While Chris Hemsworth certainly can be considered one of Marvel’s breakout stars from Thor, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki has quickly become a fan-favorite, especially after terrorizing New York City in The Avengers. Like most of the set interviews, this one was fairly short but we covered a lot of ground.
Q: Do we see the consequence of your actions after you come back to Asgard?
Tom Hiddleston: Well inevitably, Loki’s back in Asgard. That’s where everybody saw him go with Thor at the end of “Avengers” in Central Park. What’s exciting about this film is it depicts the aftermath of those events, and you get to see the opinion of certain principle characters in Asgard. You get to see every character’s perspective on what Loki did, and they tend to be different and disparate and varying in tone and empathy certainly. It’s a springboard into a new chapter. It means that as an actor I’m not repeating myself in any way, because the last time Loki was in Asgard was at the end of “Thor” when he let go of the spear and he disappeared into a wormhole in space and time, and then he spent a degree of time on Earth trying to destroy New York. Now he’s back in Asgard a different being with a different mindset. Therefore, the kind of the chemistry that he created just by being back there is unpredictable and fantastic.
Q: Is there a darker tone in this movie? In general, does is seem to be darker all the way through?
Hiddleston: I think so. That’s our privilege with being allowed to make it is that, certainly with Thor and Loki, we’ve established the characters across two films, so it means you can color in more shades with each character. It means that Thor can get darker as a character and more complicated. It means that Loki can get even more complexity and dimension which really is the most interesting thing about being alive is that there is no black and white. There are many shades of gray, and different people’s perspectives on events. Alan said something fascinating that “Thor: The Dark World” came as a title because the story revolves around… Well, you know Malekith is in the film, and he was a dark elf, so it’s not just about the mythological and physical battle between dark and light. But there’s something about growing up and accepting responsibility no matter who you are, whether you are a crowned king, a king in waiting or a shamed prisoner. Accepting responsibility and growing up is dark, it’s a dark experience. It’s not easy. And I think that that’s what’s exciting about the material is that it’s sort of emotionally and psychologically and spiritually, I hope–we’re still in the middle of it–but you hope it embraces a more complex and dark experience, alongside lots of action.
Q: What sort of character developments will we see in Loki?
Hiddleston: He has an interesting relationship now that he’s back within the environs of his family, those relationships are really interesting. So you’ve got Odin, Frigga, Thor and also the Warriors Three and Sif. But he’s a psychopath and the fascinating thing about playing a psychopath–whether it’s a real life category A inmate in the darkest prison that we have on Earth or someone who is a mythological creature who’s been around in human imagination for 2,000/3,000 years–is that what quality of compassion or goodness is still there? That’s the question. The exciting question is, “Why? Why does any psychopath perform those acts? Why does he wish everyone such ill? And what does he want? And does he even care what he wants?” I think as an actor that’s really exciting thing to delve into. When you’re that dark and you’re so full of destruction and hate and sabotage, and part of that is self-hate and self-sabotage like motivation. It’s an interesting question to ask why.
Q: Do you like him?
Hiddleston: I do, yeah. And the thing about playing (him) is that you have to. You can’t sit in judgment. So in my own mind, I’ve unpacked his suitcase of pain, so I can easily stand up and defend him even though many of his actions are indefensible, but I know why, I think. What’s interesting is those answers are locked in some kind of cabinet right at the bottom of him, and he’s in there and nobody has the key. Do you know what I’m saying? So yeah, I do like him. I also find him enormously charming. (laughter) He’s sort of someone who’s really nasty, but really elegant with it. He’s someone who looks good doing really bad things. (laughter) What I love about playing him is that there’s a delight, because of the way the character was developed by Joss Whedon in “Avengers” who kept encouraging me to enjoy myself as an actor. Loki’s having a good time destroying Manhattan. He’s having a good time, teasing everybody and playing everyone else off each other like a chess master, and now I really feel like I’m the God of mischief. Playing that mischievous element in all its unpredictability is really, really fun.
Q: In the comics, Thor and Loki have a changing back and forth dynamic. Sometimes they’re best friends, sometimes they hate each other. In this film are they closer to being friends at some point or is there like a unifying thing that brings them together?
Hiddleston: I’m wondering whether I can answer that question. (laughter) It’s consistently ambivalent in a way that’s true to the comics and really fun for myself and Chris Hemsworth to play because what’s really exciting is that in “Avengers” Thor still really cared about Loki. And part of the reason he was there was almost to protect him. He was just like trying to find the good in him and take him home. And we’ve been very careful not to repeat that moment. Thor’s attitude has to change. Therefore Loki’s attitude has to change their relationship to each other — their need for each other — their antipathy, opposition to and from is constantly changing. That’s what makes it fun to play, these archetypal forces of dark and light, and the lightness and the darkness is flickering between the two.
Q: Does Loki feel any regret for his actions in the past two films?
Hiddleston: There is a whole scene dedicated to whether or not that happens. (laughter)
Q: What about Loki’s relationship to Malekith? In the comics they’re both bad but they kinda don’t get along ’cause they have different reasons. Is that similar in this?
Hiddleston: Well without saying too much, there’s a degree of mutual recognition, shall we say. It takes one to know one. (laughter)
Q: Do you share any of Loki’s worldviews?
Hiddleston: No. (laughter) He’s way out there on a limb … with good reason. If I’m looking at it objectively. I mean there was some bad parenting, let’s face it. (laughter) But I think it was not the right decision to throw a kind of apocalyptic-sized tantrum that was “The Avengers.”
Q: We’ve heard that Thor gets a blue cape in this one and a lot of the characters have changed their costumes over time, but you have always stayed consistent with this. Are we gonna be able to see you kind of in a different costume?
Hiddleston: Yeah, there absolutely is. There’s a moment there where I’m definitely in a different costume. Well, certainly (his hair is) longer. Some time has passed and I don’t think he’s been sent to the finest barbers in Asgard. (laughter) But yeah, there’s a little bit of difference. It’s interesting when you get to a place of when you want to evolve with the look of something, but you also don’t wanna stray too far, because then it’s almost like you’re inventing another character.
Q: So does this costume kind of help you key right in?
Hiddleston: Absolutely. Because the strange thing is by the time we started shooting it was actually exactly a year since I’d been inside the skin of Loki. Naturally, when you finish something you just sort of put it away and you put it away forever ’cause normally you never have to come back, so I’ve lived a whole 12 months of life. I’ve done a whole lot of other things, and I’m a different human being, so in a way coming back to the same costume and the same hair and the same look is like, “Ha, I recognize this guy.” It’s like remeeting an old friend, you can pick up where you left off.
Q: You’re on your third director playing this character. How much more ownership are you taking in Loki in this film versus the last two now that it is your third time playing him. And do you find that people are going to you more to, you know, for how do you feel more about this scene?
Hiddleston: Yeah, that’s what’s been really exciting is everyone at Marvel – Kevin Feige, Craig Kyle and Alan Taylor as a director and Chris Yost the writer… I remember talking about the story for this film with the producers while we were running around doing press for “Avengers” and sort of saying, “Where do we go next?” People were responding positively to that film, and there’s something which I feel very fortunate to have been given which is confidence by them because I’ve lived through him. Other people can have their opinion objectively about where Loki should go, but I’ve lived through every moment and sometimes I’m the only person who knows how it feels. I always have ideas. Some of them I’m sure are terrible, but some of them are good and they’re in the film. That’s really exciting when you feel like I know every inch of Loki, and I’m the only person who’s played him. So other people have written him, other people have shot him, other people have framed him, but I know his inside, and that’s really exciting that I have had a bit of input into it. It’s really great.
Q: How has being part of a franchise changed you?
Hiddleston: Has it? It hasn’t, you know, and I mean it was strange for a second when the film came out ’cause it was so much bigger than I’d anticipated, but no. The bit I love is that I really love acting, really, and the circus of being–for want of a better word–a celebrity is something I’m not interested in. I find it kind of strange. It’s so hard to answer that question because the business is so complicated and there are so many layers. I try not to think about it, because I just think then you’ll start barking up the wrong tree. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be good at something else. You just try and chase opportunities that you fall in love with or that inspire you and keep doing the work. It’s a really good question ’cause it’s something that does crop up and suddenly, some people treat you differently and other people don’t, but it’s all so inconsistent that it shouldn’t be. It can’t be a factor. What I’ve learned from Is that I’ve been really lucky at 31 years young to have worked with people who are much more established, like Kenneth Branagh and Tony Hopkins and Judi Dench and Rachel Weisz, and what distinguishes them from me is that they simply don’t listen to any of that, it’s white noise. Whether you’re hot, whether you’re not, whether people love it or whether they hated it. They still approach the work with such integrity and passion for the specific project in mind. But it was a bit weird for a second though. I’m just used to being completely invisible in London, like any other Londoner, and suddenly I wasn’t for about three weeks at a stretch.
On the next page, we’ll get into some of the actual sets we visited and what we learned while checking them out.