July 17, 2012 5:56am PT by Erin Carlson
'Dark Knight Rises': Tom Hardy on Playing Villain Bane, Battling Christian Bale (Video)
The third and final installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman saga sees Tom Hardy in his most menacing role yet as the villain Bane, a terrorist hell-bent on destroying Gotham.
Most of Hardy's face is shrouded in The Dark Knight Rises by a black, mechanical mask that his character uses to inhale a drug that gives him fearsome super-strength.
"It was hot and tight and a little bit claustrophobic at times," Hardy tells THR. "But, you know, it was good fun. Most of the time."
When an extended preview of the film rolled out in Imax theaters late last year, complaints broke out about Hardy's mask-muffled dialogue and the audience's inability to understand what he was saying. But after some apparent sound-editing tweaks, Bane's voice is something to behold: crystal-clear; booming; theatrical; worthy of a comic-book adversary.
"(Bane's) particular accent was very specific, which was a gypsy accent," he says. "So that's why it was difficult to understand. But once you tune into it, you get it. I hope."
Unbeknownst to Hardy, Nolan quietly auditioned the actor while filming the 2010 mind-bender Inception (co-starring Hardy in a breakout supporting role). Then, during Dark Knight Rises, "He quietly auditioned me ... for something else," says Hardy, cryptically.
Meanwhile, Hardy -- who plays the lead in 2013's Mad Max: Fury Road -- has nothing but nice things to say about his big-screen rival, Christian Bale, aka The Dark Knight.
"He's wonderful," raves Hardy. "I love him. He's a proper, proper actor and I'd love to work with him again. Something where he can hear me and I can see what he's saying."
The Dark Knight Rises opens Friday in theaters. If you need to brush up on the blockbuster franchise, here's how you can get up to speed.