Why do we love Tom Hardy? Those lips! Those tats! The extremely wild past! Let us count the ways he's like the male Angelina Jolie... only better.

Sure, you might have fallen for him as Handsome Bob in 'RockNRolla' (or maybe your crush goes all the way back to his small part in 'Band of Brothers'), but for most of us, the moment that clinched our Tom Hardy love involved a grenade launcher and the word "darling."
From 'Inception' on, we've had a mad crush on the Englishman. If he's in a movie, we're going to see it -- and, darling, he's got an epic slate coming up, most notably this weekend's 'Warrior' and as the villain Bane in 'The Dark Knight Rises.' Ahead, 15 reasons to love Tom Hardy.

1. He's a Chameleon (Eat Your Hearts Out, Robert De Niro and Christian Bale)
In 'Inception,' he played a "forger," able to turn into anyone he wanted, man or woman. It was the perfect role for an actor who's been able to transform himself completely from role to role: He put on 35 pounds of muscle for his breakout role in 'Bronson,' then slimmed down again for 'Inception.' For 'Warrior,' he underwent a punishing fitness regimen, learning boxing, Muay Thai, kickboxing and jujitsu, and then got even bigger and scarier to play the imposing Bane.

2. Even Christian Bale Is Impressed
"He's a real fascinating actor," Bale recently told Screenrush of working with Hardy on 'The Dark Knight Rises.' "He's going to be creating some wonderful characters over his career, and he's doing so with this. He's the real deal. I'm very impressed with him." And Michael Caine, who's cracked a few heads in his days on the big screen, called him "the toughest guy in British movies."

3. He Does His Own Stunts
In one of his early roles in Ridley Scott's 'Black Hawk Down,' he persuaded Scott to let him do his own stunts, including setting himself on fire. While making 'Warrior,' Hardy broke his toe, his ribs and tore the ligament in his right hand. Ouch!

4. He's a Reformed Bad Boy
As a teen model (go Google pics of baby-faced Tom, right now!) he led a wild life, including the now-famous story of his missing a Hollywood meeting with John Woo and instead waking up in downtown L.A., naked, next to some guy, a cat and a gun with the safety off (story here). Those wild days are behind him now, though; he beat an addiction to crack-cocaine and has been sober since 2003.

5. He's Not Afraid of Hard Work
Hardy nearly blew his entire career thanks to those early addictions, so now when he reports to work, he gives the director his all. "There comes a point where if you want to participate at a certain level in anything, you cannot just turn up and be respected," he told Men's Health U.K. "A lot of the people who I think are brilliant -- and who I want to be more like -- work their f*cking arses off, constantly."

6. He Makes Us Laugh
Especially when he's laughing. Check out this interview where he can't stop cracking up. Adorkable!

7. He's Totally Secure in His Sexuality
How refreshing to hear an actor who doesn't care what people think of him. While promoting his role as the gay gangster Handsome Bob in 'RocknRolla,' Hardy admitted to experimenting with men in his youth. "I'm an actor for f*ck's sake," he said. If only everyone else could man up so nonchalantly.

8. He's One of England's Finest Novelists
His books include the classics 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' and 'Jude the Obscure.' Oh wait, that's Thomas Hardy. Still, we're glad he goes by "Tom" and not "Ed Hardy" (his given name is Edward Thomas Hardy).

9. Underneath the Tough Exterior, We Know There's a Sweetheart
As his 'Warrior' director Gavin O'Connor told GQ, "Tom Hardy ... has this quality where there could be this very hard exterior, but there's also a very fragile little boy in there ... I needed an actor who can, when you look at him, know there's a vulnerability there that you can empathize with."

10. He Loves Buying Women's Shoes
As he told Esquire, he just loves to shop. (He really is secure in his sexuality). Another reason he'd make the perfect boyfriend. Alas, he's taken, ladies. He's engaged to Charlotte Riley, his co-star in 'Wuthering Heights.'

11. He's Super GQ
Could the man be more dapper? The entire cast of 'Inception' wore some very stylish threads, but Hardy's Eames put them all to shame. The man could have worn an ascot and still been more manly than his co-stars. And his red carpet sartorial choices? A-plus.

12. He Does Charity Work
In 2010, he was appointed an ambassador for the Prince's Trust, a U.K. charity that helps disadvantaged people aged 14 to 30 with training and education. "It's so important to me that they get the life-changing second chance that I had," Hardy has said. Hear, hear.

13. He's Super-Generous
Photographers in Vancouver caught Hardy giving an autograph and $5 to a homeless man in downtime from shooting the romantic comedy 'This Means War.'

14. He's a Proud Father
The story behind some of Tom's tats? There's a star he had done when he found out his then-girlfriend, Rachael Speed, was pregnant with son Louis (now 2-and-a-half); he added the phrases "figlio mio bellisimo" ("my beautiful son") and "padre fiero" ("proud father"). And in a tattoo that gets prominent play in 'Warrior,' his left arm features ink of the Madonna (the Biblical figure, not the pop star) cradling Louis. Awww! Hardy told a U.K. paper that this was also to mark his own rebirth.

15. He Made One of Our Favorite Movies Even Better
Eames schooling colleague Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) by telling him, "You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling," before whipping out a grenade launcher is more than just a great "Say hello to my little friend" movie moment. That one line encapsulates everything we love about Hardy: the cheeky bravado, delivered with charm and style to burn. And did we mention he improvised the "darling?"
Based on 35 critics

A war veteran and his estranged brother clash in a mixed-martial-arts tournament. Read More

categories Features