Gathering steam for his surprise Sexiest Man Alive win next year, Tom Hiddleston recently took home Hottest Actor in TotalFilm’s Hotlist Awards. And even though I personally would’ve asked him to record a video of his “ehehe” laugh so I could edit it into a hundred wonderful .gifs, it also makes sense that TF asked him about his beloved character Loki. After all, if it weren’t for Thor and The Avengers he wouldn’t be this rising mainstream hottie. (This post brought to you by Loki .gifs, all from Tumblr user iluvmothermonster.)
Unfortunately, Tom was pretty coy when talk turned to the upcoming sequel Thor: The Dark World. Compared to past interviews where he’s hinted at a more Viking feel or even clearly said that he wants Loki to hit rock bottom, his answer here is frustrating since there’s nothing meaty to really hang on to:
“I don’t want to give too much away. But I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. Alan Taylor‘s vision of Thor 2 is utterly brilliant. The journey continues in the most epic dimension and proportion imaginable. It’s very, very exciting.”
This Alan Taylor he mentions, directed half of Game of Thrones season 2, so already I’m envisioning a darker film than Thor. I think you can partially credit The Avengers with that. I haven’t seen Thor (I know! so bad) so I can’t speak to the state of the Hiddlestoner fandom back then, but it says a lot that in The Avengers Tom’s character was just as compelling as the film’s heroes. If not more so, really. Of course TotalFilm asks what he thinks makes Loki have such an impression on audiences. Tom is at first modest, but you know that he must be aware of just how much fans relate to his character online. It’s not like he has to even spend any time on Tumblr, because the fans are incredibly vocal and come to him:
“I have received a lot of incredibly passionate and articulate letters from fans, explaining how they’re drawn to Loki’s psychological and emotional complexity; that he’s a villain you can almost root for; a villain you can love to hate, or hate to love. Underneath the steely cold veneer of his trickster charm is a certain vulnerability and sensitivity—the wounded fragility of an outcast brother and son.”
But this is my absolute favorite thing he says about the freedom he feels in portraying the trickster villain:
“The best thing about being Loki is that he is my diametric opposite. Physically, he is a photo negative of who I am. Loki is dark and pale, and I am light and fair. Also spiritually I am not much like him either. Yet I feel an incredible freedom in playing him.
“He is a combination of mercurial intellectual ability, emotional ambiguity, rakish charm, charisma and provocative wit. He has a wicked inclination to mischief, underneath which is a well of spiritual pain. Both these aspects are central to his depth as a character: his unashamed and perverse delight in creating chaos; and his capacity for raw emotional expression.
“And—as my American friends tell me—he’s kind of a badass! He’s one of the richest, most rewarding, most fun characters I’ve ever played.”
When I first saw clips from Thor, I remember assuming that Loki was meant to be this sniveling, freaky, Gollum-type antagonist. Even while actually watching The Avengers, I saw the fury — Whedon is great at writing that — and hunger for power. But only after getting to learn more about Tom was I able to revisit his portrayal of Loki and really appreciate all of those facets. He talks about opposites, but there are also multiple sides to the same coin: He’s sometimes downright disgusting, and sometimes charming and sexy as hell. I’m glad it’s a rich character for him to play, because we all appreciate a dead-sexy villain.