Tom Hiddleston has gone from regular actor to superstar practically overnight. What's the cause of his sudden popularity? His portrayal of the slick and twisted god of mischief, Loki, in Kenneth Branagh's Thor. Playing Loki, Hiddleston took one of the most menacing Marvel comic book villains and breathed life into him. Though the movie received mixed reviews, one part everyone agreed was superb was his performance.
Now Tom Hiddleston is slipping Loki's horned helmet on his head once more, reprising his role as the terrifying villain in Joss Whedon's superhero-packed film, The Avengers. People tend to forget that it's not only our heroes that make a great good vs. evil story but the villains as well. After all, in a way, our heroes would be quite boring if they weren't frightening the bad guys.
In Joss Whedon's The Avengers, we follow Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) as he brings together a group of the greatest superheroes the world's ever seen in order to fight off Loki and his new alien army, armed with the Tessaract, who threaten to take over the entire world.
During our interview with the charming Tom Hiddleston, he spoke about the inner workings of Loki's mind, pretending to fight a character that isn't there, and stepping back into the role that made him famous.
Tom Hiddleston Exclusive Interview
In The Avengers Loki is a lot more twisted and evil compared to how he was in Thor, but I believe that's because he found out more about his past. Why do you think Loki believes he's so in the right with his actions in The Avengers? Why do you think what he does he believes is good?
Tom Hiddleston: "Well, I think he genuinely believes in his kind of motivation, which is that the human race is busy fighting each other. The planet Earth is rife with war and if the human race was united by the reverence of one king, he would create peace. It's hopelessly deluded and misguided, but he's also a character that's also brought up with the expectation of his entitlement. Odin said to Thor and Loki as children, 'Only one of you will ascend to the throne, but you were both born to be kings,' because he is the son of Lafi, the king of Odenheim, and that's only something that he finds out in Thor, and the narrative of his life is revealed to be a lie. So he finds out that he was adopted, that he was cast out, that he was neglected, rejected, and the whole thing feels like the most enormous betrayal. So you have someone with an expectation that he was born to rule, born to be king, and he has no kingdom. He doesn't have Asgard, he doesn't have Odenheim, what is he going to do? He's going to come down to Earth and fashion this planet as his kingdom. It's pretty tragic, but he thinks he's doing the right thing."
This is kind of a unique situation for an actor where you have a big role like you had in Thor and you're able to revisit that role with a different director, so there's a whole different feel of the film. As an actor, how does that feel to be able to morph this character that you've created into something that we see on the screen in The Avengers?
Tom Hiddleston: "It's just a privilege to come back. It's like meeting an old friend that you haven't seen for a while. I hope that there's enough consistency that people can understand the foundations of a character that were laid down in Thor but we evolved in The Avengers because nobody stays the same. Everybody grows all the time, and Loki has just evolved in a much darker direction. He's more self-possessed; he's more self-aware.
My good fortune is that Joss (Whedon) loved it, he loved Thor so much and loved what Ken(neth Branagh) did with that whole film and he was so kind about what Chris (Hemsworth) and myself did in it. He said that your fraternal conflict is the center of my film as well because that's the reason that you come down to Earth. 'You don't care about Thor anymore. You don't care about Odin or Asgard. For you guys, it's personal with all of this business of saving the world or destroying it. For the other Avengers it's different, but it's personal in a different way.' Thor is the only Avenger for whom the bad guy is [not a stranger]. It makes for slightly different things. So, it's just really great to just come back around and do it again and do all the things I couldn't really get to do in the first one, which I hope, in this film, Loki lives up to this moniker as the god of mischief."
That might be an understatement. At the end of last year you came out with War Horse which involved you being in real locations with little to no special effects. Then there's The Avengers where it's just nothing but green screen. How big of a leap is it to go back and forth between those two in regards to acting - going from having hundreds of extras behind you to fighting the Hulk who's not there?
Tom Hiddleston: "You know, it's funny because there is some things that are very different and are some things that are the same. There's a cavalry charge in War Horse where my character faces his certain death, looking into the barrel of a machine gun. I lead that calvalry charge. When I shot that section of the sequence, there was no machine gun and I was looking into the distance. So I was having to imagine what it would feel like to be riding towards my death into a machine gun fire. And that's no different from imagining that I'm on Stark Tower, which is in fact on top of midtown Manhattan, fighting the Incredible Hulk on this platform where in actual fact I'm on a sound stage punching thin air, or shouting at thin air in my case, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Acting is an active imagination. It is supplying the truth for things that aren't in fact there. But that's the job, that's the discipline, and I love it. It's just like playing as a kid, just with bigger toys."
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The Avengers hits theaters on May 4, 2012.