While it’s always very cool to talk to an actor in costume on a movie set, there is something extra fun when it’s Tom Hiddleston dressed as Loki. Hiddleston has done such an amazing job bringing Loki to life that getting to talk to him during a break in filming was a real thrill. In addition, Hiddleston is one of the nicest actors I’ve had the fortune to speak to, and he always gives smart and insightful answers.
During a group interview on the Thor: The Dark World set last year, Hiddleston discussed when the sequel takes place, the darker tone, whether he personally likes Loki, the character’s relationship with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the changing dynamic, how much more ownership he has over Loki in this film versus the last two, Loki’s relationship with Malekith, his new costume and hair style, and a lot more. Hit the jump to either read or listen to what he had to say.
If you’d like to listen to the audio from this interview click here. Otherwise the full transcript is below. Thor: The Dark World opens November 8th.
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. And what’s exciting about this film is that 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. But it’s exciting. It is. It’s a springboard. It’s a springboard into a new chapter. It means, 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 of space and time, then he spent a degree of time on Earth and tried to destroy New York, and now he’s back in Asgard a different being and therefore the chemistry he creates just by being back here is unpredictable and fantastic.
Is there a darker tone to this movie?
HIDDLESTON: I think so. I think that’s our privilege with being allowed to make it is that we’ve established, 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 shades of grey and different peoples perspectives on events. Alan said something fascinating that Thor: The Dark World came as a title because the story revolves around Malekith, and he was a Dark Elf. So it’s not just about the mythological and physical battle between dark and light, but that 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, growing up is dark. It’s a dark experience. It’s not easy. I think that’s what’s exciting about the material is that it sort of emotionally, psychologically and spiritually – I hope, you know we sit in the middle of it, but you hope it embraces a more complex and dark experience alongside lots of action.
HIDDLESTON: He has an interesting relationship now that he’s back within the environs of his family. Those relationships are really interesting. You’ve got Odin, Frigga and Thor, and also The Warriors Three and Sif. You know, he’s a psychopath and the fascinating thing about playing a psychopath in anything, whether it’s a real life category A inmate in the darkest prison that we have on Earth or someone who’s a mythological creature who’s been around in human imagination for 2000-3000 years, is 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? Does he even care what he wants? And I think as an actor that’s a really exciting thing to delve into is 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. Motivation, it’s an interesting question to ask why.
Do you like Loki?
HIDDLESTON: I do, yeah.
You have to like him.
HIDDLESTON: You have to. You can’t sit in judgment. So in my own mind I’ve unpacked his suitcase of pain so I could easily stand up and defend him even though many of his actions are indefensible. But I know why, I think. What’s interesting is that those answers are locked in some kind of cabinet right at the bottom of him and nobody has the key. So yeah, I do like him. He’s also enormously charming. He’s someone who’s really nasty, but really elegant with it. He’s someone who looks good doing really bad thing or sounds good or something. Do you know what I mean? And what I love about playing him is that there’s a delight and now because of the way the character was developed by Joss Whedon in Avengers who kept encouraging me to enjoy myself, enjoy myself as an actor and enjoy- like 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. Now I really feel like the god of mischief and playing that mischievous element in all its unpredictability is really fun.
In the comics Thor and Loki have a changing dynamic, sometimes they’re best friends, sometimes they hate each other. In this film are they closer to being friends at some point? Is there a unifying thing that brings them together? You know what I mean?
HIDDLESTON: Yeah, absolutely. I’m just wondering as to whether I can answer that question. It’s consistently ambivalent in a way that’s true to the comics and really fun for myself and Chris Hemsworth to play. 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, to try and find the good and 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 and 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 like I said the lightness and darkness is flickering between the two.
Is the Tesseract still a factor?
HIDDLESTON: Can’t say.
Does Loki feel regret for any of his actions in the first two films?
HIDDLESTON: There is a whole scene dedicated to whether or not that happens.
What about his relationship with Malekith, because they have a really interesting relationship in the comics they’re both bad but don’t really get along because they have different reasons. What their relationship like in this?
HIDDLESTON: Without saying too much, there’s a degree of… mutual recognition shall we say.
Between the two of them?
HIDDLESTON: Yeah, it takes one to know one.
HIDDLESTON: No. He’s way out there on a limb. With good reason, you know I think everybody else is right if I’m standing at it objectively. I mean there was some bad parenting, let’s face it, but I think it was not the right decision to throw an apocalyptic sized tantrum that was the Avengers.
You’re on your third director playing this character, how much more ownership are you taking of Loki in this film versus the last two? And do you find that people are going to you more for how do you feel about this scene?
HIDDLESTON: Yeah that’s what’s been really exciting everyone at Marvel Kevin Feige, Craig Kyle, Alan Taylor, the director, and Chris Yost , the writer, have really kind of- I remember talking about the story or this film with the producers when we were kind of running around doing press for Avengers and sort of saying “Where do we go next? People are 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 own opinion objectively 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. And that’s really exciting when you feel like I know every inch of Loki and I’m the only person who’s played it. Other people have written him, other people have shot him, and other people have framed him, but I know his inside. And that’s really exciting is that I have had a bit of an input into it. It’s really great, a huge complement.
HIDDLESTON: Has it? It hasn’t. I mean it was strange for a second when the film came out because it was so much bigger than I had anticipated, but no. The bit I love is I really love acting, really, and the circus of it, the circus of being- for want of a better word, a celebrity is something I’m sort of not interested in. I find it strange.
Has your currency in the business changed? Do people treat you differently?
HIDDLESTON: It’s so hard to answer that question because the business is so complicated and has so many layers, and I try not to think about it because then I think you start barking up the wrong tree. Just because you’re good in something doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be good in 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 because it is something that does crop up and suddenly some people treat you differently and other people don’t, but it’s all so inconsistent that shouldn’t be- it can’t be a factor. What I’ve learned from, I’ve been really lucky at thirty-one years young to have worked with people who are much more established like Kenneth Branagh, Tony Hopkins, 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 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 there. I’m just used to being completely invisible in London like any other Londoner and suddenly I wasn’t for about three weeks. It was very strange.
We’ve heard that Thor gets a blue cape in this one and a lot of the Marvel characters have changed their costume over time, but you have stayed consistent. Are we going to see you in a different costume?
HIDDLESTON: Yeah, there absolutely is. There’s a moment there where I’m definitely in a different costume.
Your hair is curly. It was straighter before.
HIDDLESTON: [Laughs] Well certainly it’s longer. Some time has passed and I don’t think he’s been sent to the finest barbers in Asgard. Yeah there’s a little bit of difference. It’s interesting when you get to a place of like, you want to evolve the look of something, but you also don’t want to stray too far because it’s almost like you’re inventing another character.
Does this costume help you key right into it?
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 and naturally when you finish something, every actor, you just sort of put it away and you put it away forever because normally you never have to come back. So I’ve lived a whole twelve months of life, I’ve done a whole load 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, “Aha! [snaps fingers] I recognize this guy.” It’s like re-meeting an old friend. You pick up where you left off. You hope.
For more Thor: The Dark World set visit coverage:
- 50 Things to Know About THOR: THE DARK WORLD Plus Spoiler Free Video Blog Recap
- Chris Hemsworth Talks Expanding Beyond Asgard, Building to THE AVENGERS 2, and More on the Set of THOR: THE DARK WORLD
- Producer Craig Kyle Talks the Involvement of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Film’s Design and Locations, and More on the Set of THOR: THE DARK WORLD
- Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Talks Playing Two Characters, Algrim’s Relationship with Malekith, and More on the Set of THOR: THE DARK WORLD
- Director Alan Taylor Talks the Constantly Evolving Script, 3D, Moving from HBO to Marvel, and More on the Set of THOR: THE DARK WORLD
- 10 New High-Resolution Images from THOR: THE DARK WORLD