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03rd Sep 2015

Tom Hardy opens up on his first dual role as Ronnie and Reggie Kray in Legend

Lia Nicholls

Tom Hardy is drawn to complex characters like a moth to a flame.

Mad Max, Bronson, Bane in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, Forrest Bonduran for Lawless; they’re pretty dark, mad bastards. But it’s his first dual role of Ronnie and Reggie Kray he’s found the most challenging.

“It is the hardest thing that I’ve ever done, technically”, confesses Hardy.


The British actor and Legend director Brian Helgeland decided over dinner he’d play Reggie and his paranoid schizophrenic twin Ronnie Kray, it was an ambitious move that could have easily backfired.

Hardy told Shortlist: “It is one of them situations. You get an actor to play two characters, and immediately, it’s pony. It’s gonna be rubbish. Just: no. It’s a bad idea.”

Reggie, who is depicted in the film as the more lenient, attractive and clinically sane of the two always had Hardy’s name on it, however once he read the script, he was drawn to the madder, badder Ronnie.

The 37-year-old says: “I was like, ‘Well, I feel Ronnie’. So which actor am I gonna give up Ronnie to, if I play Reggie? Errrrrggh…. I can’t have that. ’Cos that’s all the fun there! And Reggie’s so straight! But there was a moment when I could have come away just playing Reggie. We could have gone and found a superlative character actor to play Ronnie, and that would have been the best of everything.”

It was Sam Rockwell’s two-interacting-characters performance in ‘Moon’ which made them believe it could be done.

Hardy reveals: “Moon gave me reason to go, ‘I know it’s possible to hustle with self, to create a genuine dialogue with self.’”

But once it was decided over dinner he’d take on both roles, the cinematic technicalities came to the fore.

“He (Brian Helgeland) inherited the hardest job of my career. I put on a pair of glasses, played every scene with Ron, then took ’em off and played Reg. And we went through every scene in the film, recording it on the iPhone. So he’s got every scene of me doing both characters, on his iPhone.”

Creating two characters in the same scene is a huge feat, to actually believe they aren’t the same person and for the audience to immerse into the film, but they’ve succeeded with Legend, out September 9.

Hardy says: “I think we got to a point where people forget that and are genuinely watching the story.”