EXCLUSIVE: Tom Hardy in talks for thriller about notorious UK gangsters, from LA Confidential screenwriter Brian Helgeland; Working Title producing.

Working Title is the new home of a thriller about the Kray twins, written by Oscar-winning writer Brian Helgeland (LA Confidential), who will also direct.

Tom Hardy is in talks to star as both brothers in Legend (working title), which will chart the tortured and unique relationship between gangsters Ronald and Reginald Kray, the identical twin brothers infamous for their criminal exploits in London during the 1950s and 1960s.

According to sources close to the British actor, the project is one of several The Dark Knight Rises star is considering. Currently in development, the production is aiming to shoot in the UK later this year.

Working Title, whose recent features include Rush, About Time and Berlin title The Two Faces of January, is developing and producing the project.

The script takes in associates, rivals - such as notorious gangster Jack “the Hat” McVitie, who was murdered by Reginald in 1967 - politician Lord Boothby, and the brothers’ nemesis in the police force, DS Leonard “Nipper” Read, who made it his life’s ambition to put the Krays behind bars.

Helgeland spoke about the project at a Writer’s Guild of America event in LA in October last year, revealing that he would be concentrating on the life of Reggie Kray (older by 10 minutes) as he sought to control the psychotic tendencies of his younger twin.

According to LA Wave, the writer-director spent time researching the project in London where he met Krays associate Freddie Foreman.

Reggie and Ronnie, as they were better known, were portrayed by Spandau Ballet’s Martin and Gary Kemp in the 1990 feature The Krays.

The brothers’ gang, The Firm, was involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, assaults, and several murders.

As West End nightclub owners, they also mixed with prominent entertainers including Diana Dors, Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland, and with politicians.

They were arrested on 9 May 1968 and were both sentenced to life imprisonment. Ronnie remained in Broadmoor Hospital until his death on 17 March 1995, but Reggie was released from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2000, eight weeks before his death from cancer.

Hardy’s upcoming roles include the lead roles in Warner Bros’ reboot Mad Max: Fury Road and Soviet thriller Child 44, as well as the title role in Elton John biopic Rocketman, which is due to shoot later this year.

LA Confidential writer and co-producer Helgeland most recently wrote and directed 42, the biopic of baseball legend Jackie Robinson.