Inception star Tom Hardy has admitted his journey to becoming a successful actor was full of ''desperation."

The 36-year-old told Empire magazine: "I was supported by an artistic family, a creative family, but my personal journey to becoming an actor was one of desperation. Like, 'This boy has to do something or he'll end up in jail!'

''And I'm very, very fortunate to be here today. My own personal story is exactly that - personal. But becoming an actor was not very far from what I was doing, but now I've found a medium where I can channel that into more constructive means, which is art and acting.

''As opposed to fantasising and acting out in the world, and causing all kinds of mayhem - which I don't do.'

Hardy added: ''I was white-knuckling when I was younger. There are some people who are more susceptible and less susceptible to stimulus. And I was very reactionary. I don't have a lot of skin. I've learnt as I grow older to be less 'jumping' at everything.

''I had a brief stint with the Americans, with Hollywood, the movie industry, with Star Trek. And the first year after drama school, I had Black Hawk Down and Band of Brothers, and then Star Trek. And I was like, 'This is it! Straight out of drama school, here we go!'

''But I had no idea of how to handle the industry, to interact with producers, executive producers, studios, even my fellow men! I was 24 - punching way above my weight.

"And it's taken being someone's dad, being divorced, going to rehab, having mortgages, playing different characters, doing theatre, waiting and then it not happening.''