The Geek Life: Lost Loki Interview (Mania.com)
By:Robert T. Trate
Date: Wednesday, May 02, 2012
The Geek Life is a weekly look at what is going on in the Geek Culture. Movies, Comics, Books, Video Games, and TV Shows encompass more than just release dates and reviews. This week the Geek Life posts its Lost Loki Interview.
In the craziness that surrounded the release of Thor (2011) last summer, my interview with its villain got lost. Let us sum it up to a miscalculation on my part, but here I sit with an interview that never saw the light of day. Sure, it is a year old. However with Loki being the essential first villain in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers I thought it would be fun to go back and share with you Hiddleston pre-Thor.
I was sitting with other members of the press at Comic Con and the Avengers had literally just assembled for the first time in Hall H. I only wish I could say that I was there for that fortuitous occasion. However, I was not. That was the day of the seat stabber (see picture) and everything got delayed. This meant that everything was literally pushed back and my time between the Thor panel and getting to the interview was reduced to minutes. Comic Con is weird and filled with people on power trips. Security guards and hotel clerks can screw you over because things have already started. As soon as the Thor panel was over I took off for the press room. I arrived to a full press room and was immediately placed at a table. Meeting the likes of Kenneth Branagh was this film aficionado's dream come true (see interview). However it was the disappointment of watching Kat Dennings dumb down Natalie Portman that has forever scarred me (see The Geek Life: First Impression for more details). Then this skinny Brit sits down in front of me. I knew he was Loki, but other than that I had no clue what else this guy was in. Immediately he disarmed everyone with a sly smile...
Mania: Loki is one of the great villains of the Marvel Universe. Where you intimidated by playing such a grand character?
Tom Hiddleston: Ken [Branagh] and I discussed it a lot very early on because we both read a lot of the comics and there were so many facets of him. He was one of the agents of chaos that would turn whales into sea serpents, clowns into dragons, and whole streets of cars in New York into ice cream. But then there was this damaged brother, this younger brother, who didn’t receive as much love as his elder bother. He was passed over, rejected, and betrayed. That is where Ken and I decided we wanted to root all of his mischief; in a truthful psychological damaged way. He was essentially the younger brother and never going to be king and he wished that he could. All of this stuff comes from wanting to please his father. Though his true lineage will be revealed in the film, I won’t say who that is. That character was founded in that; the duality of that. He is also a villain. He has a lot of fun. He is a mischievous prankster and at the same time he is in deep deep pain.
Mania: So is that lineage something new for the film or is it part of the comics [forgive me, Thor fans for not knowing my complete Thor history]?
Tom Hiddleston: No, it’s in the comics (laughs). Look into “truth of Loki’s lineage”.
Mania: Where you aware that Loki was a woman for the last several years in the comics?
Tom Hiddleston: (smiles) Yeah I was (laughs). I really don’t have those materials (he looked down at his chest). He only comes back as a woman after Ragnarok. I don’t know if you guys know what Ragnarok is but in Norse mythology Ragnarok is the end of time. Not just the end of the world, but the end of the universe. Thor is pulled back (the spirit of Thor is pulled back) from the underworld and he recreates Asgard. He brings all of the key figures from Asgard back. When he brings Loki back, Loki chooses to come back in the body of a woman. What is revealed later is that Loki has come back in the stolen body of Sif. He is inside Sif’s body. This is way way ahead in the evolution of the character.
Mania: Would you be willing to play the character as a woman?
Tom Hiddleston: I guess I would need some implants first. Perhaps (laughs) take up pole dancing.
Mania: Kenneth Branagh is notorious for giving his actors outside influences to draw from. What did Branagh prepare you with?
Tom Hiddleston: Interestingly enough he said to have a look at Peter O’Toole. Peter O’Toole in two specific films: The Lion in Winter and Lawrence of Arabia. These were two magnificent performances. What is interesting enough is in Lion in Winter, where he plays King Henry in a beautiful performance, you see how damaged he is. There is a rawness to him as if there is a layer of skin peeled away. He is grandiose, teary, and in a moment turns hilarious and then terrified. What we wanted was that emotional volatility. He [Branagh] said have a look, don’t do the same thing. It’s a different type of acting style. It’s fantastic to go back and watch an actor as brave as O’Toole and head for those high hills. On set we used to do different takes on scenes and we would have different versions. The first one he would say “you could have one for free”. The second take would be the Peter O’Toole take. The third take would be the Clint Eastwood take. The last take would the Jack Nicholson take.
Mania: Which of the takes did he use more often?
Tom Hiddleston: He loved the Clint actually. It usually came down to the Clint and the Jack. The Clint would be “whatever you’re feeling put it way down beneath you”. Where as the Jack would be “just have a really good time” (said int he style of Nicholson as the Joker). There I could really relish the character with a sense of enjoyment.
That is my lost interview with Loki aka Tom Hiddleston. In the time that has passed Hiddleston has become a more recognizable face. He was recently seen in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse and it has already been stated that he will return in Thor 2. If I had the chance to interview Hiddleston again, for any project, I would jump at it. It is rare that you find a performer so well versed in his character and a joy to talk to.
Robert Trate writes three weekly columns for Mania: the DVD Shopping Bag, the Toy Maniac, and The Geek Life. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.