Marvel’s 'Thor: The Dark World'' continues the adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself.
In the aftermath of Marvel’s 'The Avengers', Thor (Chris Hemsworth) fights to restore order across the cosmos…
But an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.
Tom Hiddleston is as surprised as anyone by Loki's popularity
With the Blu-ray and DVD of Marvel’s 'Thor: The Dark World' now on release we chat to actor Tom Hiddleston – who plays Loki in the movie – to find out more…
When you first read the script for Thor, did you ever imagine the character of Loki would connect with audiences as much as he has?
Absolutely not. Nope. Never. I mean, that was the best-case scenario – but it was probably far beyond what I could possibly have conceived. I remember reading the first script and being incredibly excited by it, but at that point it was the early beginnings of the creation of the character. It feels great to have built something so massive and rich and detailed.
What research into the world of Loki and Thor did you undertake when you first joined the franchise?-
I read all the comics, all the way back to Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. I also read J Michael Stracynzki's most recent reworking, as well as the Walt Simonson comics. I read the Norse myths, and I listened to Wagner because Loki turns up in the Ring Cycle. [Thor director] Kenneth Branagh and I also stole from Shakespeare because Loki is like Iago [from Othello]. He’s like Macbeth, and he’s like Edmund in King Lear. He seems like a character of such enormous dimensions and with so many interesting shades. The script that I read was an origin story for both Thor and Loki, and I think his mischievous aspects were only starting to come about towards the end of that first film.
When you originally signed up for the role, did Marvel president Kevin Feige explain that Loki would play such a significant part in the Marvel cinematic universe?
He did, but I didn’t listen to him at first because I knew that I had to concentrate on one thing at a time. Once I got cast in Thor, before we were shooting, Kevin was beginning to think about the structure of The Avengers. I think it was even before Joss Whedon had come on board, but they knew exactly where they wanted to go with the project.
Exactly when did you discover the notion that Loki would have such a huge role in the movies?
About a week or two after I was cast in Thor, I went into Marvel to say hello. I sat in Kevin’s office and he said to me, “We have big plans for Loki. He’s going to be the villain of The Avengers.” And then he explained that he wanted The Avengers to echo the very first edition of the comic, where Loki is the reason that they all get together. I thought to myself, “Well, that’s fantastic but that’s two or three years down the line.’ I literally couldn’t think that far ahead.
"Chris Hemsworth is one of my closest friends now," says Tom
Is it true that you originally auditioned for the title role of Thor?
Thor was being cast during my first ever trip to Los Angeles as an actor. I’d been signed by an agent on the back of a Shakespeare play I did in London and theysaid to me: “Come to LA and we’ll introduce you to the city.” I auditioned for everything under the sun: television series, films that you’ve seen, films that have been huge hits – and films that haven’t. Thor was one of them and it was a potential opportunity for me because I had a connection to Kenneth Branagh; I’d worked with him in the theatre. I thought, ‘At least there’s someone in this world of Hollywood who I don’t have to prove something to because he knows I can act.’ It was just a matter of trying to prove it to the studio, so I had to audition.
How did your audition go?
I’m really proud of the audition. It proved a lot to me as an actor because I’ve never committed so much to an audition before. The guys at Marvel called and said, “Can you put on as much muscle as you can in six weeks?” So I went from 180 pounds to 198 pounds and I had 7% body fat. I’ve still got the pictures to prove it. I’ve never challenged myself like that before. I basically showed myself what was possible.
Did you know what the studio was looking for with Thor?
They were very keen to have an unknown actor play Thor because they wanted to introduce Thor as a character that was untarnished by the baggage that a known actor would bring. That’s why I knew I had a shot. I am six-foot-two or six-foot-three and I naturally have blond hair, so I went for it.
When did you discover you hadn’t won the role of Thor?
When I auditioned for Thor, I didn’t know about the existence of Loki – but I think Chris Hemsworth and I were cast in the same week. I was waiting to hear whether I’d got the job of Thor or not, but they called Chris on a Wednesday and they called me on a Thursday. Kevin [Feige] and Ken [Branagh] called me personally and said, “Well, you're not going to play Thor but we would like you to play Loki.” Ken said to me, “Actually, this is the role that I would want to play.” In a way, it was a gift – and I have no regrets about it at all. I’ve never once thought, ‘I wish I were playing Thor.’
Tom Hiddleston likes Loki's mischief - "playfulness, which pushes the boundaries of what’s permissible"
What’s it like to work with Chris Hemsworth?
Chris Hemsworth is now one of my closest friends; acting with him makes me better as an actor. We have a great working chemistry, and I think that Kenneth Branagh cast us so well. I think he understood that we would get on. You know when you meet someone at a party and you immediately feel that you’re going to get along? You become instant friends. That’s what happened with us. We’re about the same age. Well, he's about 6 months younger then I am – but we have the same sense of humor and we love the same movies. This was the
biggest thing that had happened in our lives professionally, so we both enjoyed it together. I think that’s what makes us so unique as a match.
How much fun do you have playing an evil character?
Loki is the god of mischief. I looked up the word ‘mischief’ recently and it is described as ‘playfulness, which pushes the boundaries of what’s permissible’. I think that’s a very appealing quality, and I think that’s what makes him fun to play. Loki’s got a charm about him and he’s not somebody who plays by the rules. I really enjoy playing him.
How do you think the character has progressed over the years?
If you track Loki from the beginning of the first Thor film, through Thor, through The Avengers and into this movie, the protective plate of steel around what was originally quite a vulnerable core is now thicker and stronger. I think he now keeps his cards even closer to his chest. If he’s vulnerable, you’ll never see it. If he’s telling the truth, you’ll never know. His poker game has got sharper and he’s more unpredictable.
What’s been the strangest fan reaction to the character?
I’ve had some very strange fan mail over the years. There’s a moment in the first Thor movie where Thor and Loki are engaged in a fight. I have a spear in my hand and I make a huge leap to spear Chris – but he dodges out of the way. The spear is embedded into the ground, so I use the spear as a lever to spin myself around and kick him in the chest. Well, some fans have interpreted this as emblematic of my hidden talent at pole dancing. I’ve received a surprising number of depictions of myself in a pair of tight briefs and a horny helmet dancing on a pole. That is pretty weird and hilarious.
Were you as mischievous as Loki when you were a child?
I was quite mischievous, certainly with my sisters. However, I never tried to subjugate the Earth.
What was the most mischievous thing you did as a child?
Once, my cousin and I thought it would be fun to hide underneath our beds at bath time. We were four or five years old, and we were in the middle of a game, so we didn’t want to sit in the bath. We stayed there for hours, but we decided to come out when my aunt picked up the phone to call the police. I’m generally well behaved now, but that was 25 years ago. That’s the sort of thing you do when you’re five, right?
When we last saw Loki in Marvel’s The Avengers, The Hulk was beating him to a pulp in a scene that provided comic relief for the audience. Is it exciting for Loki to be more of a powerful figure in Thor: The Dark
I hope Loki wasn’t too much of a joke in The Avengers, although that particular moment was definitely funny. I remember when I first read that scene in the script; it was hilarious. It was an interesting moment to shoot because I did a lot of jumping around. I had wires attached to my legs and it was quite physical for me.
How tough was that scene to tackle?
I love Mark Ruffalo [who plays The Hulk], but he had his feet up in his trailer while I worked hard to make that scene work. And then we handed everything over to Industrial Light And Magic who put the sequence together. Loki comes out of it with a couple of scrapes and cuts – but he’s still alive. He’s still a god.
He’s still from this advanced race of beings in Asgard. He’s still a force.
Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World is out on DVD/Blu-ray now. Watch the trailer below...