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.
Is the Tesseract still a factor? [LAUGHS]
Does Loki then regret any of his actions in the first two films?
Uh, there is a whole scene dedicated to whether or not that happens. [LAUGHS]
What was your relationship with Malekith? In the comics they’re both bad but they kinda don’t get along ‘cause they have different reasons and stuff. What’s the relationship with Loki being the bad guy and Malekith coming along?
Well without saying too much there’s a degree of mutual recognition shall we say.
For the two of them?
It takes one to know one.
Does Loki have anyone who shares his worldview, who thinks he should be the king?
He’s way out there on a limb. For a good reason. I think everybody else is right if I’m standing at it objectively. I mean there was some bad parenting, let’s face it.
But I think he’s like it was not the right decision to throw a kind of apocalyptic sized tantrum that was The Avengers.
You’re on your third director playing this character. How much more ownership are you taking in Loki in this film versus the last two now that it is your third time playing him. And do you find that people are going to you more for how you feel more about scenes?
Yeah, that’s what’s been really exciting is Marvel, everyone at Marvel – Kevin Feige, Craig Kyle and Alan Taylor as a director and Chris Yost, the writer – I remember talking about the story for this film with the producers while we were running around doing press for Avengers, and sort of saying where do we go next, you know. People were responding positively to that film. And there’s something which I feel very fortunate to have been given which is confidence by them because I’ve lived through him, you know. Other people can have their opinion objectively about where Loki should go, but I’ve lived through every moment. And sometimes, I might be – I’m the only person who knows how it feels and I always have ideas. Some of them are, you know, I’m sure are terrible.
But some of them are good and they’re in the film. And that’s really exciting. It’s when you feel like I know every inch of Loki and I’m the only person who’s played him. So other people have written him, other people have shot him, other people have framed him, but I know his inside. And that’s really exciting, I have had a bit of input into it. It’s really great.
How has being part of such a big franchise changed you or has it?
Has it? It hasn’t, you know. I mean it was strange for a second when the film came out ‘cause it was so much bigger than I’d anticipated, but no, you know. The bit I love is I really love acting and the circus of it, the circus of being for want of a better word [PAUSE] a celebrity – something I’m sort of not interested in. I find it kind of strange.
It’s so hard to answer that question because business is so complicated and there are so many layers. I try not to think about it because I just think then you start barking up the wrong tree, you know. It doesn’t make you just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be good at something else and you just try and chase opportunities that you fall in love with or that inspire you. And keep doing the work. It’s a really good question ‘cause it’s something that does crop up. Some people treat me differently and other people don’t. But it’s all so inconsistent that it shouldn’t be. It can’t be a factor and what I’ve learned from is I’ve been really lucky, you know, at 31 years young to have worked with people who are much more established, like Kenneth Branagh and Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench and Rachel Weisz, and what distinguishes them from me is that they simply don’t listen to any of it. Like it’s white noise. Whether you’re hot, whether you’re not, whether people love it or whether they hated it. They still approach the work with such integrity and passion for the specific project in mind. But it was a bit weird for a second though. I’m just used to being completely invisible in London like any other Londoner. And suddenly I wasn’t for about three weeks at a stretch.
Thor gets a blue cape in this one and a lot of the characters have changed their costumes over time. But you have always stayed consistent with this. Are we gonna be able to see Loki kind of in a different costume or a different light?
Yeah, yeah. There absolutely is… there’s a moment there where I’m definitely in a different costume.
And the hair?
Yeah. It’s, well, you know, it’s certainly longer. Some time has passed I don’t think he’s been sent to the finest barbers in Asgard.
Yeah, there’s a little bit of difference. It’s interesting when you get to a place of like you want to evolve with the look of something, but you also don’t wanna stray too far because then it’s almost like you’re inventing another character.
The costume kind of helps you kind of key right into…
Absolutely, because the strange thing is it was, by the time we started shooting it was actually exactly a year since I’d been inside sort of the skin of Loki, and naturally when you finish something every actor’s suit is like you just sort of put it away. And you put it away forever ‘cause normally you never have to come back. So I’ve lived a whole 12 months of life. I’ve done a whole lot of other things. And I’m a different human being so in a way coming back to the same costume and the same hair and the same look, it’s like “aha. I recognize this guy.” It’s like me re-meeting an old friend and you pick up where you left off.
Thanks a lot!
The official Disney-Marvel description of Loki for Thor: The Dark World:
Loki Laufeyson is the adopted brother of Thor, raised alongside him from birth by Odin. Upon learning his true lineage, Loki sought to conquer both Asgard and Earth but was stopped by Thor and the Avengers. Still arrogant and unrepentant, Loki sits in the dungeons of Asgard, with only his mother Frigga seeing any hope for him. But when an ancient enemy seeks the destruction of Asgard, Loki finds his loyalties tested.
Alan Taylor directs Thor 2 off of Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s screenplay. The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins.
Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 31, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.
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