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“Lawless” director John Hillcoat (“The Road”) says Forrest was a character Hardy was “itching to play.”

“He’s part of a new wave of acting talent _ including Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling _ and Tom’s very much a part of that kind of real rigorous and inspiring acting,” says Hillcoat.

Hardy, who has a son from a previous relationship, is engaged to actress Charlotte Riley. (He referred to her as his wife, which would be his second marriage.) But as one of the most sought-after young actors in Hollywood, another night of parties in Cannes holds obvious dangers of excess for Hardy. Pearce, on parting with him, gently advises him to “try not to get killed.”

But however uninhibited Hardy lives, it’s clear acting brings an orderliness for him.

“When I’m working, I have this discipline and I get meaning from it,” says Hardy. “It gives me purpose. And then I can turn to my little boy and say, `Daddy does something. And I do it well. I may not be the best, but I’m the best that I can be. Now eat your f–– greens.’




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