I am ushered into a suite at The Dorchester and introduced by a PR girl to Tom Hiddleston, undisputed star of Thor: The Dark World, with a firm handshake. "Hi Tom, up next for you we have Bo, from US Media," says the PR. Uh-oh. This will almost certainly be problematic, as I am not Bo, I don't know what US Media is and Tom Hiddleston is staring at me like I've just broken into his hotel room. After the crossed wires are untangled (PR: "I said, 'Bo?'"; Me: "I thought you said 'Hello'!"), we get on with the business of talking about Loki and Tom's return to Asgard. Well, eventually we do.
Right, sorry about that. Let's get on with it.
Do you want some water? Sparkling?
Still, thank you. That's a brilliant first minute of my interview.
Oh, that's sparkling. Hang on, I'll pour you some still.
WE HAVEN'T GOT TIME, TOM.
Okay, go go go! [pause] I don't want to do your job, but… [Tom slides my Dictaphone over the coffee table to be closer to him] I interviewed Natalie [Portman] for Vogue magazine, and having done your job I now know that this thing, this machine is so important. You need a very clear document to write your thing up, so… fire away.
Agh, sorry. I'm all over the place. I just feel bad for Bo.
Poor Bo. Maybe he got lost in The Dorchester.
I'm sure he's fine. I saw Thor: The Dark World last night and really enjoyed it. This is going to sound very brown-nosey, but you're the best thing in it.
Ah, well …
You know you're the best thing in it, Tom!
Well you do now.
Thank you. I mean, I'll never know if you really mean that but it's very kind of you to say.
I wouldn't say it otherwise! I'd skirt the issue if I didn't really mean it.
Thank you very much, it really is very gratifying to hear you say that. We, I, all of us work so hard to make these films and it's because they come out looking so polished, quite often the blood, sweat and tears has trickled away into the gutter and you can't see it any more. So I'm really pleased that you loved it.
Well, you weren't the only good thing in it. I'm not giving you all the credit.
No, no! There's a lot of great stuff from a lot of great people.
It must have been a lot of fun to make? You can tell just by watching you on screen it must have been fun.
It's a fun character, because my job is to be mischievous, that's the job. Loki is the God of Mischief. You turn up, go through the works of hair and makeup and then it's just about playing. Genuinely cultivating playfulness. And because of the character, some of that playfulness is distorted. There's a menace dial and you can maximise or minimize to what degree he is broken and destructive, but essential he's the trickster, so to be that person is a really fun thing to do.
Loki seems a lot more childlike in this film. There's a bit where he's walking with Thor and there's a bit of bounce in his step, some childlike swagger. Is it fair to say the family dynamic feels a bit more pronounced this time around?
Certainly it was always there in Ken Branagh's film, that film opens with Thor and Loki very much as equals. They are very close, they are two princes of Asgard, Thor stands to inherit the throne of Asgard and Loki will stand at his right hand. And then halfway through the film Loki discovers he'd adopted and actually was the illegitimate son of the ruler of an enemy race, left to die on a frozen rock. That completely turns his world upside down.
I think the theme of family is what grounds the fantastical elements of the film. We're dealing with Gods and monsters, we're dealing with different realms of the universe. I think the dynamics of brother and brother and father and sons and their relationship with their mother is what makes it universal. Chris and I both relate to that, he has two brothers I have two sisters. Your relationship with your siblings is uniquely intimate; you know each other better than you know anyone in the world.
You must be sick of the sight of Chris Hemsworth by now. That guy.
[laughs] I would be if he wasn't such a decent fellow.
He's so bloody lovely, isn't he?
He is. It's infuriating how nice the man is. He can do the accent, and he looks like that, and he's a damned fine actor, too.
Do you think a woman could tame Loki? He seems to take to Jane [Foster, Natalie Portman's character] quite a bit.
Good question. Yeah, he quite likes her. He likes being punched by her, he quite likes the rough and tumble of it. I'd love to see it. There was a question I was asked a couple of weeks ago, does Loki need a girlfriend? In the comics and actually in the myths, there are a couple of instances where that happens. He eventually ends up with a wife called Sigyn. In the mythology, he's condemned to Hell to suffer underneath the jaw of a poisoned serpent who's dripping toxic fluid into his mouth, and his wife Sigyn is holding a bowl over his face. But occasionally, when she has to empty the bowl, of course it drops into his mouth. [Deep breath] So that might interesting…
Heavy! I thought you were going to say that was a metaphor for marriage.
[laughs] No, no, no. That's just a story. In the comics there's something interesting with the character called The Enchantress, who is herself quite a slippery customer. She looks like an absolute bombshell, blonde and hourglassy, but The Enchantress always has various things with Thor too. The point about The Enchantress and Loki is basically that they can't make it work because they're both so untrustworthy. It's like, this is never going to work because neither of them can tell each other the truth.
There's something in there for all of us.
To learn. Yes. There's a double meaning in there.
So deep. So many layers.
So many layers. Depth.
Speaking of depth… Did you miss wearing the giant silly hat?
The giant silly hat... I didn't miss it, to be honest.
Do you have that? Did you get to keep it?
I didn't get to keep it. I think it's in a mausoleum somewhere.
It'd be an awkward shape to keep in the house.
It is. Where am I going to put it? I can't exactly hang it on the hat-stand. It needs its own hat-stand.
I read your superhero piece in the Guardian a while ago, it was very good. You're obviously part of the Marvel movies, but does being part of them make it difficult to get excited about the new ones?
No. That's what's so amazing. I remember going to see Iron Man 3, and because I had nothing to do with it, I just enjoyed it on a really pure level. I suppose I felt amplified pride that I know a lot of the people who made it and I know exactly how hard they worked. I get excited about the ones that are outside Marvel too.
Is there anything in particular you're looking forward to on the Marvel slate?
I can't wait for Guardians [Of The Galaxy]. I think it's going to be amazing. Bonkers. I think the cast is fantastic, I hear that James Gunn has brought a lot of his own personality to it in the same way that Joss did with The Avengers and that can only be a good thing. I'm all in favour of a bit of bonkers. I actually think that audiences love it in a way. Pure escapism.
Are you sad you're going to miss out on Avengers 2?
I'll miss the dance parties. I'll be sad about that.
There will be other dance parties, Tom.
There will be. I wish everybody well, that film has in many respects changed my life and I loved making it and I'm really proud of it and it's really good that I'm not doing it. It would be so hard to top some of the moments in that. I think the Avengers need a new bad guy to fight, and I think everyone wants to see them up against someone else. I think James Spader is amazing and I'm very pleased to see him back in the ring. And I'll be off making a Guillermo del Toro film [Crimson Peak], so I'm very happy.
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