Avengers Assemble: Tom Hiddleston Interview
With the Blu-ray and DVD of Avengers Assemble set to be released next Monday (17 September), we chat with actor Tom Hiddleston – who plays Loki in the movie – to find out more…
What do you like about your character in Marvel’s The Avengers?
“Loki is such a great, larger-than-life character. He has so many dimensions. He is motivated by jealousy, ambition, pride, vanity, arrogance and greed – and yet he gets to have a lot of fun because of his predisposition towards mischief. On one level, he is this grandiose agent of chaos. He’s a cackling villain standing on rooftops, laughing at the sky. But on another level, he’s a lost child and a brother who was always the second string because he grew up in the shadow of Thor. He’s a rejected, abandoned son who has no place in the universe, so all his destructive anger is motivated by a lack of self-esteem. I don’t think he even knows it, but he’s desperately trying to give himself a purpose.”
At what stage did you discover that Loki would be part of Marvel’s The Avengers?
“[Marvel’s The Avengers producer] Kevin Feige suggested Loki would be part of the Avengers storyline when I got cast in Thor, but I was so busy trying to build the character that I couldn’t think about it. I knew perfectly well that if I was rubbish in Thor, I wouldn’t get anywhere near The Avengers. That’s when I thought I’d just take everything one step at a time.”
When did the reality of Loki’s role in Marvel’s The Avengers hit you?
“Towards the end of the Thor shoot, Joss Whedon came into Marvel for a script meeting and he asked [Thor director] Kenneth Branagh to see a rough cut of Thor. Joss wanted to see what he could do with Chris Hemsworth and where to take the character of Thor, as well as Loki. Joss loved it so much that we went for a cup of tea and we had a long, fantastic conversation where we swapped loads of ideas. Joss said to me, ‘There’s been some talk of multiple villains in this movie, but I think you can do it on your own,’ which was the most incredible compliment. I had a mountain to climb after that.”
What’s it like to work with Joss Whedon?
“What impressed me the most about Joss initially was the incredible screenplay we had to work with on Marvel’s The Avengers. Directing this film was a feat in itself, but his screenplay was phenomenal. I’m sure none of us really knew what to expect, but I take my hat off to Joss for that. He was incredibly open and that’s what you want as an actor: you want to collaborate. Everyone has a certain level of ownership of their character and Joss was very respectful of that possession. He would constantly ask us, ‘Does this feel right for your character? Does this feel true to you? Is this in your voice?’”
How did it feel to work on a set that featured so many A-list actors?
“If I’m completely honest, I felt very much like the junior boy on The Avengers. I was in the company of a group of actors that I grew up watching and respecting. Samuel L Jackson and Robert Downey Jr are cinematic legends. I remember watching Robert in Chaplin while I was training at RADA thinking it was one of the most extraordinary pieces of acting I’d ever seen. In addition to that, Scarlett Johansson had already done Lost In Translation when I was at university, so I just felt incredibly lucky and privileged to be working with these actors and to be in these scenes with them. It was amazing.”
How did it feel to play the villain of the movie?
“It was a huge undertaking because it was an amazing challenge and an amazing privilege to play the bad guy. It was a challenge to dial up the menace and I was exhausted when I finished filming. It’s funny how negative energy is so exhausting, and it was certainly a challenge to cultivate Loki’s hatefulness every day. I had to get inside his reservoirs of pain and make that feel real. Hating is exhausting; it’s much more exhausting than loving, and that’s what took it out of me – as well as some of the physical challenges that we all undertook.”
Was the stunt work challenging as well?
“I love doing the stunts and flying around on wires. At the very beginning, the first thing I had to do was jump off a platform, do a 30-foot leap and spear somebody in the chest. Joss wanted me to fly beyond the horizontal, so they attached a harness to me under my costume, which enabled me to dive headfirst towards the camera. I felt like I was part of a circus trapeze act! It was fantastic.”