Al Capone is no stranger to big screen adaptations, having inspired the original Scarface in 1932 and being the subject of direct portrayals by Hollywood icons such as Robert de Niro and Rod Steiger in the years since. Similarly, Tom Hardy is no stranger to period gangster pieces, with appearances in films such as Legend and Lawless, and television’s Peaky Blinders. This year, these two very different screen icons will come together in Josh Trank’s Capone, and after the release of the film’s trailer earlier this month now come the first (official) still images from the film.
Released via Tom Hardy’s Instagram, the images – in particular this first one above – that came this weekend seem to play heavily on the mental ravages that Capone endured at the point in his life that the film focuses on. Set after his 1930s imprisonment for tax evasion (the very least of his multiple crimes), Capone focuses on a hunt for a large, lost chunk of Capone’s money and also sees the fallen crime lord suffering from dementia – and likely, the syphilis which eventually killed him. Hardy’s experience in the crime genre also features previous in this area, too, as his dual role as cockney gangsters the Kray Twins in Legend focused largely on the spiraling mental health of Ron Kray. The second image (below) furthers these traits, and plays up the unrecognizable image of Hardy that we can expect in this film.
In what could serve as a teaser poster for the film, Capone looks drawn and near defeat under the stresses of his invisible tormentors. The grainy look in these images is undeniably similar to that of early Martin Scorsese works such as Raging Bull, and in exploring the fragile psyche of an aged criminal perhaps the film will share a further similarity to Scorsese’s most recent film, The Irishman. Of course, when it comes to gritty American crime films, comparisons to any and all Scorsesean works are inevitable.
The release of these warped mugshots, which continued at the turn of the week, cemented the use of Hardy as the film’s strongest selling point; however, for all the hype surrounding his casting as America’s most famous gangster, perhaps the most intriguing contributor to this project is director Josh Trank. Once lauded for his ability to spin a new light on genre films with 2012’s Chronicle, the director has fallen from the limelight ever since his ill-fated Fantastic 4 reboot in 2015. Certainly, if the images and trailers for Capone are anything to go by, then the returning Trank and his formidable star are well on their way to another unique imagining.
Capone sits as another film that has this year been forced to forego a theatrical run for a release on streaming services, although no official word has been given as to whether or not this is due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has so affected countless other film productions. Yet, the recent successes of numerous other on-demand debuts – coupled with the notoriety of its lead character, and the profile and talent of its main star – mean that this is surely not a movie that will struggle for success. Capone also stars Linda Cardellini, Jack Lowden, Matt Dillon, Noel Fisher, Kyle MacLachlan and Kathrine Narducci, and will be released on digital platforms on May 12, 2020.