GQ British | 2015 Power List | Oct. 2015 issue | ph. by Oleg Nikishin

It’s a Hollywood cliché to talk about such souped-up buzz words as “star power” or what, if anything, constitutes a leading man these days. Yet it’s fair to say that, in judging both, if an actor can carry two blockbusters on their back while muzzled like a rabid hound and having about six lines of dialogue in total, they’ve probably got it and they probably are one. From 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises (as villain Bane) to this year’s tectonic smash Mad Max: Fury Road (as the similarly mute and muffled title character), the 37-year-old Brit became that rare thing: the movie star you never saw coming.

What other actor, for instance, could have carried something like Locke, a film that consisted entirely of nothing but talking: just Hardy in his car, on the phone? It wasn’t so much a movie as an actor’s suicide note. Yet in Hardy’s hands – intense, gripping, effortlessly magnetic, demanding your attention while never stooping to beg for it – it became a calling card.

Next up, having conquered both talking and not-talking, Hardy is set to show off by playing both Kray twins in LA Confidential writer Brian Helgeland’s gangster biopic Legend, making him the only actor who can give himself the silent treatment or talk over himself. Then, next year, the ultimate tester of leading-man status: top billing opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in period drama The Revenant, from the Oscar-winning director of Birdman, Alejandro González Iñárritu. If you can hold your own against a man for whom a Victoria’s Secret afterparty is a quiet night in, you know you’ve got it. SM

Intelligence, self-confidence in one’s own skin. If a girl is slightly overweight or, you know, if she’s comfortable in herself, living life the way she wants to live it, I find that sexy and attractive and of course I love a woman with a sort of good sense of humour; playful and goofy.
—  Michael Fassbender on what he finds attractive in a woman | British GQ.