We chatted with the God of mischief and pulled apart the many inspirations that were stuffed into that massive horny hat of his, which we WILL be seeing in another movie. Plus what are Loki's plans for The Avengers?
In our exclusive interview with Thor actor Tom Hiddleston, we tried to get behind the madness of one of Marvel's most demented villains.
Did you draw inspiration from any comic book writers' interpretations of Loki?
I tell you I loved, there's a Robert Rodi comic, it's actually a Loki comic all on its own. It's not even a Thor comic, the comic is called Loki. [Rodi] imagines that sometime in the future Loki has acquired all the power that he's ever wanted, and Loki is on the throne and Thor is somewhere in the depths of an Asgarian prison. And Loki has gone into cahoots with Hela, the goddess of death. And it was almost like looking into some kind of psychological crystal ball. You see why Loki needs Thor in order to be him. He defines himself as a character against Thor. I think that's what was so interesting about it. It was an exploration of [the fact that] when you get what you always wanted, in a way, you lose your reason for living.
Were there any particular artist renderings of Loki that made their way onto your dressing room wall for inspiration?
There were a couple actually, there was one in the J. Michael Straczynski comic where Loki is brought back from Ragnarok in the body of a woman. Hela casts a spell on him and he returns to his masculine form, and the first image that J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel have drawn there is absolutely amazing. He just looks completely demonic. And there's another image in the Robert Rodi comic of Loki sitting in a really weird and twisted angle on Odin's throne, which I tried to recreate in the film. It's when the Warriors Three and Sif come to talk to Odin and they find Loki sitting on the throne. That's lifted straight out of the Robert Rodi comic.
You appear to be constantly "on" while on camera, even in the slower moments it still looks like Loki's mind is secretly manipulating everything around him. Was that a conscious effort, or did people have to yell at you from off set to be always plotting?
No, no it was definitely something I worked on right from the beginning. As soon as I got the part, Kenneth Branagh said to me, "Everytime I point the camera at your face, I want to see your brain working at the speed of sound, you're thinking 10 steps ahead of everyone else." I think there's an amazing sort of watchful quality to Loki. He's on the edge of every situation trying to work out how to turn it to his advantage. It was definitely something I was conscious of.
We're all very excited that you're attached to The Avengers, where do we find Loki in this next film?
I haven't actually started yet, I think I will go in join them in a few days time. I think come The Avengers Loki's got bigger plans, he intends to leave Odin and Asgard to themselves, he's got universal plans, shall we say.
In the comics Loki sometimes does to the right thing, is there redemption in the future for Loki?
That's a really good question. I'd have to Kevin Feige I think. I think Loki is just one of those interesting psychology that I'm sure if he had a lot of therapy you'd get to the bottom of why he's so bad. It's interesting Norse mythology and in the comic book mythology Loki brings about Ragnarok — which is not just the end of the world, or the end of the universe, but the end of time and space. I don't know what happens after that, if somehow Loki looks in the mirror and says, "You'd better pull your socks up" because you just brought about the end of the universe. The character just gets richer and richer, and I'm so privileged to play someone as complicated as Loki.
Why do you think Loki gets an emotional release out of destruction?
I don't think it's particularly destruction he's satisfied by. It all comes out of the sense of being wronged and being lied to. I think revenge is a very primal emotion, and I think we learn about revenge very early in our development. Someone does something bad to you and you want to do something bad back. There's no straight jacket on his revenge muscle. I think it's a very well worked muscle in his spiritual body. I think he just feels enormously wronged by the world, and he wants to enact those wrongs on those people.
Will we ever see that amazing helmet again?
It was absolutely, unspeakably awesome. It was so hot, I used to call it the steel balaclava. Because I was wearing such a heavy costume the heat coming out of my body, which would normally dissipate through the top of my head, was contained by the horny helmet. And quite often my brain would turn to scrambled eggs, but that only fed the madness of my character. And yes, you will absolutely see it again. So bring it on for Halloween I say.
Is it heavy?
Yeah it's really heavy. Sometimes I would just spontaneous fall over on set. But it's OK I now have really well developed neck muscles.