crime Thriller Awards. In August 2009, he appeared in ITV's Wuthering Heights, playing the role of Heathcliff. In early 2010, Hardy starred in The Long Red Road at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. The play was written by Brett C. Leonard and directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hardy won some good reviews for his portrayal of Sam, an alcoholic trying to drink away his past. In 2010, he starred as Eames in Christopher Nolan's science fiction thriller Inception for which he won a BAFTA Rising Star award. Hardy replaced Michael Fassbender in the 2011 film adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, released on 5 September 2011 at the 68th edition of the Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica in Venice. In March 2010, Hardy signed a first-look deal at Warner Bros.
In 2010, Hardy became an ambassador for the Prince's Trust, a UK youth charity which provides training, personal development, business start-up support, mentoring, and advice. In 2012, he and his then-girlfriend (now-wife) Charlotte Riley became patrons of Bowel Cancer UK. Prior to the inaugural Invictus Games held in London in September 2014, he, along with other entertainers and athletes, read the poem "Invictus" in a promotional video.
In 2011, Hardy appeared in the film Warrior, which was released on 9 September 2011 by Lionsgate Films. His performance as Tommy Riordan, who is trained by his father to fight in a mixed martial arts tournament against his brother, gained praise from critics. Hardy also starred in This Means War (2012), a romantic comedy directed by McG. He played the supervillain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, the final film in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy, released on 20 July 2012. He played a bootlegger in John Hillcoat's crime drama Lawless (2012). Hardy has signed up to play the lead role of Sam Fisher in Ubisoft's forthcoming film adaptation of their video game series Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell. He also appeared in Riz Mc's music video for the song "Sour Times".
In 2014, Hardy appeared in the crime film The Drop alongside James Gandolfini, in what would be the latter's final appearance in a feature film before his death. Hardy also joined the cast of the BBC crime drama Peaky Blinders in its second series. He portrays Alfie Solomons (who is based on a real-life East End Jewish gangster named Alfred Solomon), the head of a Jewish gang based in Camden Town, north London and runner of a distillery which disguises itself as a bakery. Writing for Medium, Shani Silver described Hardy's portrayal of Alfie Solomons as 'The Scene-Stealingest Character Of All Time', commenting that "I’ve never understood if Alfie was meant to be a villain or comedic foil or some pick-a-mix of both, but I’ve never loved every second of someone’s screen time more."
In 2018, Hardy starred in the film Venom as the title comic book sometime hero, Eddie Brock, and the symbiote Venom. Based on the Marvel source material, the film was released on 5 October, and is the first installment in Sony's Spider-Man Universe. In 2019, Hardy served as an executive producer in the 2019 BBC/FX three-part miniseries A Christmas Carol. In 2020, Hardy starred in Josh Trank's Al Capone biopic Capone.
An avid practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Hardy has been seen training at Roger Gracie's affiliate schools and with John Danaher. He has won a number of jiu-jitsu competitions, with one such occurrence being at the UMAC Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open Championships in September 2022. He is the lead ambassador for the REORG Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Foundation, a Royal Marines-backed charity allowing current and former military personnel to learn the martial art as part of their recovery and to combat physical and mental challenges. Hardy was promoted to purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu on June 19, 2023.