Interview: Tom Hiddleston Talks the Love/Hate of Loki and ‘Thor’

Tom Hiddleston As Loki In Thor
Marvel Studios
By  · Published on August 12th, 2010

After the roundtables for Thor I not only left feeling more excited for the film and convinced that it wouldn’t be a Flash Gordon camp-fest, but I also couldn’t have been more impressed by Tom Hiddleston. If you don’t know Hiddleston, he’ll be playing the horn helmeted villain Loki. From what Hiddleston said, Loki wont be another mustache-twirler. He had a clear vision for who Loki is and for what he wanted to do with him.

Hiddleston also seemed to be one of the few of the cast members that talked candidly (and very intelligently) about the film. Most actors during these type of events are tight lipped and wont give up any plot oriented details.

Hiddelston was the opposite.

In fact, if you want to stay in the dark on Thor, I recommend not reading what he had to say.

Would you say the dynamic between Thor and Loki is a love, hate type of relationship?

Entirely. I think Loki grows up with an older brother who he loves and respects. They play, they banter and they bash each other about, but there is a latent jealousy. Craig Kyle ‐ one of our producers ‐ always used to talk about the analogy of the quarterback and the artist. Thor is the quarterback. He’s a chip off the old block and he’s just like his dad. Loki’s problem is, maybe not his problem, but [that] he’s more drawn to the powers of intellect, magic, and the dark arts.

He’s not going to be out in the fields throwing a hammer around. That’s just not where his passion lies. There’s a disconnect with Odin and there’s a disconnect with Thor. He loves them very much, but he’s not just made of the same stalk. In the course of the film there’s a big reveal both for Loki and the audience about the truth of Loki’s true lineage and who his real parents are. I think that begets any jealousy that was within him towards Thor develops into a dark, cancerous rage that then becomes a destructive rage.

Did that help you find a truth with Loki rather than just paying the straight, typical and easy bad guy?

He’s certainly not an anarchist who wants to burn the house down. I think he has an inner conviction. He loves a practical joke, he loves mischief and he loves playing around. He loves starting a bonfire in the next room and hearing people scream, but nobody would be killed. After he finds out his whole life has been a lie and that he doesn’t belong anywhere there’s a very truthful psychological root that you could see is motivated by pain.

He’s motivated by an anger and by being left out in the cold. He doesn’t seem to have anyone that loves him or truly appreciates him. Essentially, he’s competing with Thor for the love and acceptance from Odin as a son. Maybe [it’s] a huge sci-fi, fantastical epic set in the norse heaven of Asgard, but when you boil it down it’s a story about a dad and two boys. Those two boys are warring for that father’s love and that’s where the villainy, aggression and rage comes from.

Could you talk a bit about the tone of your performance and how the costume itself affects it? It is a very extravagant look.

The tone of my performance… I suppose the tone of my performance is up to Kenneth [Branagh] right now (laughs). He hasn’t finished cutting it up, but I gave him lots of options and I gave him a lot of relish with that mischief is glee and that [there’s] a real twinkle in his eye that he takes in being a badass, as you guys are fond of saying.

There’s a vulnerability there to show that this guy is hurting deeply inside. It’s funny, with the performance in the costume I found myself quite often on my own sometimes on set. Quite often in the scenes Loki is off with an energy on his own. There’s a lot of banter going on with the warriors three, Sif, and actually, Loki is not a part of that.

Oddly, during the shooting of it I’d find myself in my own little world cooking up a particular flavor, but a particular type of flavor.

Does he have the horns?

Absolutely he has the horned helmet, yeah.

Thor hits theaters May 6th, 2011.

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Longtime FSR contributor Jack Giroux likes movies. He thinks they're swell.