Charming English actor Tom Hiddleston has played the character Loki, the god of Mischief, with such gusto in six films that his character has become one of the most beloved in the Marvel Universe.
Witness the reaction of fawning fans at big events like Comic-Con. Now, Hiddleston, who had a brief but paparazzi-fueled relationship with Taylor Swift, has earned top billing in the new TV (Disney+) self-titled series, called Loki, focused on his character Loki. Hiddleston is excited for fans, describing his superhero as “Loki is the Loki you know but in a world you don’t know.”
But Hiddleston, 40, who attended Eton, Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, is focused on this TV series. He talks about Boarding School, being on Broadway, doing Karaoke with Eddie Redmayne, Ghostbusters and Toronto.
I’m honoured to still be playing him for a quarter of my life. Now, one great thing is being surrounded by amazing new people who maybe haven’t played in the Marvel Universe before. Like Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Richard E. Grant, and Owen Wilson, and they all bring such playfulness and charisma to the new series. In a nutshell, Loki is the Loki you know but in a world you don’t know.
I originally auditioned for the Thor character. They were looking for less well-established actors, and wanted people to see these new actors. [laughs] The remit was if you’re over six foot and have blond hair, you’d have a shot. I never actually auditioned for Loki, which is nuts.
I came to New York for the first time in 1998, with my dad and sisters, and we did everything—Statue of Liberty, Central Park, visited all the museums. In Times Square, my dad said, “This is Broadway.” I thought, “Wow, that’ll be my goal one day!” And I did it in 2019 performing in Pinter’s Betrayal.
In a way, I have a Comic Con life, doing Loki in the world of Marvel, and then I have a theatrical life on stage. But the two are indivisible. They feed each other.
My life in my twenties was the theatre. Being a movie star seemed so remote—what other people did. As a kid, theatre is easier to do, all you need is an empty space and the words. So maybe I didn’t allow myself to dream as big as that, with cameras in a much bigger universe.
A lot of British actors were in LA and we went to Koreatown to do some Karaoke, and the best singer I’ve done Karaoke with is without doubt Eddie Redmayne. He was incredible in Les Miserables. Then I saw him do “A Whole New World,” and everybody’s jaw dropped.
[Laughs] I once signed a Michael Fassbender photo a fan gave me—he’s a very handsome man. Fans get me confused with Benedict Cumberbatch but the comparisons between me and Benedict don’t upset me, he’s a very dear friend, and an amazing actor.
I can literally see everyone in the house. During one performance of Chekov’s play, Ivanov, which I did in 2008, when I came onstage and looked out into the house and I saw a sea of faces and then focused in on Michael Caine. And there he was focused on me. Momentarily, I froze, yes, the great Michael Caine is in the house watching.
I’ve always been fascinated by sound and language. And how people present themselves At the age of eight or nine, I pretended I was a radio DJ, taping my own voice. And I would do all the different voices for say a news show—weather, sports, news, all of it.
I love shooting in Toronto and will always represent for the city. We shot Crimson Peak there, a Gothic romance ghost story. Do I believe in ghosts? You know, if there were no ghosts there’d have been no Ghostbusters and I love that franchise.
I’ve always been like a parrot and able to imitate people and do impressions. But the American accent is quite challenging, and then you have different regions. The first thing is you have to listen. But you still have to find your own voice within that accent.
I make a clear distinction between my private life and my work, I’m totally dedicated to, and I really believe in the relationship between an actor and the audience. You can’t call yourself an actor without an audience. And my private life is private.
Falling in love is the same as it’s always been. It’s as chaotic, beautiful, shocking and surprising as it’s always been. And, you can’t really legislate for who you fall in love with. The heart is uncontrollable. It just happens. When you fall in love, you can’t really explain why, you just do.
Some people create a check list to tick off. That’s more like constructing a relationship that works, in which you run in parallel with each other. But is that love? I think real love is about vulnerability, acceptance and truth, and when you can accept someone for who they are, then that’s what real love is…
Of course, we don’t really know but my gut feeling is that we just get this one shot. That’s the one I’m conscious of. The lights go out and you go out. That can be comforting, if it makes you try to live life to its fullest.
I went to Boarding School, which was a mix of The Great Escape and Harry Potter without the magic. But the friends I made there are still some of my best pals today. One great game was a dorm raid—after lights were out, that meant getting your pillows, making it like a big soft club by grabbing one end, and then start a huge pillow fight. With feathers everywhere.
It’s unique to the theatre but what I love about plays is that there’s this consequential momentum you get performing the whole story. When I first started making films, I found it difficult because you make a discovery in a filmed scene but then they go “Cut!” when you’re trying to do a sequential, integrated thing for your character. For example, the first Thor movie, some of those sequences at the end between me and Chris Hemsworth were done eight weeks apart, but in the movie they’re right next to each other.
I was sat next to her at dinner at the Met Gala in New York. We were enjoying the artist, The Weeknd, playing. And she said, “The thing about these dinners is that nobody’s dancing. For a performer, that’s heartbreaking that no one’s dancing. We have to help them out and dance for the encore.” I agreed, sure, okay. And that’s the story. She was very charming and amazing.
Check out a sample of Tom Hiddelston’s impressions. Author/blogger Ashley Jude Collie’s new sci-fi, dystopian novel, REJEX, is available on Amazon (US) and Amazon (UK), and Amazon worldwide. Part of this interview was previously published in Hello! Canada.
Ashley is an award-winning journalist/author/blogger who has written for Playboy, Toronto Star, Movie Entertainment, Sports Illustrated, Maclean's and others. He's interviewed various "leaders" in their fields, including: Oscar winners (Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lawrence, Alicia Vikander, Jane Fonda, Mira Sorvino, Geena Davis, Anthony Hopkins); Grammy winners (Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Ice Cube, Pete Townshend); MVPs in sports (Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky, Kobe Bryant); and, business leaders (Amazon's Jeff Bezos). He has an upcoming novel, REJEX, coming out on Pulp Hero Press. And he has written several episodic TV shows, appeared on CNN, and blogged for Mademan, Medium, GritDaily and HuffPost.