Extract from the Telegraph Magazine:
By the time Tom went to the Drama Centre [between 1998 and 2001], he had eased up on breaking the law, but was – he realises in retrospect - a full-blown drink and drug addict. What was his particular vice? 'Anything I could lay my hands on. You name it, I took it.' At first, his addictions didn't affect his career. Two years into his three-year drama degree, Hardy landed a part in “Band of Brothers”, swiftly followed by Ridley Scott's “Black Hawk Down” (in which he performed all his own stunts, including being set on fire). His big break came when he was offered the role of the villain in “Star Trek: Nemesis” (2002).
By then, he was regularly bingeing. Hardy's low point came one morning in 2002 when he collapsed in Soho, and came round 'on Old Compton Street with a crack pipe, covered in blood and vomit'. With the support of his parents - to whom he has always been very close - Hardy checked himself into rehab. When he left several weeks later, he moved back home. But it was his work, he says, that was his salvation. 'The first job I did out of rehab was “In Arabia We'd All Be Kings”, in which I played a messed-up smack addict, 'he laughs. 'The opportunity to exorcise my demons, night after night, was a real gift.'
In all his most notable screen performances - as Robert Dudley in “The Virgin Queen”, Jack Rose in Granada's Second World War prison-break thriller “Colditz” and the villainous Shinzon in “Star Trek: Nemesis” - he has managed to excavate the sensitive soul that lurks beneath a swaggering arrogance. But it is on stage that Hardy has electrified audiences.
In 2003 he was awarded the Evening Standard Theatre award for Best Newcomer for his performances in “In Arabia We'd All Be Kings” at the Hampstead Theatre and “Blood” at the Royal Court. 'Those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first call Promising,' the then 26-year-old cautiously joked in an interview. He needn't have worried. 'Tom Hardy exudes sex appeal and a dangerous unpredictability,' said one newspaper theatre critic of his performance in Rufus Norris's production of “Festen” at the Almeida. Even in the damply received National Theatre production of George Etheridge's “The Man of Mode”, directed by Nicholas Hytner, he was singled out by another critic as 'utterly persuasive throughout'.