Un­lock­ing a vil­lain’s psy­che

Tom Hid­dle­ston has el­e­vated machi­avel­lian men­ace Loki to the sta­tus of a fan favourite

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODMOVIES -

TOM HID­DLE­STON plays Loki, Thor’s schem­ing, Machi­avel­lian brother, for the third time in Mar­vel’s Thor: The Dark World, out on Fri­day, fol­low­ing last year’s The Avengers.

“The amaz­ing thing about Loki is that this is my third meet­ing with him, and we’ve had a year be­tween each film, so essen­tially my un­der­stand­ing of the char­ac­ter deep­ens ev­ery time,” says Hid­dle­ston.

“I feel like the Thor se­quel and my third en­gage­ment with play­ing him was a chance as an ac­tor to find new depth, new di­men­sion, new it­er­a­tions of his psy­chol­ogy, of his phys­i­cal­ity and his ca­pac­ity for feel­ing.”

Hid­dle­ston has el­e­vated Loki to the sta­tus of a fan favourite, de­spite the fact that Loki is un­de­ni­ably a vil­lain. In Thor: The Dark World, fans will be treated to another per­spec­tive of Loki’s psy­che. Hid­dle­ston ex­plains: “Loki is, on one level, this off-the-rails psy­cho­pathic agent of chaos who ex­ists in the mythol­ogy as a kind of wreck­ing ball.

“But on a hu­man level, his psy­chol­ogy and his emo­tional land­scape is very, very in­ter­est­ing be­cause he’s so in­tel­li­gent and yet so bro­ken. This film is a chance to find where his ca­pac­ity for hero­ism and his Machi­avel­lian men­ace meet.”

Hid­dle­ston is quick to point out, how­ever, that there are as­pects of Loki that have to stay true to his de­vel­op­ment in the pre­vi­ous films. “Loki is still the same char­ac­ter, so he’s still pos­sessed of a rak­ish charm and provoca­tive wit,” says the ac­tor. “He still loves pro­vok­ing peo­ple and find­ing and ex­ploit­ing weak­ness.

“He’s still self­ish and vain and ar­ro­gant and proud, but he’s also el­e­gant and amus­ing. He’s so full of charisma, and that’s why I love play­ing him; he’s not an all-out bad guy. He’s some­one who knows his true na­ture and is hav­ing a re­ally good time; there is an el­e­ment of de­light and joy at be­ing bad.”

Al­though Thor: The Dark World takes place in a fan­tas­ti­cal realm, it is grounded in a re­al­ity that makes it re­lat­able to au­di­ences on many lev­els.

Hid­dle­ston ex­plains: “The re­ally ex­cit­ing thing about the world of Thor is that you have, at the cen­tre of it, a fig­ure in a huge red cape that bil­lows in the wind and a ham­mer and chain­mail and he looks like a Tay­lor with bring­ing the world of As­gard to life. “Alan is fan­tas­tic, and within sec­onds he re­vealed his ex­pe­ri­ence and also his open­ness in cre­at­ing a re­ally be­liev­able world,” says Hid­dle­ston.

“I thought it was re­ally in­ter­est­ing that he wanted to ex­pand our sense of the world; he wanted to deepen and shade it. He wanted to give it a grit­tier feel in the sense that this is the race that the Vik­ings wor­shipped and there was a very clear link that felt some­how an­cient and Norse and rugged and salty.”

The prac­ti­cal sets that were used to in­voke the sense of re­al­ity were a boon for Hid­dle­ston, who says: “It makes the scene in­cred­i­bly dy­namic and you get ideas that are re­ally ex­cit­ing. Ac­tors, at their best, are re­spond­ing to real things, that real phys­i­cal ma­te­rial, and it just gives you a sense of space.”

Hid­dle­ston was par­tic­u­larly ex­cited by shoot­ing on lo­ca­tion in Ice­land. “We shot ex­te­ri­ors in Ice­land, which of all the places on this planet I think is the most mag­i­cal. It’s got an oth­er­worldly qual­ity to it. It’s so near the Arc­tic, so close to the un­in­hab­it­able re­gions of this world. In Ice­land you get such scale. You get pur­ple skies. We were shoot­ing on a vol­canic lava field, and you get epic footage that you can’t get any­where else.”

Hid­dle­ston finds the fans’ re­sponse to the Thor se­ries “amaz­ing”, adding: “Peo­ple are so free with their pas­sion for the emo­tional land­scape of what we’ve cre­ated – huge char­ac­ters with re­ally hu­man weak­nesses; char­ac­ters who are striv­ing for unity and har­mony and love and peace, but there are so many things in the way.

“In Loki’s terms, it’s all of the dark­est as­pects of hu­man na­ture – lone­li­ness and jeal­ousy and rage and de­spair – and th­ese are very hu­man feel­ings. I love how the fans have re­ally em­braced that and they fol­low it and be­lieve in it and re­flect it. It’s given us the con­fi­dence to go deeper with it.”

When the film opens in cine­mas, Hid­dle­ston is ex­cited to see all the scenes come to­gether to form the whole nar­ra­tive, but there is some­thing else the Bri­tish ac­tor is look­ing for­ward to.

“The thing that’s re­ally unique about Thor: The Dark World is con­tem­po­rary Lon­don,” he says. “In the first film the ac­tion cut be­tween As­gard and Earth, and Earth was a town in New Mex­ico. In this film it’s As­gard and Lon­don, and it’s a very con­tem­po­rary Lon­don that I, as a na­tive res­i­dent of Lon­don, recog­nise and am ex­cited by. No one’s go­ing to have seen Lon­don in the way they see it in this film, so that’s very cool.” – Sup­plied

Thor: The Dark World PIC­TURE: AP

CLOWN: Ac­tor Tom Hid­dle­ston has fun with fans dur­ing a promotional event for his lat­est movie

in Seoul, South Korea.

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