We are in the thick of it! Strikes! Festivals! Tom Hardy doing another f-cking silly voice! The trailer for Jeff Nichols’ The Bikeriders dropped yesterday, revealing Tom Hardy’s latest silly voice. The film is an adaptation of Danny Lyon’s photo essay of the same name, about the rise of the Chicago Outlaws motorcycle club. (The name of the club in the film is fictionalized as “Vandals”.) Hardy stars as Johnny, the founder and leader of the club, and the voice he is doing is, to his credit, not as silly as the voice he did in Capone. He’s clearly aiming for a flat Midwestern accent, but I just…don’t think Tom Hardy is good at accents. What he’s doing here is borderline SNL “Da Bears” level silly.
Faring better is Jodie Comer, who stars as a club wife, Kathy. She is widely renowned for her accent work, and while she hits a few wrong notes—the Chicago accent is SO hard to do, I would prefer, much like the Southern accent, that actors just stop trying—but she lands on a lot of words that have the right ring.
Doing the best, though, is Austin Butler, who is just using his regular, albeit maybe permanently altered post-Elvis voice (I have sympathy for Butler regarding the “Elvis voice”. Yes, it was silly that he kept the accent for so long, but I DO think he maybe did some actual damage to his vocal cords, because the way he sounds pre-and-post Elvis reminds me of how my voice changed after a childhood accident left scarring on my vocal cords). I now have an impression of The Bikeriders as Tom Hardy and Jodie Comer doing dueling accents while Austin Butler just like, does acting. Laurence Olivier would be proud!
For real, though, I LOVE this trailer, and I am SO looking forward to this film. I am a huge fan of Jeff Nichols’ work (I am begging you to watch Mud and Take Shelter), and I love Danny Lyon’s photojournalism. There are a lot of shots in the trailer that recreate Lyon’s work in live action Technicolor, I cannot wait to see what else Nichols does with it.
This film also has a hell of an ensemble. Besides Hardy, Comer, and Butler, Mike Faist—a standout in West Side Story—stars as photographer Danny Lyon, and regular Nichols collaborator Michael Shannon pops up, too. Famous bike rider Norman Reedus—who previously starred in Lady Gaga’s biker themed “Judas” video—also stars, as does my beloved Boyd Holbrook, fresh off Justified: City Primeval. That is what some might call A Cast!
The Bikeriders premiered at Telluride last weekend to generally positive reviews. It has a prime December 1 release date, and a heavy-hitter cast, but Jeff Nichols is not an Oscar darling. His last film, Loving, received one Oscar nomination, for Ruth Negga, which is the only Oscar nomination any of his films have ever received. But The Bikeriders is a period piece, based on a famous piece of visual media, starring two of the most admired British actors working right now, and Austin Butler fresh off his own Oscar nomination (because Dune: Part Two moved, this is now his first post-Elvis role). Can The Bikeriders put Jeff Nichols over the top in re: the Oscars? Or will all the silly voices wreck it?