Tom Hardy has played a number of iconic characters, including Mad Max and the Batman villain Bane, and he’s portrayed a number of real-life figures, including notorious British prisoner Charles Bronson (Bronson) and both of the infamous Kray twins (Legend). Now he’s set to play another iconic character who also existed in real life: Ernest Shackleton.
According to Deadline, Hardy will star in a biopic about the explorer that reunites him with the words of Oscar-nominated Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy screenwriter Peter Straughan.
Who was Ernest Shackleton?
Shackleton was an Irish explorer who led three British expeditions to Antarctica. First was with the Discovery from 1901 through 1903, then with the Nimrod from 1907 through 1909 and finally with the Endurance from 1914 through 1917.
Was he the first person to reach the South Pole?
No, that honor belongs to Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who reached the point in 1911. Shackleton’s previous two expeditions set on going as far south as they could and the Nimrod party was meant to go all the way, but they didn’t make it.
So why is he so famous?
Shackleton is still credited for being an important part of the “Heroic Age of Anatarctic Exploration.” Even before anyone reached the South Pole, he was knighted for his attempts and what achievements he did make. But he’s best known for the Endurance trip.
What happened during the Endurance expedition?
The movie is sure to focus on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which involved Shackleton and the Endurance in a cross-continental effort. Before completing its mission, the ship was crushed by ice and sank. Shackleton kept the whole crew alive in a months-long survival story befitting the name of the lost vessel.
That was Shackleton’s last trip to Antarctica?
Actually, yes, though he’d begun one more expedition, with the Quest, in 1921. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack before reaching the continent. Shackleton’s second-in-command, Frank Wild, continued that final chapter of that heroic era.
Has Shackleton’s life been made into a movie before?
It sure has. Among the many theatrical and television works depicting Shackleton’s expeditions, there’s the 2001 IMAX short Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure starring Michael Gambon as the title hero, the 2002 miniseries Shackleton with Kenneth Branagh in the role and the hit 2000 documentary The Endurance, which features narration by Liam Neeson.
Way before all of those movies and miniseries, however, came the 1919 film South, one of the very first documentary features ever made. Directed by Frank Hurley, who was the official photographic chronicler of a couple Antarctic expeditions and was a member of Shackleton’s Endurance crew. Upon returning, he compiled his footage into this true epic. See the trailer for a DVD release: