Tom Hiddleston Thor Interview
Tom Hiddleston Thor Interview
Having recently starred in the small scale British family centred drama Archipelago, Tom Hiddleston now turns his attentions to a complete different kind of sibling rivalry as he plays Norse god Loki, alongside his screen brother Chris Hemsworth in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor. Recently in London, he spoke to View’s Matthew Turner about his childhood inspiration from Top Trumps, how difficult it was to take a toilet break in his costume, and working with an old acting friend as his director.

When did you first become aware of Thor?

Tom Hiddleston

As a child, I had a deck of Marvel Top Trumps. You know, you can get Top Trumps with racing cars, or fighter planes, or football players ... I had all of the Marvel superheroes and super-villains you could get, and I used to play them with my friends. They were all listed according to their height and weight and agility and their super-powers and Thor and Loki were in there. So, that was my introduction.
I think warring, competing brothers are intrinsically, inherently, dramatically interesting...
How did Loki do in those?

Tom Hiddleston

He would always lose if it was about strength and weight. But if you picked agility and intelligence and, strangely, super-powers, he would have the edge.
How important was it to nail the relationship between Thor and Loki?

Tom Hiddleston

I think warring, competing brothers are intrinsically, inherently, dramatically interesting. It doesn’t matter if it’s Cain and Abel back in the Bible, or Edmond and Edgar in King Lear or any story where, essentially, you have two opposing forces who are competing for the same thing. In this case, it’s the love and affection and pride of their father.

What’s great about the two characters is that they’re both enormously gifted. Thor is powerful and noble and strong, physically athletic and the leader of the pack and Loki is fiercely intelligent, he’s a strategist and a master of magic. So the two of them together are a force to be reckoned with. But going up against each other is a whole other thing.

I should also add that, as an actor, it’s much, much easier to be really nasty to someone that you really like. You can’t really ask for that, you can’t buy that, and Ken [Branagh] must have seen something that made him think the two of us would get on, or something. But when we first met, I remember the three of us came over and Natalie Portman was also there and while Ken was talking to Natalie we were despatched by Ken to go and train together! Chris was lifting tree trunks and logs [to impress her]!
Coming from a theatrical background, are there any similarities between stage acting and green screen acting?

Tom Hiddleston

At the very end of the film the two of us are fighting on the Rainbow Bridge in Asgard, this shining city in the sky, it’s very difficult for location scouts to go and find those two things! So, the two of us were in a green screen warehouse and, quite often, because of the position of the camera, and I’m doing all kinds of crazy things which really should be under special skills on my CV – like self-duplicate and disappear, re-appear and fly through the air – there were some times where Ken needed the camera to be in a particular position, moving in a particular way, to give a huge dynamism and vitality to the shot.

But in actual fact it meant that a lot of the time I’m looking or speaking to Chris [Hemsworth] and he couldn’t actually be there because that would mean him hanging from the ceiling in the most uncompromising position known to man! So, you sort of have to light some kind of bonfire underneath your imagination. Instead of Chris, it might be his double, more often it’s a tennis ball, or even a coloured mark next to the lens on the camera.

But I think it’s all about imagination anyway. It doesn’t matter if you’re on stage, or on TV or on film, your imagination is working overtime and the great thing about having Ken do it is that he was always on hand with a microphone, quite often literally painting the picture on our behalf. So, in Yodenheim, the ice planet, we’d be walking along these brilliant sets of ice floes, surrounded by green screen, and Ken would be there saying: “To your left, there’s an ice tower crumbling into pieces, to your right there are shadows and the frost giants could be coming out of those at any time. You’re excited, you’re freezing cold, you’re terrified! Beyond you is a plaza ...”
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Content updated: 17/06/2019 03:20

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