Having flew inexplicably under the radar in the minds of Hollywood casting agents for way too long, Tom Hardy (who we've pegged pretty much from his days as the baddie from Star Trek: Nemesis a decade ago as the next big thing) is now finally starting to be considered for the parts he should have been offered years ago. For us, he has taken the mantle away from Christian Bale as the next British actor to take on Hollywood's most daring roles that will challenge the limits of his physical and mental state, putting himself through the extraordinary to give the extraordinary... and it all comes out in his performances. You just need to watch Bronson and Inception back-to-back to see what this man is capable of, how versatile he is and how much confidence he has in his own abilities right now. You are going to see an awful lot of Hardy in the coming year. Before he goes pure evil in what could be his Heath Ledger moment as the villainous Bane in The Dark Knight Rises next July - Hardy will finish this year off with his MMA movie Warrior (Sept), before he attempts to keep up with the best British actors of the generation before him in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Sept). He will then start 2012 with some light-hearted comedic relief in the broad action/romance film This Means War (February) alongside Chris Pine and Reese Witherspoon before going back to serious with John Hillcoat's prohibition drama The Wettest County in the World, with a part that we said early on could be the one that holds his first Oscar nomination. In fact the buzz on that movie is so high, it might yet get a late Oscar season run this year. And then we imagine before Batman 3 is out in cinema's, he will have slimed himself down in preparation for a rebooted WB franchise set around him when George Miller finally gets to make Mad Max: Fury Road next spring in Australia. A pretty exciting year of Hardy for us to look forward to right? - but the word on the street is that he might yet fit in another exciting movie before he takes those steps down Fury Road; Talk about the longest introduction in history right? Let's get to today's news... Vulture report that Warner Bros are eyeing Tom Hardy for the lead role of Al Capone in Cicero, a new proposed gangster biopic trilogy said to be in the vein of the real classics The Public Enemy, Little Caesar and Angels With Dirty Faces, i.e. - the movies that made Warner Bros back in the 40's. The movie would follow the rise of Capone during prohibition in Chicago before eventually being taken down because of all things, tax evasion. It's an epic story and there's already several very famous film and t.v. productions out there that have chronicled different parts to the Capone story and because of that WB are thinking of going the trilogy route, setting up what perhaps could be called their modern day Godfather. The movie was picked up from a script by Walon Green (The Wild Bunch) with the intention of the latter day Harry Potter sequels director David Yates helming as his first post-Wizardry film. Interestingly, Green's script actually originates in the 70's where it was intended to be a t.v. pilot for a lengthy series but four decades on has been re-jigged by him for film! It's a high priority picture for WB who want the first film in production this year and done before Hardy flys to Australia in the Spring. They saw great success with Ben Affleck's crime picture The Town last year and are already deep into pre-production on another 40's set crime drama - Tales From The Gangster Squad - and have signalled this genre as an untapped goldmine. Let's all hope it happens. Hardy as Capone would frikkin rule... he has the screen presence to play a man who was 'Untouchable', who acted like he had the power of kings and it's the kind of meatier role he will relish. Finally, here's a character piece that could be molded for Hardy - stepping into the shoes of the likes of Rod Steiger, Jason Robards and Robert De Niro - but like Johnny Depp did with Dillinger, making the man truly his own. There's a few obstacles in the way for Cierco to happen, not least that Warner Bros will have to make sure the script is in the best shape and then strike a deal with both Hardy and Yates which won't be easy. The Dark Knight Rises doesn't finish filming until November and we don't yet know when Hardy will finish his time on the picture, so he may have as little as three months time off before he goes to Australia to make Mad Max, which itself is a huge production. Maybe he'll just take the time off... he's hardly stopped working lately. And for Yates, now that Potter is done he has offers all over the place.... and look out for another article chronicling those soon. But for fans of the old school WB gangster flicks, fingers crossed they pull the trigger on this one!