Tom Hiddleston “Loki” Interview For Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’
Marvel Studios presents ‘Marvel’s The Avengers’ – the Superhero team-up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Superheroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When Loki and his army threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins. Directed by Joss Whedon, ‘The Avengers’ (‘Avengers Assemble’ in the UK) stars Chris Evans (Captain America/Steve Rogers), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye/Clint Barton), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man/Tony Stark), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), and Tom Hiddleston (Loki). Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, and Stellen Skarsgard co-star. ‘The Avengers’ is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series of the same name. Look out for the film in cinemas April 26th in the UK and May 4th in the US.
Do you remember when you were first told that Loki would be expanded in ‘The Avengers’?
Tom Hiddleston: Yeah. It was towards the end of the production of ‘Thor.’ I remember Joss Whedon was coming into Marvel Studios a lot because he was writing ‘The Avengers’ screenplay, and he asked me to go out for tea. We were sitting in a coffee shop in Santa Monica and he said, “So, here’s the thing, Tom. There’s a lot of talk about multiple villains in the film and I don’t want any of that. I want Loki to be the bad guy.” After I picked my jaw off the floor (laughs), I did back flips in the tea room and then we just talked for hours about who Loki was and what his motivations were and the kind of spiritual damage that was at the heart of the character as well as the delight he takes in being a mischievous trickster and an agent of chaos.
There’s a big evolution with Loki from ‘Thor’ to ‘The Avengers’?
Tom Hiddleston: Loki in ‘Thor,’ he was the lost Prince of Asgard. He was the damaged second son, damaged younger brother. In a way ‘Thor’ was the journey of his self-possession, his self-discovery about being who he was. Him not being Odin’s son, therefore he’s Thor’s adopted brother. ‘Thor’ was about him becoming the God of mischief. At the beginning of ‘The Avengers,’ he’s already the God of mischief, he already knows who he is, he knows what he wants. Loki doesn’t need his family anymore, he doesn’t need Odin anymore – or Thor. He’s more like the God of menace in ‘The Avengers.’ Rather than being a lost Asgardien Prince, he’s more like an Asgardien pirate. Loki feels inferior and rejected by his brother, so I think the relationship between the two of them is palpable and strong.
Loki has developed some deeply troubling motivations?
Tom Hiddleston: Yeah. His motivation is really a deluded one. But you’d only know that standing outside it. Loki doesn’t think he’s deluded. His motivation is to gain absolute power, and through that self-respect. He’s come to Earth to rule the human race as their King. The Avengers are those disposed to stop him from doing that. He’s given way to his darker instincts. In ‘Thor’ there was a glimmer of redemption in him that you might be able to pull him back from the brink, maybe if Odin or Thor had said the right thing he would have acquiesced and made peace with them. In this he’s all-out anarchic, truly an agent of chaos. He’s desperate for his identify, because he was always told that he was born to rule, and given that he’ll never have Asgard and Jotunheim, he wants to refashion Earth into his own kingdom. It’s a deeply tragic and misguided intention (laughs), yet nevertheless a lot of fun to play!
How did you find the physicality of the role, the stunt training?
Tom Hiddleston: I love shooting action because my brain switches off, it’s almost like dance. Once you’ve got the moves down, all you have to do is feel these moves with the emotion of the scene, or the emotion of throwing that punch or catching it. It almost becomes a very Zen experience. But I trained probably….I was probably the fittest I’ve ever been making ’The Avengers’ (laughs). I had to be! Just to conjure the stamina to finish the shoot, to get through every single day. Also to inhabit Loki’s volatility and intensity.
It must have been difficult as well, working against all the different skill-sets of Loki’s adversaries?
Tom Hiddleston: Yeah, every Avenger has a different skill-set. Obviously there’s his brother, Thor, his enemy of old. Thor is stronger and more powerful physically. Then with Tony Stark and Iron Man, the challenge is a battle of wits and a battle of strategy, of tactic. With Hulk you have his breathtaking anger management issues to contend with (laughs). Two master assassins in Hawkeye and Black Widow….but having said all that, Loki is a God, as he keeps restating through the course of the film. Only someone with super human qualities can really stand up to him.
In ‘The Avengers’ Loki goes toe-to-toe with Tony Stark, Nick Fury, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. And it’s been absolutely amazing working with these actors. They’re some of the greatest actors and icons in their own right. It’s like being in the best kind of superhero rock band you could possibly hope for (laughs). It was such a privilege working with all these people, it really felt like we were apart of a team.
I can imagine all that physical training helping with the character mentally as well?
Tom Hiddleston: Oh yeah. The stunt training was my way of evolving Loki from who he was in ‘Thor’ and creating a new sense of danger in that he is physically stronger and more dangerous. I did all kinds of martial arts training, I did Wushu, boxing, lots of stick and staff work, knife work, hand-to-hand combat. There were also a lot of daily repetition drills that condition your body and muscle memory. That’s how you learn to jump off a building, fly through the air, barely miss Chris Hemsworth’s head and get slammed to the ground on your back, pick yourself up and repeat the same motion 12 times over the course of a day in a costume of leather and metal that weighs forty pounds (laughs). As a cinephile and movie lover, I get such a kick when you see an actor flying across the screen and you know that it’s the real actor who’s done the stunt. I hate when they just cut around a stunt double and you just see the back of the actor’s head. I don’t want to see the back of my head, so I am always ready to get in there and mix it up with the stunt team.
How did you find working with Joss Whedon? I think he’s done an amazing job in balancing and grounding these characters, while still having all the sci-fi and action elements.
Tom Hiddleston: How he’s managed to not just assemble the different flavours of each character, but also to adapt to the needs and methodology of every actor, every team member, it’s just extraordinary. It’s an extraordinary feat of leadership and of creativity and inspiration. He’s fantastic. It was such a privilege to be apart of something like this. And having him at the helm, he was just tremendous.
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