Tom Hardy Plays Gangster Kray Twins in Legend
Tom Hardy plays Ronnie and Reggie
Tom Hardy Plays Double Tough
Studio Canal and Working Title Productions have recently released a teaser of their upcoming film, Legend, with lead actor Tom Hardy playing both the late, notorious East London gangsters, Ronald and Reginald Kray who were identical twins.
Perhaps having one actor double-up makes perfect sense.
After all, Tom Hardy looks exactly like himself.
In playing twins, Mr. Hardy has joined rare acting company.
There have been plenty of thespians who’ve played multiple roles in a film or television show, there roughly twenty who tackled the task of playing identical twins.
Some are fictional and some are actual identical siblings. One of the better lists of twin file challenges was by movefone.com.
Perhaps even more unusual about Legend is that it will mark the third biopic of the Krays.
They were first immortalized on celluloid in the 1990 film, eponymous, The Krays.
The siblings were played by real-life, non-twin siblings, Gary and Martin Kemp who were members of a renown 1980s UK-based band, Spandau Ballet.
In May 2015, The Rise of The Krays has its UK release. The low-budgeter, as the title implies, covers the early years of their criminal empire. Not much is known about this version. Once gets the impression that (with all due respect) they had little to spend on promotion.
Meanwhile, Legend is set to be released in September of 2015 and has all the earmarks of a big-budget blockbuster.
Considering the biopics and the barrage of documentaries on the duo, it is safe to say Ronald and Reginald struck a deep chord in the collective UK and worldwide cinema fans’ psyche.
They were born and raised in poverty-laden Hoxton, East London. They rose to high levels of criminal notoriety in the 1950s & 1960s, gaining a reputation for extreme violence in addition to their wide range of illegal activities.
Their band of loyal and equally terrifying associates, were known as “The Firm.”
The brothers invested their ill-gotten gains in a London nightclub and were known to fraternize with a slew of celebrities of both UK and international fame.
It was not uncommon for them to be photographed by paparazzi and, in essence, enjoyed a certain level of celebrity, especially during “the swinging sixties.”
Still, despite money and fame, Ronald Kray endured a considerable amount of personal problems. He allegedly suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was bisexual, both of which brought about their share of controversy and stigma.
Eventually, their wrongdoings caught up with them and they were both sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in 1969 for two murders.
Because of his mental illness, Ronald was certified insane and remanded to a psychiatric hospital. He died of a heart attack in 1995.
Reginald, terminally ill with cancer was given a compassionate release because of his health problems and passed away in 2000.
They had an older brother, Charlie, who spent considerable time in prison on a variety of charges. He also passed away, from natural causes, in 2000.
There seems to be an enduring romanticism with the twins and their story despite their many problems and wrongdoings.
Tom Hardy is a talented UK actor with a wealth of ability to handle both the intellectual and physical challenges of any role. As the brothers Kray, there are considerable demands, playing bad as well as violent is no stretch for the actor, who is most assuredly skilled to hand the more subtle aspects of the double-roles.
With all due respect, Tom Hardy is a highly in-demand actor but one wonders if he isn’t a bit over-exposed.
At the same time, one also wonders if movie fans will soon grow tired of the Krays. It's bound to happen eventually.
One way or the other, we’ll find out this fall.