Tom is featured in the July/August issue M2 Australia Magazine, with a brand new interview and photoshoot!
A Very Loki Affair – Our Chat With Tom Hiddleston
by Isaac Taylor
Let’s not pretend that the Avenger’s most persistent villain and antihero isn’t the best character in the Marvel universe. Tom Hiddleston has had the great fortune of being able to play a comedic relief, while being taken absolutely seriously. While his face has become synonymous with Loki, he isn’t being typecast anytime soon.
He debuted in the movies in 2007 with Unrelated, and became a household name just four years later in 2011 when he landed his role as Loki in the first Thor movie. While Disney has been paying his bills for the past decade, he’s also found time to star in other such films like Crimson Peak and Kong: Skull Island. In 2016, he starred and was an executive producer in The Night Manager, for which he scored his first Golden Globe for best actor in a Miniseries or Television Film.
Disney knows a good thing when they see it, and now Loki has his own show. We had a chat with Hiddleston about what it takes to maintain a character for so long, how to remain faithful to the role, and what we should expect from the series.
What was your reaction when you were approached about doing a “Loki” series?
It was so exciting. I remember after Infinity War was released having a conversation with everybody at Marvel Studios. And we just put our heads together and thought, right, I’ve done six movies as Loki. And those movies really are the Thor saga. They’re all about Loki’s connection to Thor, his connection with his family. Where do we go now? What have we not done? What’s new? What’s original?
And that was the most inspiring conversation. I remember leaving it thinking, this is going to be very, very new because the character has got so much breadth and so much depth. That’s been the gift to me as an actor. Loki is almost this endlessly fascinating box of tricks where the moment you think you know him, he reveals something else.
You’ve been playing Loki for years, but this is the first time he’s at the centre of the story. What do you want fans to learn about him?
I hope the fans feel that the things they love about Marvel and the things they love about Loki are all there. That we’ve created something bright, colorful and spectacular, which contains light and shade, depth and relief. We’ve created interesting characters and new worlds where people come up against physical and emotional challenges, which test them. And they’re forced to overcome and make the right choices.
For anyone out there who loves Loki, this is the guy you know: he’s still the god of mischief. But this takes him to another level. I hope the fans and the audience feel the same excitement, the same passion and the same sense of possibility that we all felt when we were making it. It’s been a really unique experience. In the creative mix, there has been so much passion and so much energy. I hope fans can feel that energy and feel excited and inspired about where we go next.
What will it take for Loki to feel like he’s no longer in Thor’s shadow?
Loki needs to evolve. The cycle was: Loki is trusted, he betrays, he becomes a villain, he learns to trust again, he’s betrayed, he becomes trusting again, he can be trusted again, then he betrays or feels betrayed. It’s just this endless cycle of trust and betrayal and resistance. And the character is essentially singing the same song over and over and over again.
He’s trapped on a wheel of repetition, a compulsion to repeat the same damage, the same story. And we are breaking that record. We’re releasing him from that trap.
In this story, we’re showing that he can change, that he can grow. And what if the experience of that, and the journey he goes on, actually changes something internal where he can potentially become someone else, or begin from a place of understanding that, if you know who you are, then who you choose to be is a different thing.
What does the TVA want with Loki, anyway?
If you have done something to alter the course of history, or alter the course of the future, according to the TVA, you get pulled into their headquarters and processed as a time criminal. You could literally have done anything.
The TVA is an organisation that orders and polices the passage of time. They have predetermined what happens in the past, the present, and the future, in a straight line. And if you do anything that deviates from that, or creates an alternate branch of reality, you get hauled into the TVA and charged with crimes against the timeline, and you’re in a time prison basically.
It will come as a surprise to no one that Loki is one of those time criminals. He has pushed the boat out. He’s broken too many of his restrictions.
What was it like to work with Owen Wilson?
Owen has a natural intelligence and a natural curiosity about the world, which is very unique to him. And he brings it all into his character, Mobius. Mobius can be light and bright, fun and curious, but he can also be intense.
I loved that Owen wanted to change his look as well – helping to create the world of the TVA and Mobius’s history within it. I think audiences have never seen Owen like this. What Owen has done in bringing Mobius to life is brilliant: he’s intelligent, compassionate, fun and original.
I’ve loved working with him. He’s such a broad man of such a range of tastes and talents. We connected really early on. And then together, I hope we’ve created something really interesting.
What new insights did Kate Herron add to your character?
Kate really defends these characters and has created a world where Loki and the other characters all feel things very intensely, and the stakes for them are very high.
The centre of her idea is that the show is about self-knowledge, and that Loki and his friends become more aware of themselves. And through that soulful journey, are able to change, and that actual change starts with acknowledging who you are, acknowledging your mistakes, acknowledging your past and making peace with that. And then you can actually move forward. And with a character like Loki, those themes are a bit extraordinary.
Tonally, how would you describe the “Loki” series?
We all really wanted the tone of the show to represent the best of Loki’s character. I think Loki’s character has this extraordinary range that Loki can be fun, light hearted and witty. He’s always got a good line: he’s the god of mischief, after all. So, we wanted the show to be imbued with mischief, a sense of fun and a sense of momentum. But we also know that Loki has this very sensitive, damaged, broken heart with an enormous capacity to feel – to feel emotion on the biggest scale. And to go to some quite profound places that explore some of the deepest experiences of being alive that are about loneliness and sadness and anger and grief and loss.
And so, we wanted the tone of the whole show to have all of it, to have that sense of fun, to have that sense of mischief. And to have that sense of emotional depth and emotional breadth that hopefully could be contained in this epic story, which starts from the things that people are familiar with.
After all these years, what makes Loki such a fun character to continue to explore?
I’ve found having played Loki for such a long time and having had the privilege of inhabiting him at the outset, I’ve always felt an affection for him and for his vulnerability.
But I’ve been aware, through the course of my experience in the Marvel Studios’ movies in the first ten years that Loki has a role to play, and that, as Loki, I had to play the villain. Then I had to play the antihero. And this time around is the first chance, perhaps for a while, that I’ve had to see if we can really break the mold and change him, and retain all the best aspects of him.
But, as I’ve said, try to get underneath all of his defences: the defence of his charisma, the defence of his keeping people at arm’s length. And I think that that is a really interesting kernel of an idea inside the story. Can Loki ever change? Is Loki capable of change? If he does change, will other people allow him to change? Can Loki get out of his own way? Can Loki make different choices? And if he does make those choices, where does he go next?
So, it’s been really exciting to find a way of striking the balance between respecting what’s come before and inventing something new.