Tom Hiddleston talks Loki in Thor: The Dark World and Beyond, in theaters this Friday
(From contributing writer Bo Bory)
On a hot, sweltering, summer day in the middle of July, sixty-five hundred rabid movie fans at Comic-Con 2013 packed themselves into a stuffy hall to hear all the latest news from Marvel Studios...What they got instead was a visit from the God of Mischief himself. The lights went dim, the crowd went silent, and then, from out of nowhere, a booming voice echoed across the hall to roars of gasps and recognition...Suddenly, the lights flickered back on...And there, live on center stage, in full regalia, in front of thousands of flashing camera lights, fan boy cheers, and starry-eyed, schoolgirl squeals...was Loki, in all his glory.
For several moments the crowd gushed and swooned, as chants of "Loki, Loki, Loki" erupted spontaneously for what seemed like minutes. And it was then and there, in that crowded Hall H, that Tom Hiddleston, the dashing British actor that so embodies the Asgardian troublemaker, realized for the first time that his character, Loki, had finally found what he had been searching for all along...A place in the collective hearts and minds of the people of Midgard (that's Earth to me and you).
It was undeniable...Loki was a rock star.
Of course, none of this should come as a shock to anyone who has watched Hiddleston's scene stealing performances as the mischievously conflicted Loki, in Thor, and then again in Marvel's The Avengers. In fact, ever since his debut as the God of Mischief in 2011, Hiddleston's star has been on a meteoric rise, landing himself plum parts in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, and Steven Spielberg's War Horse. And his career shows no signs of burning out, as the actor is slated for lead roles in Muppets Most Wanted due out in 2014, as well as Guillermo del Toro's gothic, mystery drama, Crimson Peak in 2015.
But it was for Marvel Studio's latest feature, Thor: The Dark World, that I met up with Tom Hiddleston at the Dorchester Hotel in London. And as we sat down to discuss the actor's third go-around as the power-hungry Loki, I couldn't help but wonder if the character had become something of a second nature to Hiddleston, having donned the trade-mark green suit so many times. I was also curious to find out what, if anything, the actor felt was left to explore in Loki's already complicated psyche, and if he knew what might possibly be in store for everyone's second favorite son of Odin in the future. Apparently, according to Hiddleston...We have only begun to scratch the surface.
So this being your third time playing Loki...How was this time different as far as your approach to the character?
Tom Hiddleston: I suppose...My compass, or guiding principle this time was evolution, development, and expansion in every respect. I was very keen not to repeat myself, and to try and find new ways to keep Loki engaging, entertaining, and interesting...And one of the ways I suggested to Kevin Feige and Alan Taylor was...Lets take him to the absolute rock bottom spiritually, so that he has to come back up in some way. And also the dynamic of having to see Thor and Loki as antagonists for two films to suddenly see them have to team up in however complicated a way...Was a new path of discovery.
That was really one of the best parts of the movie, seeing the two extremes of Loki, from complete desolation to playful and mischievous... how much fun was it to show such range for Loki in one movie?
Tom Hiddleston: God, that was fun...Because, in a way...that's the character. If you look up mischief in the dictionary, the first entry is an inclination to playfulness or to tease. And then somewhere down the line are destruction and damage...And all of those things describe Loki. He is playful, he is mischievous, but he is also deeply broken. So, I love the complexity in that character. It's great for any actor.
Well, I know judging by the fan reaction at Comic-Con and the responses online and on blogs...Loki has really become a beloved character. What is it about him, you think, that people find so enjoyable... Even when he is reeking havoc or threatening the extinction of the human species?
Tom Hiddleston: Well, you know I think some people are drawn to him for different reasons...I think for some there is a fascination with tricksters in all societies. We love people who live on the edge and who push the envelope...and Loki does that. I think there is something compelling about the fact that he seems to lean into danger, and delights in it, and provokes it. And as a dramatic character...People are just drawn to that.
I know some of the newer scenes that were shot towards the end of filming where written expressly for Loki to give his character more depths and humor...How much input did you have on these later scenes?
Tom Hiddleston: Very much, actually...I wrote that last line.
Tom Hiddleston: Yes, I was pleased with that. I mean, it's a moment... it's a beat... it's a tiny moment. And I'm very grateful to Kevin Feige for his openness in collaborating with me, and I guess that comes as a result of having made three films together. You know we are so invested in the characters now... more than ever, and I guess because I have played him three times now there is an element...Well, I think Marvel is very gracious at conceding that I know him quite well. But as should be... like with any great collaboration, the best ideas rise to the top and it doesn't matter who's ideas they are. Some of them are Alan's, some are Kevin's, some are Chris'...you know, people are just pitching in, saying... how can we make this film better?
Speaking of Chris (Hemsworth), you and he were virtually unknowns when you were both cast for these parts, and now after three movies together...How has your relationship to each other, your crafts, and to your characters grown?
Tom Hiddleston: Well, the great thing about working with Chris Hemsworth is when we were first cast... I met him at Kenneth Branagh's house in 2009, and we had this amazing moment of mutual recognition. We were both in our late twenties; we both had been kicking around for a while, and had opportunities and had missed them. But here was this incredible chance to make something great, and to work with these great actors, and great directors. And it has been nice to sort of check back in with him every twelve months...Because you know, I've made a film with Woody Allen, and a film with Steven Spielberg, and he has made a second film with Ron Howard and has just worked with Michael Mann ... and so I suppose both of us are becoming more experienced in working with other directors and other stories. And I have nothing but the greatest respect for him, I think he is a magnificent actor, actually... and I love working with him.
So what is next for Loki, do you think? I know he is not going to be in the next Avengers or Captain America...But do you think we have seen the last of him?
Tom Hiddleston: Well, I guess it's all quite open-ended. I don't know when or how...And you know, I do worry about sort of...Overstaying my welcome, in a way. I mean, I've had such a great run, but... I guess we will just have to wait and see.
Do you think there are more elements to Loki that you would like to see fleshed out?
Tom Hiddleston: Yeah...I think there are very interesting things that happen. In the mythology, when you get into Ragnarok, which is the "end of all things", it's not the end of the world...It's the end of time, and the universe, and space. And I think, if I am correct...Loki essentially, sets that in motion. And his motivation for doing so is intriguing and he almost becomes the incarnation of chaos, in a way...So I think that can be quite new.
Wow... that sounds like a great storyline.
Tom Hiddleston: Yeah, and also there is...In the myth, he has a wife called Sigyn who protects him from a poison serpent who is dripping venom into his mouth. And she has a bowl over his mouth and of course the bowl keeps filling up and she has to empty it, and so his damnation could be interesting. I don't know...I mean, Loki is a character who's existed in popular consciousness for 3,000 years, so there are many, many iterations I could explore...It's just a question of whether audiences would want to see him again.
Well, shoot...How about Loki's own movie?
Tom Hiddleston (Pause... Laughter)
Well, I tried... and for a brief moment there, I saw a glimmer in the eyes, not from Tom Hiddleston...But from Loki, himself. Hmmm...Maybe the God of Mischief isn't done, after all.