The British actor turns blood-sucking immortal lover alongside Tilda Swinton in the Cannes festival film 'Only Lovers Left Alive.''
CANNES, France — Tom Hiddleston's Loki (from Avengers and Thor) might be the baddest dude at this year's MTV Movie Awards, taking top villain honors.
But he's stepping up his game. Hiddleston is flashing some serious teeth onscreen at the Cannes Film Festival.
The British actor plays Adam, to Tilda Swinton's Eve, vampire lovers who are trying to make it work after centuries together in Only Lovers Left Alive. For Hiddleston the role was a welcome step away from the norm.
"I had been playing a lot of soldiers and superheroes," Hiddelston said at a press conference Saturday before the film's gala premiere. "It was such an exciting extension of curiosity into an avenue I have never really explored."
Vampire love stories have been explored before onscreen, more recently in the Twilight series with Edward Cullen (Robert Pattison) turning his human lover Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) into a fellow immortal.
But the name Twilight was not even mentioned alongside this last-minute addition to the Cannes competition, which was quickly snapped up by Sony Classic for U.S. release. Writer-director Jim Jarmusch insisted he has "never seen any of these current commercial vampire films."
The vampires depicted here are highly sophisticated creatures who love the arts and science (and would no doubt never be caught dead in a Twilight film). They refer to humans as "zombies" because of the foolish mistakes they make.
"Perhaps if you saw them walking on the other side of the street, they would stand out," said Hiddleston. "But they would stand out as wild and feral in a beautiful way."
The vampires do have to cover their mouths when they speak. "Because they have some pretty intense teeth," Hiddleston added.
The filmmakers were able to create their own set of vampire lore as well, including the premise that vampires cover their hands at all times in public with gloves. When invited into another vampire's home, these gloves are removed by the host as a custom.
Jarmusch mentioned that these bits of lore change in every vampire movie, from garlic-aversion to the inability to see themselves in mirrors (Note: he didn't mention sparkling skin).
"We wanted to have one that was our own," he said of the vampire lore. "So we had the gloves."
But mostly they wanted to create an unusual love story with a couple who have really seen some relational mileage.
"We knew we needed to a show a long love that was so evolved what they actually say to each other is just the tip of an iceberg for a conversation which has been going for 500 years," said Swinton.
"It's a very beautiful story between two people who love each other and accept each other. And they happen to be vampires," said Hiddleston. "It's the idea of a story of love in the context of immortality. Is it a blessing or a curse, and what does it do to your commitment?"