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Tom Hardy had some big shoes to fill as Batman villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. After the massive success of Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight, it was a huge challenge for director Christopher Nolan to find the right actor who could give a comparable performance.

When the final film in the trilogy was released, the reviews of Hardy’s Bane were mostly positive. Overall, fans liked the character and his imposing presence. And they believed he was a proper foe for Christian Bale’s Caped Crusader. But there’s a lot of things that fans don’t know about Hardy’s villainous turn.

Tom Hardy, who plays the villian Bane, acts in a scene on the set of "The Dark Knight Rises" filming near the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute Building
Tom Hardy as Bane | Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

1. Tom Hardy Improvised 1 of Bane’s more surprising lines

Hardy did have a few improvised moments as Bane while filming The Dark Knight Rises. And, according to a compilation from WhatCulture, one of his improvised lines ended up making the final cut of the film. When Bane finally decides to attack Gotham Stadium, he has to wait for the right moment.

As he waits with his goons before chaos erupts, a young boy starts singing The Star Spangled Banner. Bane’s response to this was completely improvised by Hardy. He took a moment to enjoy the national anthem and said, “What a lovely, lovely voice.”

Nolan kept the line in the film because he felt it made Bane seem even more terrifying.

2. He didn’t read ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ script before taking the role

According to Hardy, Nolan reached out to him about The Dark Knight Rises shortly after Inception hit theaters. At that point, the story idea was still in Nolan’s head. But he asked Hardy if he would be interested in playing a villain that would require him to wear a mask for six months.

Without a script, Hardy agreed to the role. He signed on because he knew he’d have access to every resource he needed — martial arts training, a ton of weapons, and unlimited time with Nolan — to make the character the best he could.

3. Tom Hardy’s training regiment was intense

To prepare for the role of Bane, Hardy packed on 30 pounds of pure muscle in a short amount of time. This required an intense training schedule that had him in the gym four times a day.

When it was all over, Hardy admitted that adding that much muscle to his body so quickly did some damage to his joints. Since then, he says he hurts in places he didn’t hurt before. And, carrying his kids around is a bit more difficult.

4. Bane’s voice was redone because test audiences couldn’t understand him

The one detail about Bane that caused the most controversy among fans was his voice. They either love it or hate it. But when the film was put in front of test audiences, fans could barely understand the character’s dialogue — and Nolan and Hardy both noticed.

As a result, Hardy re-recorded many of Bane’s lines. He wanted audiences to understand his character and give them the best movie experience possible.

5. Bane wore heels

Like most leading men on the big screen, Hardy isn’t very tall. He’s only about five-foot-nine, which made him quite a bit shorter than other actors in the supporting cast. At six feet, Christian Bale is a bit taller than most of Hollywood’s leading men.


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Because Bane stood next to the taller actors so often, Nolan decided to have Hardy wear elevated shoes or “heels.” What’s more, in Bane’s solo scenes, Nolan often shot at an upward angle to make Hardy appear even larger.

6. Tom Hardy loves Batman

Hardy was a huge Batman fan growing up. So when he became Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, it pretty much destroyed his childhood. Seeing the Caped Crusader on set — and knowing it was his job to destroy his childhood hero — brought on some serious cognitive dissonance.

Because he was determined to be the best Bane he could possibly be, Hardy used his love of Batman as a tool to fight harder. He worked through those feelings of nostalgia to become the most terrifying Batman villain he could be.

The Dark Knight trilogy is now streaming on HBO Max.