Thanks to appearances in both Kenneth Branagh’s Thor and Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, Tom Hiddleston’otional s version of the comic book supervillain Loki has become easily the most popular villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the role the actor creates a perfect mix of emotional damage and smug arrogance that lets the audience sympathize with him while also openly waiting for the moment that he finally gets his ass handed to him. When we last saw the character he had just suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Earth’s mightiest superhero team and was shown in chains being taken back to his home realm of Asgard, but what happens next for Loki? Visiting the set of Thor: The Dark World and getting the chance to talk with the star late last year I had the opportunity to find out just that.
While in the midst of shooting an action sequence and wearing his full Loki costume, Hiddleston was kind enough to take a moment out of his on-set schedule to sit with myself and a small group of other film journalists to talk about exactly what has been going on with the God of Mischief since The Avengers. What’s his relationship like with his brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth), father Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and mother Frigga (Rene Russo)? What kind of relationship does Loki have with new villain on the block, Malekith the Accursed (Chirstopher Eccleston)? How is he paying for his crimes against Earth? Read on to find out!
So do we see the consequence of your actions in The Avengers after you come back to Asgard?
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 it depicts the… [laughs] 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 desperate and varying in tone and, empathy certainly. And but it’s exciting. I mean it’s a springboard. It’s a springboard. It’s a springboard into a new chapter. It means that 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 in space and time. And then he spent a degree of time on Earth trying to destroy New York. And now he’s back in Asgard a different being with a different mindset. And therefore the kind chemistry that he created just by being back there is unpredictable and fantastic.
Is there a darker tone in this movie in general does is seem to be darker all the way through?
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 an even more kind of complexity and dimension.
What’s really is the most interesting thing about being alive is that there is no black and white. There are many shades of gray, and different people’s perspectives on events. It’s something fascinating that Thor The Dark World came as a title because the story revolves around well, you know, Malekith is in the film and he’s a Dark Elf. So it’s not just about the mythological and physical battle between dark and light. But 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 and growing up is dark. It’s a dark experience. It’s not easy. And I think that that’s what’s exciting about the material is that it -- it’s sort of emotionally and psychologically and spiritually I hope - we sit in the middle of it – but you hope it embraces a more complex and dark experience. Alongside loads of action.
What kind of character development went into Loki?
Um, [laughs] I’m sorta caught with that. He has an interesting relationship going back within the environs of his family. Those relationships are really interesting. So you’ve got Odin, Frigga, Thor, and, also the Warriors Three and Sif. And he’s a psychopath [laughs]. The fascinating thing about playing a psychopath - like when it’s a real Category A inmate in the darkest prison that we have on Earth or someone who is a mythological creature who’s been around in human imagination for 2,000/3,000 years - is that 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? And does he even care what he wants? As an actor that’s a really exciting thing to delve into, 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 like motivation. It’s an interesting question to ask why.