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Nemesis Character Too Frightening To Look At

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Reflecting on his role in 2002’s “Star Trek: Nemesis,” Tom Hardy admitted that one of his co-stars in the final film chapter featuring the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” crew was too scary to stare in the face.

In the movie, Hardy plays the villainous Praetor Shinzon, an enemy clone of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). But luckily for Stewart and the core TV-turned-film cast — Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Brent Spiner, and Gates McFadden — none of their mugs caused Hardy to advert his eyes. Instead, it was his co-star Ron Perlman, who plays Shinzon’s alien associate, the Viceroy.

At first glance, though, Hardy didn’t think Perlman’s character looked scary enough. “Ron Perlman is a splendid man. His acting is fine and it was brilliant to work with him, because he’s such a kind and generous and funny bloke,” the actor said in the 2016 book “The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From The Next Generation to J. J. Abrams.” “My first thought was that if Shinzon was a Napoleon or Hitler-y type — a spoiled bastard in a way — the right-hand man, the Viceroy, has got to be big and mean and hard and scary.”

However, Hardy didn’t realize the menace the veteran actor could bring to the role, especially when he wore the Viceroy’s makeup. “I saw Ron Perlman’s photo and I thought, ‘Oh, he’s not that scary. He’s got to scare me,’ he recalled. “On set one day I saw him from the back. He turned around and had these yellow eyes in and Geez! I was really scared. I couldn’t look at him.”

Hardy had a very low-key presence on set, Stewart says

Tom Hardy’s time in the “Star Trek” universe was filled with oddities apart from the daunting presence he felt playing Praetor Shinzon opposite Ron Perlman’s Viceroy. To begin with, Hardy’s nude “Star Trek” audition tape landed him his huge movie role in “Star Trek: Nemesis,” which was followed by some very low-key behavior when the cameras weren’t rolling.

In particular, Patrick Stewart recalled in his 2023 memoir “Make It So” (via Business Insider) that Hardy wouldn’t engage socially with him or any of his co-stars while working on “Star Trek: Nemesis.” Once the production wrapped and Hardy left the set, Stewart recalled remarking to Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner, “And there goes someone I think we shall never hear of again.” Since the film came out in 2002, Hardy was still a relative newcomer to showbiz.

Now, Stewart happily admits how Hardy proved him wrong after “Star Trek: Nemesis.” Since playing Shinzon in the film, Hardy has starred in such films as Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” and earned a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for his performance in “The Revenant.” Hardy’s other big screen credits include his titular turns in “Mad Max: Fury Road” and the “Venom” films.

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