In 2008, Tom Hiddleston, an accomplished actor on stage, screen and television in Britain, joined Kenneth Branagh in his successful TV series Wallander and went on to co-star with him on the London stage in Chekhov’s Ivanov.
Branagh’s familiarity with Hiddleston’s work paid off. The director cast him in the leading role of Loki in his new movie based on the Marvel comic, Thor.
Set in the mystical realm of Asgard, Loki and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) are continually vying for the love and respect of their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). When Thor is banished by Odin to Earth to learn a valuable lesson, Loki starts taking command in Asgard, especially when Odin falls gravely ill.
Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth will be reprising their roles in Joss Whedon’s upcoming superhero movie The Avengers, which just began shooting.
Do you think Loki was the hero of the movie?
Well, I think there are no villains in this world, there are just misunderstood heroes. I think Loki thinks he is the hero. If you boil this film to its barest elements, it’s about a father and two sons. And both those sons are brothers competing for the love and affection and pride of their father, Odin, played by Tony Hopkins.
I think there’s a deeply misguided intention with Loki, and he has a kind of damage within him.
Did the costumes in this do the work for you?
If you got up in the morning and you wore a pair of short and a T-shirt and some flip-flops, it’s a signal that you might be going to the beach. If you get up in the morning and you wear a breast plate and a cape, and a pair of golden Satanic horns on your head, it’s quite clear that you’re doing something else.
And so we were very helped not just by the costumes, but by the beautiful sets build by Bo Welch, the production designer. You’ve got no furniture to lean on, and no props to busy your performance. There has to be a kind of simplicity. The costumes make you stand straighter.
>Loki’s such a great villain, because he is so relatable and dimensional. You don’t really know if he’s right or if he’s wrong, or what he’s feeling or thinking. Can you talk a little about the character?
I took the character that I saw in the comics. Loki is a master of magic. And he is, in the Marvel universe, the agent of chaos. His superpower is his intelligence, he’s a shape shifter, and it’s his ability to stay ten steps ahead of everybody else.
Ken, Chris, Tony and I all talked about having those layers in a way that he’s someone with a fierce intelligence, but also a very damaged heart.
What will Loki be like in The Avengers?
I think a red dot will form on my forehead if I give any more information about Loki and The Avengers. All I can tell you is that Loki will be in The Avengers, and it’ll take more than Thor to stop me this time.
Regarding The Avengers, you will be playing opposite four or five other larger-than-life characters in that movie. How do you think you’ll fare?
I think the thing that looks like a challenge is actually the reason it’ll work. How can one movie contain so many different flavors, colors and characters? I think Joss Whedon [the movie’s writer/director] has probably made that his strength. And the conflict between each of them will be something that will be expanded on, I think.
Have you started filming it?
No, but Joss has.
What was you relationship like with Chris like on the set?
It was quite literally a bromance! The ‘bro’ aspect of the word is for real. I can’t imagine having to go to the emotional extremity that we both have to go to if we actually didn’t like each other. It’d be just horrendous to go to work. We egg each other on and raise each other’s game. And we really had a good time.
There are so many things that went wrong, that were just accidents that make you laugh. And it’s such a huge journey. We both spent two years of our lives working on this film, and it’s so nice that there’s somebody else who’s alongside.
Were you both vying for Sir Anthony’s attention?
Tony was amazing. And I haven’t actually said this on record, but our days working with Tony he would regale us with stories of when he was a young actor starting out in The Lion in Winter with Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn.
We did a scene in the vault, where Loki finds the big dark secret of his personal history. And I think after the first couple of takes, Tony leaned across and said, ‘Have you got a good agent?’ And I said, ‘’Yes, I think so.’ And he said, ‘You’re going to need it.’ (he laughs) He loves to [tease] and have a laugh.
When we were walking down towards the casket, he said, ‘Can I tell you something, Tom?’ I went, ‘Absolutely.’ He said, ‘You’re doing this very strange thing with your wrists.’ I said, ‘Oh my god, what am I doing?’ He said, ‘It looks a little bit camp. Maybe you can butch it up a bit.’ (he bursts out laughing)