'Dunkirk': Christopher Nolan on Putting Tom Hardy in a Mask Again

Kevin Polowy
Senior Correspondent

Three makes a trend. Following The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Christopher Nolan‘s rousing new WWII thriller Dunkirk will mark the third major movie in the past five years where Tom Hardy spends copious amounts of screen time buried under a menacing mask.

This time it’s to play the Royal Air Force fighter pilot Farrier, who may be the only hope hundreds of thousands of stranded Allied soldiers have as they’re surrounded by Nazi forces on the titular French beach in 1940.

Nolan, who also directed Hardy in Inception (2010) and Dark Knight Rises took delight in the actor’s ability to act through facial concealments.

“I knew from having worked with Tom as Bane on Dark Knight Rises that this is a guy who gave an amazing performance with just a couple eyes and a scalp,” Nolan told Yahoo Movies (watch above). “So I said, OK, let’s do it again. But this time you’ve got goggles, you’ve got a helmet and everything, you can act with your right eye. Let’s see what you can do with just that.’ And of course what he does with just that is remarkable. But that’s Tom Hardy.”

Nolan won’t necessarily admit Hardy loves masks, though. “I don’t know if he likes them,” he laughed. “What he likes is a challenge. What he likes is being able to show what he can do with less than anybody else.”

Dunkirk opens Friday.

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