On screen, actor Tom Hardy's iconic characters have fought the likes of Batman, extraterrestrial monsters and post-apocalyptic warlords.
But over the weekend, in a feat where life imitated art, Hardy entered a real-life fight of his own, quietly winning gold at a jiu-jitsu competition in the UK.
Hardy, 45, competed in the 2022 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open Championship on Saturday (Sept 17), a tournament at Oakgrove School in Milton Keyes, England, People reported Tuesday. The Mad Max: Fury Road star came out on top, defeating all his opponents for his weight, age and belt level.
Photos from the event show Hardy donning a blue gi, wearing a blue belt, the second adult rank in jiu-jitsu, which often requires hundreds of hours of training to achieve. He could be seen grappling with opponents on the mat, forcing some into submission along the way.
"The intensity that he brought to his movie roles, he brought that," said Andy Leatherland, 42, one of Hardy's opponents, in an interview with the Daily Mail. "He didn't say a word, he didn't say anything."
Off the mat, however, the Venom star was a "really nice guy," a spokesperson for the championships told the Guardian, adding that he took time to take photos with people throughout the tournament.
Hardy began to train in mixed martial arts in preparation for his 2011 film, Warrior, where he starred alongside Joel Edgerton as estranged brothers who join a fighting tournament together. Hardy's training included Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a martial art and combat sport where opponents attempt to submit each other through grappling.
Earlier this summer, Hardy entered another jiu-jitsu competition, a charity open championship in Wolverhampton, England, where Hardy also won gold for his division. Hardy is preparing for his third Venom film within Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe. He is also set to reprise his role as Max Rockatansky in an untitled Mad Max film, directed by George Miller.
During filming for Mad Max: Fury Road, other cast and crew members recalled Hardy taking his intensity too far.
Charlize Theron, who co-starred in the film, said that she felt "threatened" by Hardy, and had requested protection while on set, according to the book Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild And True Story Of Mad Max: Fury Road by Kyle Buchanan.
In one incident, after Hardy repeatedly showed up late for a shoot, she called him out for his behaviour, which led to Hardy "charging up to" Theron, with witnesses describing him as "quite aggressive".
Hardy himself addressed the claims in the book: "The pressure on both of us was overwhelming at times. What she needed was a better, perhaps more experienced partner in me. That's something that can't be faked. I'd like to think that now that I'm older and uglier, I could rise to that occasion." – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service