He explained: "He does some pretty horrific things. From cutting people's testicles off to using knuckledusters. And yet this is a man who also mothers two boys, his brothers. He has to feed them, look after them, he doesn't drink. He's a carer.
"He's a specific type of man. What interested me was the female role in this guy. And what the nature of violence is to men. Non-egotistical violence, non-macho violence. Violence from within the cardigan."
Tom has grown a beard for the movie, and while he isn't bothered about his new look, he admits it does have some drawbacks.
He added to Esquire magazine: "I have to grow a beard for the character. It's really ginger and wild. But I don't give a f**k about it, personally.
"My fiancee doesn't give a f**k about it. She'd like to have my lips back and I'd like to feel hers.
"But on the whole, the beard is welcomed by a lot of people."
Here's the trailer for "Lawless":