IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Tom Hiddleston discusses 'Thor'

Tuesday, 03 May 2011 15:49 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Tom Hiddleston discusses 'Thor'

If you don’t know who Tom Hiddleston is now … you soon will! The English actor is best known for his work in the theater, as well as the HBO film The Gathering Storm. But he will soon be seen as Loki, the God of mischief in director Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, which flies into theaters on May 6th. In fact, the actor is set to reprise his role as Loki in the highly anticipated film The Avengers, which will unite Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Black Widow and, the Hulk all into one united on-screen Marvel universe. I recently had a chance to sit down and chat with actor Tom Hiddleston about Thor, his role as Loki, his chemistry with Chris Hemsworth, director Kenneth Branagh’s vision for the film, and his childhood knowledge of Marvel characters.

Here is what the talented actor had to say:

To begin with, Chris Hemsworth and you play brothers Thor and Loki, respectively, in the movie and have a great chemistry together. Was that instantaneous or something that you two had to work on?

Hiddleston: We had a really good time and we really got lucky I think. That’s a testament to Ken Branagh’s imagination. We didn’t know each other before we worked together but he must have seen somehow that we would get on.

But you had worked with Kenneth Branagh before he cast you in Thor, is that correct?

Hiddleston: I acted on stage with him in London, and we also did a TV show together for the BBC. So I had acted with him, but he had never directed me before. It was great, and it was just so easy working with Chris. I always say, and I know it sound a bit pretentious, but acting is a bit like tennis. If you’re playing with someone who you like and respect, you can take the game to the next level. When you see Rodger Federer against Rafael Nadal, and I’m not suggesting Chris and I are as good of actors as they are at tennis but, they play such beautiful tennis together. In a way with Chris, because we respect each other and like each other so much, I think that chemistry does actually read in the film between these two warring brothers. You can only be really nasty to someone you really like, and I really like Chris.

Growing up in England, were you aware of Marvel Comics and all their characters when you were a kid?

Hiddleston: I definitely knew them. I don’t think you have them here but they are called Top Trumps, it’s like a very simple card game. You can get them for Soccer players, motorbikes, and fighter planes. I had the Marvel superhero Top Trumps and basically every character is listed in the deck according to their vital statistics such as height, weight, intelligence, agility, and superpower. You split the deck, and somebody says I’ve got Spider-Man in mine and you’ve got Thor in yours. I say height 5’11, and you say height 6’2, and you win Spider-Man from me because Thor on height is stronger than Spider-Man. It was a really fun game as a kid; and Thor and Loki were in the deck.

Loki is the God of mischief, is there a bit of mischievousness in you that you were able to tap into for the character?

Hiddleston: I suppose. I was never the clown at school, I had some really rebellious classmates when I was at school. I’ve always been quite internally rebellious. I think everybody at school thought I was going to become a teacher; it was a massive misjudgment of my character. Which maybe reflects that I never played all my cards, I kept them close to my chest. I guess that is somehow like Loki in some way. There is a distance. He is watching everything all the time from a distance. I guess I’m a bit like that.

Can you talk about your initial discussions with Kenneth Branagh about the film and his vision for bringing the world of Asgard to the big screen?

Hiddleston: You know it absolutely amazing. He was so clear with everything he wanted to do. He knew he wanted to make a classic superhero film. He wasn’t interested in exploring something dark and edgy. He wanted to make something warm and something classic in the tone of Richard Donner’s Superman.

There is a very Shakespearian tone to the film, is that because Kenneth Branagh, Anthony Hopkins, and you have so much experience performing Shakespeare’s plays on stage?

Hiddleston: I think that was obvious in a way, because in the comics Thor speaks in a mock Shakespearian dialect. All of Shakespeare’s best plays are about royal families shattering in pain. Low and behold in the center of Thor you have the royal family of Asgard shattering in pain. Kenneth knew he wanted to create something spectacular and that the world of Asgard was going to be shatteringly beautiful. The fish out of water stuff was going to be very, very funny. Then just with Tony, Chris, and me, he boiled it down to a father and two sons, the two brothers warring and competing for their father’s love, pride, and affection. It makes it very easy to play when you’ve got such a simple, human, relatable emotion. Which is why I want my dad to love me more than he loves my brother.

Finally, it seems that in his mind, Loki is really the hero of his own story. Do you find that as an actor you have to look at a role that way in order to play the character truthfully?

Hiddleston: Absolutely. I would say you have to get your arms around the character you’re playing. You have to protect him and fight for his prospective. With Loki, when I was playing him … if an actor sits in judgment of a character morally that is the moment the actor ceases to play that character. Acting is about getting under the skin of someone else’s point of view, so Loki’s truth is not my truth. But he still has his reasons, no matter how misguided they are. I think if I ever sat in judgment of Loki’s actions I would make him become a caricature in a way. That’s when you understand that there is no such thing as true evil, just misguided intentions.

Thor opens in U.S. theaters on May 6th.

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