Two, Two, Two Geezers in One! Tom Hardy Films Legend

Ronnie Kray, Frances Shea, Reggie Kray, photo, Legend

Ronnie Kray, Frances Shea, Reggie Kray at the 1965 wedding of Frances and Reggie

British actor extraordinaire, Tom Hardy has already played a number of diverse characters including  Robert Dudley to Anne-Marie Duff’s Queen Elizabeth,  Heathcliff to (future fiance) Charlotte Riley‘s Cathy, incarcerated hardman/mad man Charlie Bronson, and of course arch-villain Bane, to name but a few.  He’s already set to add Sir Elton John to that list in the upcoming Rocket Man.  But first, he’ll add not one, but two O.G.’s (original geezers) to his resume.

Filming began this week on writer/director Brian Helgeland‘s Legend in which Hardy plays both Reggie and Ronnie Kray, the sadistic twins who ran a murder and protection racket in London during the 50s and 60’s (that probably gave Whitey Bulger something to aspire to) and palled around with socialites, MPs and entertainers. Their exploits were nearly single-handedly (double handedly?) responsible for the creation of the British tabloid  industry.  (So don’t confuse it with the 1985 Tom Cruise fantasy. There be no unicorns here.)

We got the first images from the set in London via the Daily Mail. Smartly, STUDIO CANAL/Working Title decided to follow that up with  an official image.  Brilliant move.

Tom Hardy, Reggie Kray, Ronnie Kray, Legend, movie, still

photo credit: Greg Williams/STUDIOCANAL

It’s obvious though that the appetite for news of  this film has just barely been whetted, probably all due to the fact that Hardy is one of a triumvirate of current British “IT” Boys (that also includes Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch) and this film’s stunt casting. Not only have the paparazzi been staked out at most of the London shooting locations, but news agencies all over the world have published the photos as if this were real news.

Seen below are Hardy as Reggie Kray filming scenes with bride Emily Browning as his ill-fated first wife, Frances Shea, as well as some shots of Hardy, as twin Ronnie, in which he appears to have prosthetic jowls. (Actually some are Hardy and some are his stand-in. Can you tell the difference?)

The storyline is simple,

Identical twin gangsters Ronald and Reginald Kray terrorize London during the 1950s and 1960s.

but little is known about the actual plot of the movie, although a little more of the cast has been revealed. The cast also features David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, Chazz Palminteri and Tara Fitzgerald.

I’m curious who will be/has been cast as the twins’ mother, Violet. The thing about the Krays was, despite their reputations for some truly depraved behavior,  they really did go home every night to the small East End house in which they still lived with mum.  She was played by Billie Whitelaw in the 1990 film, The Krays, in which Spandau Ballet’s Gary and Martin Kemp played Ronnie and Reggie.  Whitelaw’s Violet was very nearly as scary as her sons. Can’t wait to find out not only whom Helgeland has cast, but what delicious lines he’s written for her.

More information will surely follow.  Legend doesn’t have a release date yet. I expect an initial announcement will be made soon.