Tom Hardy is an actor who definitely isn't afraid of throwing himself wholly into his roles, bulking up to hugely muscular proportions as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises and Charles Bronson in Bronson, but also playing cooler-headed characters like Ricky Tamm in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Eames in Inception. Although he has a considerable amount of range, Hardy nonetheless tends to be cast within a fairly set range of roles: fighters, spies and tough guys.
After a string of much-lauded roles in highly-praised movies (we'll write This Means War off as a fluke), Hardy is at a point in his career where a lot of doors are probably open to him. He could easily make the choice to carry on taking roles that fit within his proven set of acting skills, but instead it seems that Hardy has elected to try something a bit new and very different to what he's known for.
Deadline has confirmed that Tom Hardy is now signed on to play Elton John in the upcoming biopic Rocketman, which was scripted by Billy Elliott writer Lee Hall and has newcomer Michael Gracey set to direct. HitFix first broke the news that Hardy had been offered the role back in May, though prior to that there had been a long search for the right actor, with James McAvoy rumored to be in the mix. According to the press release, John will re-record a number of his greatest hits for Rocketman, "to parallel the emotional beats of the film."
This really is quite an inspired casting choice, largely because it's such a long way from what people were probably expecting. The recent resounding critical success of Steven Soderbergh's Behind the Candelabra, which starred Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his lover, Scott Thorson, has no doubt already laid the groundwork for more established male actors to take on roles as famously flamboyant performers. Case in point, The Devil's Double star Dominic Cooper is also said to be circling a role as Freddy Mercury in an upcoming biopic (which is unfortunately going through some serious development troubles).
Hardy isn't an exact physical match for John, but biopic casting really doesn't need to be a lookalike contest. With the right haircut he'll make a decent match for a young John, and it will be really fascinating to see his take on the role. This is definitely a biopic to look forward to, if for no other reason than it's guaranteed a good soundtrack.
Rocketman is scheduled to shoot in fall 2014, which means that it could be out in theaters by late 2015.