Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace star in the noir crime drama The Drop, which is also James Gandolfini’s last film. You can cut the tension with a knife as various crime elements conspire to take hold of a Brooklyn bar and neighbourhood. Hardy plays a soft hearted bartender who imagines himself to be the moral arbiter of the area. Seemingly kind and sincere, he picks an abused dog out of a garbage can and bonds with Rapace’ character, a woman who lives next door to the bar who is just trying to survive in a case of location as destiny. One thing keeps the pair sane and that is the dog, Rocco, who incidentally steals more than his share of scenes. We spoke with Rapace and Hardy at the Toronto International Film Festival, where their film premiered this week. You can enjoy their real life chemistry in a special two-part story, pretty much as it transpired.
Part One: Making the Movie Together
Both of you are chameleons in all of your films; it’s something you have in common. It’s hard for people to get the varsity of roles that you get in which you can display these gifts. Why? Is it comfortable, the way you are?
Noomi – We are both extremely passionate about exploring things and try to find the truth and to bring things to life. We are both competitive with ourselves and never happy, never satisfied. I can always go further, I can always do better. I think we both have that passion and obsession in a way – how far what’s in there how deep can you dig. Not driven by vanity, it’s not about you coming in to look like a sexy leading man.
Tom – I can do that. I don’t lean on that, honestly. I try to avoid it. I do it for you more than anybody.
Noomi – Shut up! I’m talking about you! I saw Bronson and I remember before I met Tom and I saw you have go into stuff unprotected so you can rip yourself open. It’s about what comes out, not about looks, it’s about something else. I don’t care if I have to lose weight or gain weight or dye my hair or get piercings, that’s just cosmetic, one small detail. The emotional and psychological process. If I’m in a good situation and am with people I trust and respect there’s nothing I wouldn’t do emotionally and psychologically. I would go any place and with Tom I feel so safe and I trust you and we could do any film and have any relationship and I would not protect myself. I don’t need to come in and be on guard. Even if I do a bad take he has my back and I get braver and I can grow.
Tom – Transformation is not for everybody. With actors, sand some are drawn towards transformative work and specificity and some people are genuinely drawn and participate and it costs. There’s a risk of looking stupid. And there are people who can go the vanity call and enjoy the thrill of transform and being someone genuinely other than themselves at the bets of their ability. It’s a buzz. It’s good fun. If there is an element of chameleon to either of us, we are both character actors, and enjoy leads but come back to characters and transform as much as possible. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s more fulfilling to try than churn out being an “actor” and there’s nothing wrong with that, to them it’s a job and they enjoy playing roles. They don’t change or transform.
Noomi – I find that quite boring, they come in and they play its their way, you know exactly what they are going to do. It doesn’t matter what you do because they’ve decided what it is. Both like working with you I don’t know where it’s going to go, its life, living, so alive. You have to be open. Some takes can be more aggressive and then funny and it feels like were moving. It’s almost like an organism that you can’t control. I’m pretentious.
Tom – It’s not pretentious. You’re talking about process. And the question is about being a chameleon and transformation, or not. There are two sides. Recently I did something hip but it’s not I’m going to be this persons with this hat, they don’t change their accent or look. A very good performer can tell you a story but they don’t transform. People try to immerse themselves entirely and fool the dog and their children to think they are somebody else to the point where they will go to extremely into that investigation. People on this planet go into the character. But we do entertain and go in for character work. It’s really hard to do that. Others don’t go into transformation and they’re very good. I can’t do that so I do this. Shave my head, grow a beard, and use an accent.
Noomi – I wish I could do things cooler, more technical, just do it and go home and be a normal person. I can’t, I tried.
Tom – We’re never going to be movie stars babe. We’re liars. We lie professionally.
Noomi – Can’t you say something nice about me? I’ve been talking about you the whole time.
Tom – You shouldn’t give love if you don’t mean it. Its competitive and healthy competition. There are certain people I love working with because they are kindred spirits. Like James Gandolfini. They love acting, they love the craft the work and that’s a certain type of person and they will do anything to achieve the best for themselves and the team. I won’t stop ripping you as long as we work together. A working partner is someone you trust implicitly. You know I have your back. You could do better. Your best performance is yet to come. I want to be in that movie when it happens.
Part Two – The Dog Part:
So, Rocco the dog …
Tom – No! Next question.
Noomi – We want to talk about us. The dog gets too much attention.
Apparently you were all fighting to get its attention and hold onto the puppies.
Noomi – I got so jealous that he got so much attention, I said, pay some attention to me!
Tom – Me and Rocco all the way!
Tom, there are some great pix of you and the puppy.
Tom – There are, aren’t there? It’s all about me and that dog. Just Google it. Tom and that dog!
Did you see the internet meme of photos of you and the dog pasted into the Taj Mahal or Grand Canyon?
Tom – No! Wicked!
Noomi – To see a big handsome man with a little puppy –
Tom – A GREAT BIG DOG!
Noomi – Everybody melts. It’s kind of a cliché. We like it though.
Tom – I love dogs. I’m a sucker for a dog, I normally find dogs on every film I do, and one will end up in the house somehow, even if I have to take it from someone’s car. I’ve got no scruples. There’s always a way for a stray around for me to take home to London.
Noomi – I’m going to do a film in Pittsburgh and I asked Tom about the city and he said “Yeah, I found a dog there and he’s living with me.”
Tom – And I found a dog I Atlanta and he’s in London and from Brooklyn last year too. I love dogs.
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