Bringing Real Life Into Your Performance

Posted on 26 August 2014

“The secret to moving passions in others is to be moved oneself”



We were reading recently about how Tom Hardy brought his real life experiences into his role as a troubled ex-marine-turned-cage fighter Tommy in the critically acclaimed film ‘Warrior. ’


“The action drama is a paean to redemption and the power of the human spirit, themes that resonate strongly with Hardy.”

The Telegraph



At the time that he made ‘Warrior’, American critics were comparing Tom Hardy to a young Marlon Brando, one of the greatest ever method actors. The star of Bronson, Lawless, The Dark Knight Rises, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Inception and the forthcoming Mad Max remake has more life experience than most Hollywood actors to draw on when it comes to playing a character like Tommy.


With a history of drug and alcohol abuse, stealing, gun possession and jail time, he had a deep chest of experiences to channel into tortured ex-marine Tommy.



“I don’t need to discuss or work around the abuse that surrounds alcoholism and dysfunction in families who suffer from that disease because it’s something I can draw on from personal experience.”

Tom Hardy


Reading about how Tom Hardy connected with the sadder side of Tommy prompted us to think about how the power of bringing real life into character as actors.


Life comes first. What I see in the characters, I first try to see in life


Daniel Day Lewis, Method Actor



The Method is a technique allowing you to inspire yourself at will, in part, by reliving your own life experiences and channeling them through the character. It is the creative (re)experiencing of memory and experience on stage or screen.


“Experience makes the doors open”


Marion Cotillard, Backstage



This is the essence of Konstantin Stanislavsky’s ‘system’ which, we think, lends a greater and deeper truth and humanity to the character. In ‘Warrior’, the spellbinding action in the cage is only half of the story. The emotional and psychological turmoil in its central characters is the other.


Tom Hardy was absolutely believable and compelling as Tommy. He used the ‘affective memory’ method acting technique to create a character that was human and very much alive, not to mention the muscle bulk he put on for the role! Hardy’s ability to draw on poignant personal experiences and channel them is what makes him one of the leading method actors working in Hollywood today.


“The fight is within me, and I’ve been to all kinds of different rooms in my life”

Tom Hardy


Would you like to learn more about ‘the method’ and how it can help your acting career? Why not take a look at our range of acting courses? Alternatively, why not read my book?


Yes, I’m over 18 years of age