Tom Hardy Gave up on Being a Romantic Lead After Bombing His Audition for ‘Pride & Prejudice’

Tom Hardy is often known for playing dark characters. From the tortured fighter in Gavin O Connor’s Warrior to the supervillain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, the actor’s filmography is full of troubled spirits. However, at the beginning of his career, Hardy once tried to audition for a much lighter role in Pride & Prejudice.

But the feedback he received for his audition not only bothered Hardy, but convinced the actor that he just wasn’t leading man material when it came to romance.

Tom Hardy isn’t like the masculine characters he often plays

Tom Hardy smirking in a yellow shirt.
Tom Hardy | Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Hardy has admitted that he’s the complete opposite of the masculine roles he’s known for. Over the years, Hardy has played diverse but tough and hard-as-nails characters on the big screen. Apart from Warrior and The Dark Knight Rises, he’s also found himself in similar roles with films like Mad Max: Fury Road and Bronson.

Although he gravitates to these characters, Hardy admits these are parts that he’s often afraid of immersing himself in. Which is why he always takes them.

“I think things that frighten me are compelling and I want to understand them,” Hardy once said according to the Los Angeles Times. “Wherever I go around the world, there’s always somebody out there who’s a bit scary and I’ll collect that. Or animals – I’ll learn from animals as well.”

But Hardy didn’t always want to be these hard and sometimes disturbing figures. There were a couple of times when Hardy tried to lighten up his career. But things just didn’t go the way he planned.

Tom Hardy gave up on being a romantic lead after bombing his audition for ‘Pride & Prejudice’

Hardy asserted that he has a bit of trouble playing romantic leads in the same interview with LA Times. This difficulty cost him a significant role in 2005’s Pride & Prejudice.

The Revenant actor confided losing the role hit him particularly hard. Regardless of the type of roles he’s played over the years, The Telegraph reported that Hardy was also very interested in classical stories. Because of this, Pride & Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy was right up his alley. But when he auditioned, he was met with the kind of criticism that left an impression on him.

“‘Babe, every woman in the world has an impression of who Mr. Darcy is and you’re just not it,'” Hardy recalled the ex-head of Universal pictures told him.

“That hurt, that really hurt,” Hardy said. “I’d worn a blue shirt and jeans and a blue blazer and been doing my best Hugh Grant impression. But now I was back to playing the wonky skewiff-teeth kid with the bow legs.”

In the same interview with LA Times, Hardy added that this experience motivated him to stay away from romantic comedies.

“I was like, ‘Fair enough.’ I’m obviously not a romantic lead, so I’m not going to focus a lot of my attention on being something that I’m not. I like to play people who’ve got a bit of range on them: a little bit of dark and a little bit of light.”

Tom Hardy was miserable working on the romcom movie ‘This Means War’

However, the Inception star would later change his mind. In 2012, Hardy took another crack at the romance genre with Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine. The film, This Means War, starred Hardy as a CIA agent who fought Chris Pine over Witherspoon’s affection. Hardy did the film because it was something he hadn’t experienced.

“I love to do things I hadn’t done before,” he said in an interview with USA Today.

But it was an experience he didn’t enjoy, and further reinforced his beliefs that comedy wasn’t for him.

“I didn’t understand how you could do something which is so much fun and be so miserable doing it,” Hardy said, feeling like he just didn’t fit in with everyone else. “I probably won’t do a romantic comedy again, do you know what I mean?”

Tom Hardy is just fine not being a leading man

Tom Hardy has made it clear that superstardom isn’t his mission with acting nowadays. Instead, he’s satisfied with just being a working actor according to the LA Times.

“Tom doesn’t want to be a leading man in a way because it’s a little dull for him,” Helgeland said, who directed Hardy in Legend.

Hardy would verify Helgeland’s assessment, and didn’t see his stardom lasting long at the time.

“I’m just Tommy who does his thing,” Hardy said. “I’m just doing a bit of acting now and then. It’s like I came to deliver a pizza and I got really lucky.”

RELATED: Tom Hardy Wrestled a Naked Shia LaBeouf Before Falling Down the Stairs