LONDON, Sept 4 (Reuters) - British actor Tom Hardy delves into the criminal world in "Legend", taking on not one but two roles as the notorious London gangsters the Kray twins.
The "Mad Max: Fury Road" star plays both Ronnie and Reggie Kray in the biopic about the feared duo, who built up a criminal empire in the 1950s and 1960s.
Ronnie and Reggie, who also mingled with the rich and famous, were sent to jail for life for murder convictions in 1969 and died in 1995 and 2000 respectively.
"There's a part of me that enjoys investigating the world of criminal underworld ... and it seemed like a natural progression but the challenge would be to play two people," Hardy told Reuters at the film's premiere on Thursday night.
Asked about the film's title, he added: "It's kind of ironic because it means that there are lots of myths that circulate around about the Krays ... No one really knows the truth about them... There's loads of material out there but it's pretty much open to interpretation."
Despite their record, the Kray twins still hold almost mythical status in Britain, with thousands of people watching the corteges at their funerals.
"There is nothing in this film that I see as glorifying their behaviour," actor Christopher Eccleston, who plays the police officer investigating the Krays in the movie, said.
"I don't think Tom was presenting them in a sympathetic manner. I certainly don't feel that Brian Helgeland has done that with his screenplay or his direction. I would hope we haven't glamorized them ... They were criminals."
"Legend" is released in British cinemas on Sept. 9 and U.S. cinemas on Oct. 2. (Reporting By Holly Rubenstein; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Toby Chopra)