Marvel’s new series Loki debuts on Disney+ tomorrow and it’s terrific. Who knew that one of the first Marvel Cinematic Universe villains would still be going strong 10 years later, and that the actor playing him would be as fun to watch as ever?
Leading up to the series, we had a chat with star Tom Hiddleston to talk about how he’s constantly finding new ways to play Loki without simply repeating the same performance from the previous movie. The actor also talks about what he learned about Loki through writer Michael Waldron and director Kate Herron, even after playing the character for 10 years, as well as the pleasure of working with Richard E. Grant. And does the first season of Loki have an…ending? Well, we have an answer to that.
This interview has been edited for clarity and content, including holding back a piece of spoilery material that will be held until the second episode premieres.
You’ve been playing Loki for a decade now. How do you keep finding unique ways to bring him to life without simply repeating what you’ve done with previous performances?
I suppose my good fortune is that Loki, as far as I’m aware, or as I have discovered in my research over the time, is so complex. The character contains so much range that every time I play him, he’s in new environments, which reveal new characteristics, and new facets, and new aspects of who he is. I’ve worked with some great directors who’ve always put him in different situations and new environments. Also, I think there’s a curiosity in the audience to see where we go, for us to be brave, and to try and take these characters into new places, so that we don’t just repeat what we did the last time.
I heard that you had some “Loki Lectures” with the cast and crew of the series to kind of catch them up on your take on Loki. But is there anything that writer Michael Waldron or director Kate Herron taught you about Loki that you hadn’t realized before?
So much. Yeah, so much. Kate had the most visionary pitch for this series. When we first met, she gave it to me herself. She was aware of a story, a run in the comics, which I had never read, which talks about… I kind of don’t want to spoil it, because it may show up in the series. But yes, there was something about, I suppose, Loki’s self-image, which was externalized and articulated in a run of comics, which had somehow not crossed my desk, and it crystallized things about Loki that I had always understood intuitively. But I’d never had eloquently spelled out in that way, and it reinformed everything I did after that, for sure.
Michael, I mean, Michael built this world, he built the TVA. Especially in those opening episodes, the confrontation that Michael built of Mobius and Loki, and creating Mobius as a character who wasn’t going to be drawn in by Loki’s customary manipulation or powers of persuasion. That Loki actually has to look into the mirror of his behavior, and see it for what it is, I found that really interesting. We seemed to keep endlessly meeting for breakfast one week, sort of synchronize watches. But both of their contributions are enormous, I couldn’t have done it without them.
Speaking of pulling back the curtain on Loki, it feels like there are moments in these first two episodes where he’s genuinely and joyfully enjoying the detective work he’s doing for the TVA. I’m wondering, is that part of the innocence and glee that Loki maybe never had, because he grew up constantly challenging Thor, trying to prove himself? Are we getting a glimpse of the real Loki there, or does that feel like maybe it’s also part of the facade?
I think he’s always been intellectually curious. Something we used to talk about, actually all the way back in the first Thor movie, is that maybe while as children, while Thor was out there kind of throwing things around, maybe it’s a hammer with his dad, Loki was in the library reading up on magic, or the magic that his mother Frigga was teaching him. So I think intellectual curiosity I’ve always thought was something that was a part of him. But what I love about his curiosity in the series is Loki is out of his depth, and everybody else has more information than he does. So, he’s motivated perhaps by a different purpose, maybe not so glorious, but nevertheless, the purpose is a desire to understand, a desire to know. I think that’s a really interesting engine for the story is it gives the story a propulsive momentum, because he’s quite good at it as well.
Can you talk about working with Richard E. Grant on this series? Is there a chance that we’ll see him perhaps as an older version of your Loki?
Well, I think, yes, it’s official that Richard is involved in the making of the series. I have admired Richard E. Grant pretty much since I was about 12 years old, when I first saw him in Withnail and I, which is this now classic British film about two actors who get lost, they try to leave London. Anyway, they get lost, a wonderful film if you haven’t seen it. I’ve got to know him a little bit over the last 10 years, and he is so experienced. He just is, I think, at a place in his life and career where all of his experience kind of comes to the fore. It was just an absolute pleasure to work with him. I can’t wait to see, or for audiences to see what he does in this.
One last thing, if there is a second season of Loki, where would you like to see him go next? Is there something from the comments that you’ve read that you haven’t been able to bring to life yet, any ideas?
Well, I know we have to get to the end of season one first. I don’t know, have you seen all of season one?
We’ve only seen the first two episodes.
Okay, so there may be some things coming around the corner, which I would love to talk to you about, but I can’t. Yeah, let’s just get to the end of season one first, I think.
So, it sounds like maybe season one might give us some idea of where a second season would go?
Season one has an ending.
That’s perfect. That’s going to be the headline, season one of Loki has an ending.
You heard it here first.
Loki premieres on Disney+ on June 9, 2021.
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