Actor Tom Hardy weighs in on surprise slaying in martial arts competition

Milton Keynes, UK - 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, the star entered a real-life fight of his own, quietly winning gold at a jiu-jitsu competition.

Tom Hardy on the mat (r.) and at the premier of Marvel's Venom (l.).
Tom Hardy on the mat (r.) and at the premier of Marvel's Venom (l.).  © Collage: FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP & Instagram/tomhardy

The 45-year-old competed in the 2022 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open Championship on Saturday, a tournament at Oakgrove School in Milton Keynes, England, under the name "Edward Hardy."

And the Mad Max: Fury Road star didn't just compete, he surprisingly came out on top, defeating all his opponents for his weight, age, and belt level.

Photos and videos 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.

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"The intensity that he brought to his movie roles, he brought that," said Andy Leatherland, one of Hardy's opponents. "He didn't say a word, he didn't say anything."

The actor posted about the event on Wednesday night.

"Addiction is difficult and complex stuff to navigate; as is mental health. Subjects which are both deeply personal for me and extremely close to my heart," he wrote on Instagram. "It is an honor to be able to represent the charity and my team REORG and the great work they do."

"Simple training, for me (as a hobby and a private love) has been fundamentally key to further develop a deeper sense of inner resilience, calm and well-being," he added.

Hardy has been widely speculated to be a frontrunner to portray the next James Bond on the big screen.

Tom Hardy wins the 2022 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open Championship but has been known for intensity

Tom Hardy has reportedly taken his intensity too far on movie sets.
Tom Hardy has reportedly taken his intensity too far on movie sets.  © Alberto E. Rodriguez / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Off the mat, the Venom star was a "really nice guy" at the championships over the weekend, a spokesperson for the event said, 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.

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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 behavior, 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."

Cover photo: Collage: FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP & Instagram/tomhardy

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