Many actors will have experienced a long wait for their dream part, working their way through the stage and screen ranks before their ideal script drops on their doormat.
Tom Hardy, however, is not one of them.
The British actor, who has become a Hollywood favourite after appearing in a string of blockbusters, is to play his ultimate fictional character on television this month, after getting his father to write the script for him.
Hardy, whose father Edward “Chips” Hardy worked as a comedy script writer, has previously told how he hoped to play an amalgam of “every classical character in one”, encompassing the key traits of of Bill Sykes, Sherlock Holmes, Hannibal Lecter and Heathcliff.
His father’s handiwork, Taboo, is now set to broadcast on the BBC this year.
Mr Hardy Sr said: “It was a wonderful thing to be working as father and son, we have so many affinities.”
The show, which – unusually for a BBC drama – will broadcast on Saturday nights, tells the dark story of the East India Company, diamond smuggling, and an adventurer hellbent on avenging the death of his father.
Hardy’s leading man is described as “moody, tattooed and explosive”.
When asked what inspired the story, Mr Hardy said: “Tom came around one day with an idea of a complex character he’d like to play.
“We both wanted to work together on a TV drama, so I went off to build context and themes around his character brief.
“It soon became obvious that the arena and the title should be Taboo.”
Ridley Scott, the Hollywood director who worked on the show as executive producer, said he first visualised the programme after a visit from Hardy and his father.
“Tom came in with his dad,” he told the Radio Times. “He had written a very detailed ten- page synopsis, which included Africa, America and the dark side of England at the time.”
Describing how his character, James Keziah Delaney, came about, Hardy has previously said: “I played Bill Sykes in Oliver Twist and really enjoyed the character and I thought I would like to play more Bill Sykes, but as a lead.
“But then I also thought I’d really like to play Doctor Faustus in Bill Sykes’s body. And I’d also actually really like to play Hannibal Lecter there too. And Sherlock Holmes. And I think we should put Heathcliff in there too and Marlow from Heart Of Darkness, we shouldn’t forget him.
“And a little bit of Mr Darcy but not too much, because that’s really boring, actually.
“How can you choose someone where you have a completely sophisticated anti-hero, who is not only completely Dionysiac in aspect, almost Aleister Crowley, and all the best parts of that and Oedipal, and at the same time a can-do hero lead but also a depth of depravity to him, but also great nobility.”
He added: “I took the idea to dad and he was like, ‘F— off, I’m writing a novel’.
Mr Hardy was eventually persuaded, taking a year to write his “conflicted hero” with the help of fellow writer Stephen Knight.
“It was a really inclusive process,” he said. “Once we’d laid down the spine of the story, we operated on a best idea wins principle.
“The writing stage was intense, exhilarating and rewarding, and production equally so.
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