As The Avengers ended, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) was taking his bad boy brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) back to Asgard to sit in a prison for what we suspect is the rest of his life. But, as you can see from the Thor: The Dark World trailer, the Norse god needs his brother to help defeat a foe in Malekith that threatens to destroy the entire universe.
Hiddleston recently sat down to talk about the Thor sequel, directed by Alan Taylor, and if there is any possibility the man who embodies evil could get a reprieve and earn redemption.
After working with Hemsworth for two movies, Hiddleston reported that he and his onscreen brother coming together in Thor: The Dark World makes perfect sense, given the two actors’ off-screen chemistry.
“From the beginning of Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, all the way through Joss Whedon’s The Avengers and into Alan’s Dark World, it has been an amazing adventure for both of us,” Hiddleston said.
“The two characters define each other, and need each other, and acting is about what happens in the space between people. The more you trust each other, the deeper you can go. And when I’m on set with Chris, whatever he serves I’ll return and he’ll return back. That is the joy of it for me.”
Hiddleston has sisters, but could he channel the sibling rivalry/love to help his portrayal of Loki? “It’s a slightly different dynamic,” Hiddleston said. Although… “[They have] long blonde hair, both of them!”
The actor reveals what is unique about playing brothers, and having sisters, that is almost universal. “The thing about siblings is they know you, better than anyone. And there’s that thing of always being bound together by your histories. There’s something very honest about that,” Hiddleston said.
“You can’t lie in front of your siblings. And I love in this film that Thor is able to demand from Loki that he play his hand. Loki’s someone who’s constantly in control, but he’ll never show you how he really feels. And the only person who gets close to it is Thor, and that seems very true of sibling relationships.”
Although Hiddleston as Loki, Hemsworth as Thor and Natalie Portman as Jane shared a world in the first Thor, Hiddleston reported that having Portman more in the mix in Thor: The Dark World has been a treat.
“In the first film, Loki’s aware of Jane Foster’s presence and refers to her. But, it was so fun to see what happens when the two share the same space,” Hiddleston said and then referred to the most recent Thor: The Dark World movie trailer. “Violence, as you see. Just, you know, that’s the first move!”
Time has shown that audiences love Loki. What does the actor who plays him see as the secret to that adoration for someone who is so good at being bad? “The popularity of the character has been such an amazing surprise. I had never expected it in my wildest dreams. I found him a fascinating prospect, because he’s a mixture of playfulness and charm. That’s his moniker! He’s the god of mischief,” Hiddleston said.
“But he’s such a broken character. He’s grief stricken and bitter and jealous and angry and lonely and proud. And so the cocktail of all of his psychological damage and playfulness, as an actor, is just a really interesting thing to inhabit.”
Sure, we all know that Loki can personify evil. But, Hiddleston sees him as more complicated than can be defined in black and white. “I think Loki is defined by Thor. He’s defined in opposition to him -- that they are yin and yang. I think every villain is a hero in his own mind. People make choices and they always justify those choices, no matter how misguided their motivation. The great privilege and thrill for me to play this character across three films is he didn’t start out that way,” Hiddleston said.
“The narrative that was afforded to me in the very first film is this idea of a young prince who was brought up believing in his right to a throne -- his Asgardian inheritance. This whole story was a lie. He was adopted and left to die on a frozen rock. That essentially is what breaks his heart. [That] means across, Thor, across Avengers, across The Dark World, I can play a dynamic with Chris and with Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo.”
To what extent is he redeemable? "It’s a very, very fun fault line to dance on,” Hiddleston added.
In closing, Hiddleston comes back to family. After all, he believes that is at the heart of everything when it comes to the Asgardian clan and their epic story.
“What is grounding about these films is the family relationships. We’re traveling through space and time, we’re dealing with gods and monsters. But the heart of the film, from my perspective, is a family -- a father, two sons, two brothers, a mother, and the fractious, intimate interaction that they have.”