The actor plays bootlegger Forrest Bondurant in John Hillcoat's upcoming crime thriller, who struggles to keep the family business afloat alongside his brother Jack (Shia LaBeouf) despite oppression from a corrupt lawman (Guy Pearce).
"Forrest is a matriarch, he's a mother," Hardy told Total Film. "I don't think it's being macho, I don't think that's what masculinity is."
Hardy went on to claim that he drew inspiration for the character from Come Dine with Me.
"I really do like Come Dine with Me. It's great people-watching," he said. "I'll steal characters from Come Dine with Me, because they're real people."
Hardy has revealed previously that he wanted to lose weight for the role of Forrest in order to be "skinny", but his schedule for The Dark Knight Rises prevented it.
> Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jessica Chastain in final 'Lawless' poster
Lawless will be released on August 29 in the US and September 7 in the UK. Watch a clip below: