Last October Screen Rant had the opportunity to visit and explore the set of Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World and while journeying through Asgard we encountered the most popular of Marvel movie villains to date in Tom Hiddleston’s God of Mischief, Loki.
After betraying Asgard and then attempting to take over Earth, Loki returns to his adopted family as a prisoner, but doesn’t stick to the dungeon for very long.
On the first day of our two-day Thor 2 adventure we walked through several outdoor sets, the largest of which was surrounded in green screens where an epic and spoilerly battle was taking place with many of the sequel’s core cast. During a break, Tom Hiddleston joined us in a tent to – guardedly and humorously – attempt to answer our questions.
So do we see the consequence of your actions after you come back from Asgard?
Hiddleston: 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’s, uh, you know, [STAMMERS] it depicts [LAUGHS] the 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, uh, empathy certainly. But it’s exciting. I mean it’s 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. Um, 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 of the chemistry that he created just by being back there is unpredictable and fantastic.
Is there a darker tone in this movie – does is seem to be darker all the way through?
I think so. I think that the – that’s our privilege with being allowed to make it is that we’ve established – certainly with Thor and Loki – 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 in even more kind of complexity and dimension. What’s really 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. And honest 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 was 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’s sort of emotionally and psychologically and spiritually - I hope, you know, we sit in the middle of it – embraces a more complex and dark experience. Alongside lots 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 and Thor and also the Warriors Three and Sif. And, um, [SNIFFS] you know, he’s a psychopath. [LAUGHS]
And the fascinating thing about playing a psychopath, like when it’s a real life, a 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 2-3,000 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? And I think that – and as an actor that’s really exciting thing to delve into. When you’re that dark and you’re so full of destruction and hate and sabotage. Part of that is self-hate and self-sabotage as motivation – it’s an interesting question to ask why.
Do you then like Loki?
I do, yeah. You have to. You can’t sit in judgment. In my own mind, I’ve unpacked his suitcase of pain. And so, I can easily stand up and defend him even though many of his actions are indefensible, but I know why, I think. What’s interesting is those answers are locked in some kind of cabinet right at the bottom of him and he’s in there and nobody has the key. Do you know what I’m saying? So yeah, I do like him. I was also enormously charming.
He’s sort of someone who’s really nasty, but really elegant with it. You know, he’s someone who looks good doing really bad things.
It sounds cool or something, do you know what I mean? And what I love about playing him is that there’s a delight, and now because of the way the character was developed by Joss Whedon in Avengers who kept encouraging me to enjoy myself. Enjoy myself as an actor and enjoy that Loki’s having a good time destroying Manhattan. He’s having a good time teasing everybody and playing everyone else off each other like a chess master. And now I really feel like I’m the god of mischief. And playing that mischievous element in all its unpredictability is really, really fun.
In the comics Thor and Loki have a changing back and forth dynamic. Sometimes they’re best friends. Sometimes they hate each other. In this film are they closer to being friends at some point or is there like a unifying thing that brings them together so they’re – do you know what I mean?
Yeah, absolutely. I’m just wondering it’s whether I can answer that question.
It’s consistently ambivalent in a way that’s true to the comics and really fun for myself and Chris Hemsworth to play because what’s really exciting is that in Avengers Thor still really cared about Loki. And part of the reason he was there was almost to protect him. He was just like to try and find the good in him and take him home.
And we’ve been very careful not to repeat that moment. Thor’s attitude has to change. Therefore Loki’s attitude has to change. And their relationship to each other – their need for each other – their antipathy, opposition to and from is constantly changing. That’s what makes it fun to play - These archetypal forces of dark and light. And actually those like I said those – the lightness and the darkness is flickering between the two.