Tom Hardy: Acting was my saviour

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Tom Hardy at European premiere

Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy says acting "saved" him from taking a "dark time" in his life.

Tom Hardy says acting "saved" him during a "dark time" in his life.

The 38-year-old star is one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood but prior to his success, he suffered from drug problems and alcoholism - having once collapsed after a crack cocaine binge - and has now opened up about how his profession saved his life.

And Tom also credits the bond he shares with his father, Edward "Chips" Hardy - a novelist and comedy writer - and wanting to make his dad "proud" for bringing him back from the edge.

Tom shared: "In death, I was reborn ... The only thing that saved me through that dark time was acting.

"I originally got into it because I wanted to make my father proud of me. Because I was an only child, this was very important to me - and there wasn't very much of anything else that I could do. But acting was something I could do - and because I found that I was good at it, I wanted to make the effort to invest time and effort into doing it.

"These days, I'm lucky enough to do it for a living; and I love it and I learn from it every day."

Hardy is enjoying a phenomenally successful period in his career receiving critical acclaim for his portrayal of English gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray in 'Legend', playing a battle-hardened road warrior in 'Mad Max: Fury Road' and for his performance as John Fitzgerald in 'The Revenant' - which has earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Academy Awards.

He admits he enjoys playing bad guys on the big screen because they are so far removed from his own life.

Hardy told the Daily Mail newspaper: "Playing the bad guy is a safe way of entering a fantasy world ... I am as frightened of these characters as anyone is, because I have seen them in real life and they really do scare me."

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