Hiddleston loves to makes mischief, bring complexity to Loki in new 'Thor'
Esteemed actor back as playful villain in 'The Dark World'
True, it's the God of Thunder's name in the title of the new Marvel superhero adventure "Thor: The Dark World," but there's no question the film series -- including the first "Thor" and "The Avengers" -- would be far from complete without Thor's brother, Loki, as so brilliantly realized by actor Tom Hiddleston.
In the three films he's played Loki, Hiddleston has no doubt redefined the meaning of movie villainy, mostly because you can't peg him as a villain you outright hate, or one that you love to hate.
In fact, in a recent interview with the diverse British actor, I remarked how Loki is a rare villain that you can't help but love the whole time and enjoy watching because of the jovial air of complexity he brings to the role.
"I feel so thrilled and pleased to hear you say that, because he is a villain, but he's also one with redeeming qualities," Hiddleston said. "I always hoped to build a character like that -- a character who was complex and sympathetic, even in the most distorted, twisted way. I wanted him to be somebody whose motivations you could understand."
And then there's the comic villainy, which is essential because having fun is literally part of Loki's description, the actor said.
"It's been great to enhance and define his playfulness," Hiddleston explained. "He's the God of Mischief and if you look up 'mischief' in the dictionary, it's an inclination to playfulness. Being an entertainer is his raison d'etre (reason for existence). He's there to provoke, tease and create chaos. He's fun to watch."
Opening in theaters Friday in 2D, 3D and on IMAX screens, "Thor: The Dark World" takes place after the events of "The Avengers." Returned to Asgard by Thor (Chris Hemsworth) after his attempt to rule mankind on Earth, Loki is sentenced to serve out the rest of his life in prison by his estranged father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins).
But when a tragedy befalls the brothers, and a threat by their adversaries the Dark Elves and their leader, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), threatens to destroy Asgard, Thor has no choice but to enlist the aid of Loki and free him from the force field that imprisons him. It's all part of an elaborate plan that even Odin doesn't know about, a plan that's constantly in jeopardy because Thor knows in his heart that he'll never be able to fully trust his scheming sibling.
Loki has had an interesting arc rarely afforded to a character in any set of films, much less one in the Marvel movie universe. In the first "Thor," he played a reluctant bad guy insanely jealous of his brother's birthright to ascend to the throne; while "The Avengers" found him an out-and-out villain who wanted to rule his own kingdom by dominating the citizens of Earth.
But in "Thor: The Dark World," Loki finds himself in a unique position. Loki now holds sway over the brother he was once jealous of because Thor needs him now to save the future of kingdom he's to inherit.
"It's a new twist and a new dynamic," Hiddleston said. "So to get the chance to come back and put all of my ingredients into one cocktail for Loki -- his vulnerability, his broken heart which has been damaged more, his charm, his elegance and playfulness -- and mix that all up, has been fantastic. Then I get to stand side-by-side with Chris Hemsworth and play out that fractured relationship. It yielded so much drama and so much comedy. I really hope it's a new iteration of both characters that will please the audience."
Hiddleston said working on "Thor: The Dark World" was especially fun because of the wonderful working relationship he's developed with Hemsworth.
"There's so much trust between me and Chris now. We've known each other for five years and we've ridden this wild ride known as the Marvel universe together," Hiddleston said.
While Hiddleston has taken his love for playing Loki to the maximum on-screen, he's even gone so far as to dress up as the character for conventions and poses for dynamic pictures with fans off-screen. On top of that, he's contributed time to visiting economically developing countries in an effort to bring happiness to children in downtrodden regions.
Hiddleston says his extra efforts all come from his heart. It's his way of giving back after being blessed with so many extraordinary opportunities.
"We all live on the same planet, you know? It's that simple," Hiddleston said. "The reason I'm an actor is because I always wanted to make a connection. I think perhaps it's because there were moments when I was a young adult and I felt quite lonely, and art, theater and film connected me to people. It opened me up. It gave me something. I always want to give back and include people in what I do. I get enormous pleasure out of connecting with people."
Since the first "Thor," Hiddleston has also had the unique pleasure of connection with people through the wonderful world of toys as a Loki action figure, something that makes him giddy with pleasure.
Whether it be the smaller Loki figures produced by Hasbro or the 12-inch, collector's edition of the God of Mischief by Hot Toys that he's even posed for pictures with (the figure is so realistic it's scary), the boy who grew up loving science fiction movies is still very much alive in the 32-year-old actor.
"I still can't get used to it, honestly," Hiddleston said, enthusiastically. "If I could only go back in time and show my younger self that one day he'd have an action figure -- it still blows my mind."
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