'Dark Knight Rises' Star Tom Hardy 'Intimidated' by Christian Bale's Batman

Bane in 'The Dark Knight Rises'
<p>The 2012 film, <em>The Dark Knight Rises, </em>is the third installment in<strong> Christopher Nolan</strong>&#39;s Batman series. <em>The Dark Knight Rises </em>marked Hardy&#39;s reunion with Nolan, who directed him in <em>Inception.</em> Hardy plays the villainous Bane, gaining about 30 pounds of muscle for the role.</p>
"There’s a three-year-old in me that’s going, ‘Oh my God that’s Batman,'" says Hardy. "That’s Batman and he’s going to hit me! But I love Batman!"

Bane, the massive brute of a villain in The Dark Knight Rises, is not like anything Batman has faced in Christopher Nolan's previous two franchise entries.

Played by Tom Hardy, the first glimpses of Christian Bale's on-screen nemesis have been quite imposing. And as Hardy and Nolan tell Empire Magazine, he makes for "the ultimate physical villain."

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"He’s a great sort of movie monster," Nolan tells Empire, "but with an incredible brain, and that was a side of him that hadn’t been tapped before. Because the stories from the comics are very epic and very evocative — very much in the way that Bruce Wayne’s origin story is epic and evocative. We were looking to really parallel that with our choice of villain. So he is a worthy adversary."

And that's not to say they don't play up the carnage. Hardy describes the film's carnage, previewed in recent amateur videos shot in New York and Pittsburgh, as brutal.

"He’s a wrecking ball," says Hardy. "He’s horrible. A really horrible piece of work.”

Clashing with that many people is also a daunting task as an actor. Hardy, who's taken on physical roles before, admits found the fight choreography overwhelming at times.

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"When you’re training in a rehearsal room you go, OK, I have a contact with seven people," he says. "This guy I chin, this one I slip and I punch, this one I pick up and suplex, this guy I kick in the face and this one, he stops a hammer with his head. And then I meet Batman. That’s all alright in a rehearsal room, but then you add 1,000 people that are all dressed the same as the seven you’re supposed to hit."

Still, from the way Hardy speaks of his co-star, the most daunting aspect of the shoot was going head to head with Bale.

"He looks really intimidating," Hardy says. "There’s a three-year-old in me that’s going, ‘Oh my God that’s Batman! That’s Batman and he’s going to hit me! But I love Batman!' Then I look in the mirror. And I hit him back. Twice as hard.”

Nolan thinks his star more than rose to the occasion. "It’s a very powerful thing when you see it come together, beyond what I had ever imagined," he says. "That’s what you get from working with great actors.”