A Dark Knight rising at Starbucks

Tom Hardy talks up working on Nolan pic

Tom Hardy has been making his mark in movies by playing tough guys in films like “RocknRolla,” “Bronson,” “Inception” and now “Warrior.” The Brit thesp plays a mixed martial arts fighter in that Lionsgate pic, opening next month, but what he really wanted to talk about at Friday’s Four Seasons Beverly Hills junket for “Warrior” was Starbucks. It seems Hardy set off something of a firestorm at Comic-Con in July when he likened working on Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” as the supervillain Bane to slinging coffee as a barista.

“I’m really sorry if anyone misunderstood what I said about comparing working for a huge franchise to being like working for Starbucks. I didn’t mean it like that. I mean, it could have been British Airways, it could have been Virgin, it could have been Nike, it could have been any huge company,” Hardy said earnestly.

He’s learning the hard way that you don’t mess with Batman. Even though the movie isn’t due in theaters until July 2012, fans are pouncing on anything anyone says about it, and the self-described “sensitive” 33-year-old actor got that message loud and clear.

“I’m human and I do read things and I get hurt. My friends say, ‘Don’t read anything, just ignore it,’ but I do. And I read comics. And I cry.”

* * *

What happens when the budget for your ambitious horror pic is only $28 million? If you’re making “Shark Night 3D,” there are a few things that make the production possible. First, you head to Louisiana to film, where everything is a lot cheaper.

Second, you tell your stars to just do it.

“They kind of just put us in the boat and said, ‘Go!’ ” said Sara Paxton during Tuesday’s press junket at Westwood’s W Hotel.

“Yeah, they just threw us in that boat and said, ‘So you’re OK to drive this, right?’ ” her co-star Dustin Milligan agreed. “I said, ‘Shouldn’t I take a written test first or something?’ ”

Third, you let the sharks bite. Even though they are not really alive.

“The mechanical sharks were fake, but their teeth were real,” Paxton said. “The camera guys were getting bit by the big sharks a lot, just by bumping into them.”

The result? Relativity Media’s “Shark Night 3D” opens in theaters on Sept. 2. – — Jenny Peters

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