Tom Hiddleston may play the Norse god of mischief in “Thor,” but he’s committed to staying stone-cold serious when it comes to another major turn in a superhero film.
And this is the part where we say “Spoiler Alert – Sorta.” So if you haven’t seen “Thor” yet, beware…All good? We won’t insist on a ticket stub.
Hiddleston’s captivating turn as Thor’s pot-stirring brother Loki has already earmarked him with the same kind of career heat as leading man Chris Hemsworth, and he’ll definitely be joining Hemsworth as he heads into next summer’s “The Avengers,” Marvel Studio’s big screen gathering of it’s A-list heroes – and just like in the first 1963 issue of the comic book, it will be Loki’s troublemaking that requires the superstars to band together.
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“I think a red dot will form on my forehead if I give any more information about Loki and ‘The Avengers,’” laughs Hiddleston, looking discreetly for Marvel-hired snipers taking a laser-targeted bead on him. “All I can tell you is that Loki will be in ‘The Avengers,’ and it’ll take more than Chris to stop me this time.”
But while he’s mum on plot details, he can’t resist a little tease. “The sort of the thing that looks like a challenge is actually the reason it’ll work,” he reveals, “as in how can one movie contain so many different flavors and colors and characters? And I think Joss Whedon has probably made that his strength. And the conflict between each of them will be something that will be expanded on.”
Hiddleston says he sees Loki as someone who thinks of himself as the genuine protagonist of his dust-ups with Marvel’s finest. “I think there are no villains in this world – there are just misunderstood heroes, and Loki definitely thinks he is the hero,” he says. “Essentially, if you boil this film down to its barest elements, it’s about a father and two sons. Both those sons are two brothers competing for the love and affection and pride of their father, Odin. And I think there’s just sort of a deeply misguided intention within Loki. He has a kind of a damage within him, and he just goes about getting that pride in the wrong way.”
In fact, Hiddelston might have actually been the one tossing the Thunder God’s hammer around: he was a serious contender for the role. “I didn’t actually want to be Thor,” he insists. “I was born with very blonde, curly hair – not unlike Gene Wilder in ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ – and I’m 6’2”, so like every other English-speaking actor over 6 foot who’s got blonde hair, I went up for the part of Thor. But I’m not built like a house. And there’s no way in Odin’s Asgard I could have delivered what Chris has done. It was always meant to be this way.”
The actor says his interpretation of Loki is pure Stan Lee/Jack Kirby style. “I just took the character that I saw in the comics,” he admits. “Loki is a master of magic, and, in the Marvel universe, he is the agent of chaos. And really, his superpower is his intelligence, if you like, and he’s a shape shifter – and it’s his ability to stay ten steps ahead of everybody else. So absolutely, we all talked about having those layers in a way that he’s someone with a fierce intelligence, but also a very damaged heart.”
The costume, he suggests, does half the acting for him. “If you got up in the morning and you wear a pair of shorts and a T-shirt and some flip-flops, it’s kind of a signal that you might be going to the beach. And if you get up in the morning and you wear a breastplate and a backplate and a cape and a pair of golden Satanic horns on your head, it’s quite clear that you’re doing something else.”
But despite the ease in which he assimilated Loki, another mischief master – Sir Anthony Hopkins – tried shaking Hiddleston’s confidence with some on-set hazing. “He said, ‘Can I tell you something, Tom?’ And I went ‘Absolutely – say it up straight. Tell me anything.’ And he said ‘You’re doing this very strange thing with your wrists.’ ‘Oh my god, what am I doing?’ And he said, “It looks a little bit camp. Maybe you can butch it up a bit.’”