The Seventh Circle of Hell: An Interview with Tom Hiddleston [Updated]

Tom Hiddleston reveals what happened to Loki between Thor and The Avengers... and begs for jeans and a t-shirt.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

 

For all the characters, story and action sequences in Joss Whedon's The Avengers, there's one thing the movie left out: what happened to Loki between the end of Thor and the beginning of the new movie. That's okay, we've got Loki himself, Tom Hiddleston, to explain it for us. He also wonders why he never gets to wear jeans and a t-shirt, reveals Loki's motivation for suddenly wanting to conquer the Earth (also left out of the film), and explains his own childhood history with the Marvel Universe after admitting in an earlier press conference that he never read the comics as a kid. He also accidentally dropped a major spoiler, but in the interest of not ruining The Avengers (which it really would), we originally redacted it. But now that the movie's been out for a little while, it's back in all its glory.

 

CraveOnline: I realized [only] half an hour before the screening last night, because I’m an adult now and I have responsibilities, that I’ve been waiting 25 years to see this movie.

Tom Hiddleston: Ha ha! Bless you! Amazing. It’s actually happening.

 

You mentioned that you didn’t grow up with the comics, though. This was actually sort of new to you.

They only thing I had, there was a game that you have in England called Top Trumps, and basically… I think it’s patented by a toy company. It’s a really simple game, and you play it with a category of something. So it could be racing cars, it could be motorbikes, it could be fighter planes, and everything is listed according to their vital statistics. Their speed, their acceleration, whatever. And I had the Marvel Superhero Top Trumps. So every character had a card, I suppose like a trading card, and all their vital statistics were at the bottom.

 

We had cards like that over here too…

So it’s like height, weight, superpowers, agility, speed…

 

“Energy” was always really confusing.

Right, right. What does that mean…?!

 

Is that how much they can get done in a day…?

[Laughs] That’s hilarious, yeah. “Efficiency: Can they do their washing and build a spider’s web at the same time?” So that was my connection, so I should have probably said that in the press conference, but it’s not the same as it is… I know that in America Marvel is something that everybody grows up with. And I do think it’s true back [there] now, because of the movies. I’ve got a godson, he’s four years old, and he just loves Captain America. So it’s getting bigger.

 

Every movie I see, I just saw The Deep Blue Sea, and you were marvelous in that…

Thank you very much.

 

I interviewed Terence Davies and he said that you were the only person who brought up the shark movie.

[Laughs] Well, it’s because, at the end of the shoot for this [The Avengers], I was with Sam Jackson. We had a sort of dinner in New York. And I sat next to him, and he said, “What are you doing next?” I said, “I’m going to Toronto, because there’s a world premiere of this thing I did called The Deep Blue Sea.” And he went [Samuel L. Jackson impersonation], “Deep Blue Sea?! I was in the f*cking Deep Blue Sea.” So I told Terence this just before we went on stage for our Q&A and he loved it.

 

You seem to end up in all these period films, or films in which you get to look “fabulous.”

[Laughs] Bless you! I don’t know how that happens.

 

I’ve never seen you jeans and a t-shirt.

I’m desperate for it. I’m telling everyone. I’m putting out the feelers for jeans and a t-shirt. And comedy. I want to make people laugh. I want to slip on a banana skin and walk into a lamppost.

 

There was a gap between Thor and The Avengers, and we see at the beginning of The Avengers that some… “stuff” has happened.

Yes.

 

And we still haven’t really gotten into it in detail. We get a hint at the end of the film. Did Joss [Whedon] fill you in on that? Was that vital to your character?

Yeah, we talked about it a lot. We talked about this idea that Loki disappears through that wormhole of space and time, when the Bifrost is destroyed, and he kind of goes through the Seventh Circle of Hell. And he’s on his own. He’s on his own in the dark corners of the universe, and the journey he goes on is pretty horrible. It’s like getting lost in the rainforest or something. You’re going to come out the other side a bit mangled on the outside, and on the inside. And he’s made this deal with Thanos and the Chitauri… Don’t reveal that.

 

I’ll cut it out. Everyone knows about the Chitauri now though.

Because people would, “Ugh, why did you tell me? You ruined it!”

 

I report on news all the time, and people send me spoilers, but why would I tell anyone? I could get hits off of it, but why would I ruin the movie? That’s not helping anyone.

Yeah, yeah, exactly. So I think he makes a deal… and he’s being played too, by them. But I just think it’s interesting, actually, because we’re more interested in what that does to him as a character, because it gives us a justification for his increased menace. […] He’s much darker, and more scarred.

 

He’s very feral sometimes. What interests me is that he’s directed all that rage – which was present in Thor – but he’s directed all that rage at Earth as a whole.

Yeah.

 

I’m curious where that came from, the idea that humanity as being awful.

The idea is… He’s someone who was brought up with the expectation of a particular entitlement. In Thor, Odin says to Thor and Loki as children, “Only one of you may ascend to the throne, but you were both born to be kings.” So Loki has been brought up with this expectation that he is born to rule. He’s a prince who deserves, as his birthright, a kingdom. He doesn’t have a kingdom in Asgard, he doesn’t have a kingdom in Jotunheim, and he’s come down to Earth to refashion the Earth as his own kingdom. Part of his motivation is, in that speech in Stuttgart, “It’s the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation.” And then he says to Thor, “The humans slaughter each other in droves while you idly fret. I need to rule them, brother.” I get the sense that he’s sort of like all the terrible autocratic fascists of human history. He’s laboring under the delusion that he’ll create some kind of world peace by uniting them in reverence of one king. And it’s an identity search. He’s desperate. He needs to belong. He’s so lacking in self esteem, that just like someone like Hitler, he needs to fill the void with adulation.

 

You’re going to be in Thor 2.

Yeah.

 

Have you seen the script for Thor 2?

No, I haven’t. I promise you this.

 

Do you feel like there is a redemption for Loki at some point in the future? Or are the great villains, regardless of how human they are, incapable of change?

Well, I think it’s the most fascinating part of him, particular, as a specific character. It’s what distinguishes him from someone like The Joker, or any of the other characters really, is that he’s walking this tightrope between virtue and vice, between all-out evil and the possibility of redemption. There is a part of him… I always think, if you hate someone, then underneath it you still love them. Because you have to love them enough to care to hate them. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.

 

And they’re both united by passion.

I think it would be fun to play with it. If the audience is interested in that, then I certainly am. It seems that that’s why he’s the God of Mischief, because you can never quite pin him down. You don’t know which direction he’s going to swivel into next. Can he forgive himself? Can he be forgiven?