Tom Hardy explains the very specific and somewhat strange origins of the controversial voice he used for bad guy Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.
Tom Hardy explains how he came up with Bane’s voice in The Dark Knight Rises. Hardy is about to return as Eddie Brock in the comic book sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage. But before he joined the Spider-Man/Marvel universe as Brock, he of course made his superhero debut as Batman villain Bane in the third Dark Knight movie.
Hardy obviously has become known for making some interesting acting choice in his various roles, particularly as regards the way he uses his voice. But no voice of Hardy’s has been more controversial than the one he adopted for the masked villain Bane in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy wrap-up. Hardy’s Bane voice was actually so impossible to understand that his dialog had to be re-redubbed after a preview scene left audiences scratching their heads.
Where exactly Hardy got the idea for Bane’s distinctive voice actually makes for an interesting story in its own right. Appearing alongside Venom 2 director Andy Serkis on Wired’s always fun segment where stars answer the web’s most-searched questions, Hardy went in-depth on his process for deciding how Bane should sound, and in part discussed trying to get around possible objections to a white man playing a character who in the comics has Latinx origins:
That was actually a really cool choice that Chris [Nolan] made. Bane quintessentially is Latinx in origin…and I’m not. So I looked at the concept of Latin and found a man called Bartley Gorman, who’s a Romany gypsy. The king of the gypsies, in inverted commas, is a bare-knuckle fighter and a boxer. And he said [doing Bane-like voice], “When I get into a ring with a man, and we want to wipe you off the face of the Earth, and he wants to kill me.” And I was like this is great. And I showed Chris. I said Chris, we can either go down a sort of arch Darth Vader route, straight just neutral tone villain voice, or we could try this. And this I’ve been thinking of just in case we’ve got to consider the roots and origins of Bane. But we could get laughed out of the part of it, it might be something that we regret, but it’s your choice ultimately. He says, no I think we’ll go with it. And that was that. And we played with it, and made it a bit more fluid, and now people love it [laughs].
Hardy’s Bane inspiration “King of the Gypsies” Gorman was indeed a bare-knuckle fighter who competed in illegal matches throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s and became a legendary figure before his death in 2002. A few clips of Gorman can in fact be viewed on YouTube and while he certainly seems like a colorful man who might inspire a movie character or two, it’s actually difficult to see very much relationship between his voice and the voice Hardy ultimately came up with for Bane. Of course Bane is masked in The Dark Knight Rises which changes the sound of his voice, making it more muffled. And as Hardy explained in his Wired interview, he and Dark Knight Rises director Nolan did “play around” with the voice, making it more fluid. Hardy also jokes about people “loving” his Bane voice, which of course is arguably worthy of a laugh, as there are plenty of people who do not love what he did with the character’s way of speaking in the film.
Whether one loves or hates Hardy’s Bane voice there’s no question he did put a lot of thought into the way the character should speak. Ultimately, it seems Hardy and Nolan mainly wanted to avoid a “neutral tone villain voice” by giving Bane a strange and distinctive way of expressing himself. And there’s no denying they succeeded in their aim of making Bane memorable. Whether The Dark Knight Rises’ version of Bane is actually a good realization of the character or merely an odd and ultimately failed one is of course another question. As Hardy says in his interview, Bane is actually Latinx in origin, and that fact alone creates an understandable obstacle to people accepting Hardy as the character regardless of his voice.
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