Posted on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 by Germain Lussier
Back in October, I travelled to London to do interviews for the current #1 movie in the world, Thor: The Dark World. Since then, we’re run a bunch of quotes from my interviews, but now that the film is out, we’re going to run all the interviews in full over the next three days. Here you can read about all the spoiler discussion in context, as well as more specific questions related to the film and some stuff about upcoming projects and superhero movies in general too.
Below you can read my full interview with Loki himself, Tom Hiddleston.
NOTE: THE INTERVIEW FEATURES SPOILERS FOR THOR: THE DARK WORLD.
Before I saw the sequel, I re-watched Thor, and what really struck me was how much you and the character have changed. You were sort of meek at the beginning; now you’re brash and loving it. How much of that is the character arc and how much of that is your comfort level with him?
That’s an interesting question. I mean I remember when I first got cast by Kenneth Branagh as Loki in April of 2009, I had eight or nine months to build the character and I had a scrap book in case I would wake up in the middle of the night and I had this idea and I wanted to write something down and not forget it. That was where I pasted all these pictures and images from the ancient myths and depictions of him in western art across the centuries. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby drawings, too. So there was always a kind of devilish maniacal agent of chaos that I wanted to get to.
Kenneth Branagh encouraged me to place that as an end point, because that first film was an origin story both for Thor and for Loki. If I started the first Thor film in that self-possessed place of inhabiting the trickster in the pantheon, it would have given me nowhere to go. It is possibly a combination of both. I mean of tracing the arc of him from fallen prince to agent of chaos and possibly a greater confidence in me, I don’t know. It’s a great question.
We know that additional photography added more Loki into the movie; Alan Taylor told me of two specific scenes, the first scene of your return to Asgard and the morphing scene. Were those the only two scenes? And what does adding scenes later do to a performance?
Those were the only scenes, yeah. What does it do, adding scenes? It’s interesting, because I had actually always wanted there to be that scene with Odin and I remember saying when I first got the draft of the script, “Shouldn’t he have a scene with Odin where you see him lock horns one more time?” So I was very glad to do that and I think it makes more sense of the references to Odin all the way through the film.
And the morphing scene was just so fun. It was just adding more mischief, more playfulness to the character and his playfulness. His charm is so much of the character and is a facet of the character I love to play. I suppose the challenge of adding stuff later is just trying to capture the same psychological and emotional continuity, because there were many months between… Of course when you’re shooting, that’s when you’re focused solely on that particular job and then once you wrap you go off and get distracted by other things, other projects in your life, so it’s having the discipline to shift back into the right gear, but it was worth it.
You also mentioned a couple of times that you had pitched some ideas to Kevin Feige about what you thought of the character. What of that ended up in the movie, if anything?
I’m genuinely grateful for his open mindedness and collaboration. I feel very trusted by him as someone who has an input into Loki. I remember a fascinating time around The Avengers release when we were all traveling around the world together. We would have all of this time on airplanes and it was the only time we were physically together. You’d say “What happens next?”
I remember saying to Kevin and Chris [Hemsworth] as well, “Loki and Thor have been antagonists for two films. We can’t do that again. Wouldn’t it be amazing if they fought side by side for whatever reason in whatever complicated allegiance? It would still be great if somehow they had to overcome their differences and fight a common enemy? There’d be a lot of drama and tension and comedy that could come out of that thing.” He agreed.
That’s the whole arc of the movie.
I know. And also there’s some stuff about Loki’s particularly broken heart. There’s this scene where a guard comes down to tell Loki about the death of one character. That scene didn’t exist and I walked around the set and said “Wouldn’t it be amazing it this happened and then he had a particular response?” It’s in the movie and I’m really proud of it. I think it makes sense, but I hasten… It’s not just me who throws these ideas out. It’s genuinely… That happens on every film. Alan had so many ideas. Chris had so many ideas. Kevin had so many ideas. Joss Whedon had great ideas. Like all great collaborations, the best are those who rise to the time and that’s what’s in the film.
Loki is also almost the comic relief in this one. Was it written like that?
I think one of the things I wanted to retain from The Avengers was the great new thing Joss Whedon brought to the character, that Loki was having a good time. His main bit of direction to me on that movie was “Enjoy yourself.” So my enjoyment of Loki’s devilishness is something that Alan Taylor really likes and wanted to keep. “You are toying with these people,” that is Loki’s arrogance, “so let’s keep it.”
Awesome. And this interview will run completely after the movie opens, so…
Okay, I’m very cautious of this. (Laughs)
The first time you read the script did you think “Oh wow, they kill me. This might be my last Marvel movie.”
Did the script trick you like it does us?
[Beat] Yes. [Both Laugh]
I just asked Kevin Feige “When are we going to see Loki again?” He said “Not before Thor 3 but we’re not exactly sure.” He said, “Maybe the next time somebody talks about Odin, maybe it’s not actually Odin…” Do you think Loki is going to stay as Odin?
I do not know. I love that it leaves you hanging there. I don’t know. It’s one of those things where it’s a constantly evolving map or a jigsaw puzzle where the picture keeps changing and he keeps me on my toes, believe me. You know I’ve had such a good time playing him, I have absolutely no idea if I’ll ever get to play him again.
It seems likely. I hope so.
Maybe somewhere down the road.
When Kurse sees you, why doesn’t he let you out?
Because… Well in my mind we are psyching each other out in that moment and I think Curse sees precisely how dangerous Loki is. That’s what I like. It’s a real sort of… It’s like…
A machismo thing?
Yeah, they are sizing each other up and that felt like a really great day at work and Alan also said the same thing. It was a moment with these two heavyweights in the ring in some way.
And it’s almost a reference to when he finds out about the death of his father where he doesn’t really vocalize there. He’s such a boisterous fun character, but doesn’t even have to say anything.
That is one aspect of Loki that I love playing, the poker game that he has the most unreadable face. He will never show his true hand except in extremes.
Then you’re going to do Crimson Peak next with Guillermo del Toro. What is exciting about that movie to you??
Guillermo’s an absolute omniscient about that particular genre of fiction, in literature, in cinema… His precision and passion… The script itself is bone chillingly terrifying. When I was reading it for the first time I had to get up and walk around the room, then sit down again because I was so scared. But it’s also so sophisticated. It’s actually a very mature film. It has a very sophisticated and adult sensibility that stems from what Guillermo sees as the root of all of this stuff, which is the gothic romance literature of the nineteenth century.
Awesome, and then the last thing would be the petition that the Marvel fans have done for Loki… Have you told Marvel “This is out there.” Are they aware?
They know about it, yeah. I’m not sure they… I think they are as flattered and gratified as I am. I don’t know if it has any sway on what they choose to make next and they have a heavy schedule with Guardians and Ant-Man.
I think the Loki fans are going to be happy with this one.
I hope so.
Thor: The Dark World is now playing.