Tom Hardy is now a martial arts champion. The 45-year-old actor quietly entered the 2022 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open Championships in Milton Keynes this Saturday, he beat all of his opponents and returned home victorious. Better yet, one of his competitors told the media that Hardy was “probably one of the toughest competitors I’ve ever had.”
This, make no mistake, is how it’s done. Hardy’s jiu-jitsu debut is absolutely perfect. Think of all the ways this could have gone wrong. Hardy could have tried to monetize his hobby by doing a BBC Three documentary series called Tom Hardy: My Fighting Journey. He could have promoted the competition on social media, flooding the venue with fans and making the entire tournament about him. He could have sought sponsorship and arrived in a gi emblazoned with Coca-Cola or Chicken Tonight logos.
But not. She just quietly showed up at a high school sports hall on a Saturday morning, drawing no unnecessary attention, and she proceeded to kick everyone’s ass to pieces. And this, you suspect, is what will endear Hardy to people more than anything else. It’s not necessarily that he won, though the fact that he did will only help bolster his tough man credentials, but the sheer mundanity of the event. We’re talking about Bane. it’s poison. Hardy has flown Spitfires for Christopher Nolan, but here he is, going all the way to Milton Keynes just to win a certificate.
The same goes for Brad Pitt who, without drawing attention to himself, unveiled a new secondary career as a sculptor this week. Again, it could have done with a documentary or a star show in the heart of Hollywood. And yet, she unthinkingly chose to debut in a Finnish art gallery, 110 miles north of Helsinki. And, like Hardy, he seems to be very skilled at what he does, with Jonathan Jones calling him “an extremely impressive artist”.
What’s so refreshing is that, in a world where every celebrity imaginable is desperate to launch their interests in a Goop-esque mega-brand, Hardy and Pitt seem to be doing this simply out of love. They have moved away and focused on being very good at something that you might not have expected of them.
Cleverly, they both chose something relatively career-related to focus on, relying on physical prowess or creative expression. This is important because when stars branch out too far from their marks, they may never fully recover. It’s hard to square 1970s sex god Rod Stewart with the model train enthusiast he’s become, for example, and it takes a lot of mental aerobics to deal with the fact that Mike Tyson is too. it’s a secret fancier.
The potential for ridicule is always there, in short. Actor Jim Broadbent, for example, may regret his decision to go public with his hobby in 2015. This is because his hobby crudely involves carve life size human beings in wood, then dress them up and put wigs on them. Individually, the statues are quite distinct and impressive. But when she posed in front of them all for a photo shoot, she looked a little like every bad dream you’ve ever had harrowingly come to life.
But this is still better than the alternative, which would be to embark on an overly noisy hobby as a means to an end. You see stars do this all the time, and it’s almost as if the hobby was chosen arbitrarily, simply for the return on investment. Anyone can put their name on a product for money, and the avalanches of celebrity booze brands, book clubs, and beauty products on the market seem to suggest that most people do.
Interestingly, both Pitt and Hardy have been burned by this before. In 2013, Tom Hardy made a documentary: poaching wars – that was apparently motivated by his love of animals, but lacked any real authority, and Brad Pitt was recently sued after his noisy post katrina “I’m an architect now!” The proclamation resulted in New Orleans residents living in failing homes.
So maybe this is the best way forward. If you’re a celebrity with an interest, keep it as quiet as possible. Show your work in deepest Finland. Go to the sports halls in Milton Keynes. Yes Brad Pitt and Tom Hardy are an indication, this is the best possible way to stay popular.