I shared my experience of the red carpet premiere and my review of Thor: The Dark World, so you know that I really enjoyed this film and feel pretty connected after such an awesome experience. Well, while in LA I had the chance to sit down with Tom Hiddleston for an interview to talk about playing Loki and his love for this role. Here’s a bit of what he had to say.
Tom Hiddleston Talks about Playing Loki
Looking rather handsome and not so evil, Tom Hiddleston walks into the interview room with a huge smile and was welcomed with a huge applause.
TH – I feel like I’m a president or something, which I really am not. Have you all seen the film? Okay, well I play the bad guy, you probably know that, I feel like I should be sitting here with a white cat and stroking it, “For my next question.”
Already has us laughing with his charming wit and affectionate smile.
Q- How did you get in character to play a bad guy, and do you really like playing those kind of roles?
Answering the second question first –
TH – I love playing all kinds of roles and I hope it doesn’t sound too pretentious, but I always feel like human nature is like a piano and there are 88 keys and there are some white keys and some black keys and each character is a different chord on the piano. Basically I hope that in the course of my life I will have played all 88 keys in lots of different ways.
So I’ll have played heroes, and villains, and princes and kings and warriors. Beggars and thieves and lovers and fathers and wizards and all of those things. So that’s it, for me that’s why I’m an actor, is I love studying people.
Loki’s just a particular kind of (character). I think he’s a minor chord with a couple of black notes in there. I loved playing him. Thor is the God of Thunder and Loki is the God of Mischief and his mischief is the thing that I love playing so much. His playfulness, his sense of fun. The challenge of course is to make him real, and vulnerable and complex.
Q -How has Loki changed since we last saw him, has he reconciled with his dad, or…?
Laughing as he replies.
TH – Certainly not with his dad. I think Loki’s very angry with his father still. Basically you find him in the wake of what happened in the Avengers. He’s back and he’s in prison. Yes, he should be wearing an Asgardian version of a kind of boiler suit and, he’s not in a good way. He’s basically been written out of history, condemned to be forgotten, unseen and unheard and haunted by his demons for eternity. I think he’s keeping himself sharp by reading a lot and keeping his mind exercised. But Loki’s not great at the long game, but he’s very good at improvising.
So he’ll always manipulate every situation to his own advantage. So, how has he changed? I think he’s almost, freer in one sense, spiritually. He’s more mischievous, he’s more fun, he’s more provocative. But he’s also more damaged, I think, like there’s a kind of spiritual, vulnerability, which is really acute. And I think he hits rock bottom in this film, he’s more alone, he’s more lonely, more sad, angrier.
Q – Playing off of that, in one of the trailers you say, “…we can work together but begrudgingly so…” Is there a bit of an “agree to disagree” between the two? I mean obviously there’s tension.
TH – There is. And the fascinating thing is the reason they need to get together is one that you’ll see very clearly. And despite their antagonism, which is consistent with Avengers, and in fact is even more sort of pushed to polar opposites, they are unified by a common bond which is why they need to fight back.
I don’t want to reveal too much but there is a big reason. What’s interesting and what’s wonderful about this particular film is I think, is the need to come together and work as a team. This actually gave Chris Hemsworth and myself amazing, opportunities to explore that particular tension between them, that they were two brothers who were brought up as equals and best friends. And they loved each other and they fought and they played and they competed and they were rivals, but ultimately they were best friends. And then the circumstances of their adult lives have pushed them to absolute extremes. And the difference is that where in the first film and in Avengers, Thor is consistently appealing to Loki to say, “Come back,” you know, “We still love you, come back into the family” and Loki is rejecting that olive branch. In this film Thor makes no bones about there’s no olive branch, it’s like, “I need you, and if you betray me I will kill you.”
In the first Thor and in Avengers even I found myself really rooting for Loki, Are we gonna feel that again in this movie too?
TH – Thank you. Yay!! Those pesky Avengers. It’s given me so much pleasure to hear you say that because when I was a kid, when I’d watch the bad guys, the ones I loved were the ones who you sort of wanted to win, or you could at least understand their motivations. I think what I hope you’ll see is that he’s still vulnerable and that all of his inclination to provoke chaos and sort of start fires and create conflict and enjoy all of that stuff, his delight in disorder is a mask of control. And behind the mask is someone incredibly wounded and lost and “at sea,” and conflicted. The duplicity of those things, the dichotomy of the two, the outer and the inner, that’s gold for an actor to present a particular mask to the world, and yet create an internal, which is interesting, basically.
Q : Not giving too much away, what was your favorite part of the film?
TH – Working with Chris Hemsworth. There are a couple of scenes where I feel like the two brothers, you just really get a sense of the particular chemistry of these two guys. I also know that my friendship with Chris is something that infused that relationship. He and I met in 2009, we were both in our late ’20s, we’d been kicking around the business for the same amount of time. We became very firm and fast friends. And we’ve had this amazing adventure together. And I think our friendship really infuses the Thor/Loki relationship in this film and that’s probably my greatest pride. There’s a sort of a scene where it’s, they’re arguing over who gets to drive, which I feel is one of my favorites.
Q – If you’d get a chance to play a villain again, will you bring back some of Loki to that character?
TH – Ooh, I think if I play a villain again I’d have to be very specific to his particular brand of villainy. I think that’s what I see as my job is to be really rigorous to that character’s truth. And so Loki’s truth is playful and mischievous and vulnerable and damaged, but another bad guy might be kind of, I don’t know, chaotic or cold in some way. I don’t know, it’s a really good question. But I suppose there’s only so much range one man has, you know, if I look out from under my eyelids there’s only one way I do that. Who knows?With a few more minutes left, Tom entertained us with an impression of Sean Connery as Loki. TH – I feel like I’m wearing the right suit for Sean Connery too! And in his Sean Connery voice, “You must be truly desperate to come to me for help, and Loki of Asgard and burden with glorious purpose.”
And with that he takes a group photo, and then talks of the record with some of the bloggers in the room before heading off to the premiere. Charming, witty, and fun, Tom Hiddleston is not quite the villain we love to hate, but he sure knows how to give that mischievous grin leaving us wanting more.
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MARVEL’S THOR: THE DARK WORLD is in theaters now!
*Thank you to Disney for inviting me to be part of the Thor: The Dark World Premiere event. Having taken care of all my expenses to bring me out for this event, please know that all my opinions, excitement and fun I share are completely true. Photo credits – Louise Bishop and Marvel Studios