Given that the pair have now played their characters over the course of three movies, one of the first things we wanted to know was just how much ownership do they feel they now have over the characters, and how much influence do they have over their development?
Chris Hemsworth: Certainly, I felt on this one, a welcoming of our opinions Not to say there wasn’t the first or second times we did it, but we were all searching for it in those films, all of us. This was like, ‘what do you guys think would happen here?’… It was a real collaboration.
Tom Hiddleston: The producer of the Thor films, who we haven’t talked about enough, is a man called Craig Kyle, and he’s part of Marvel’s very close circle of guys who make these films. He was really gracious in inviting us to the table in early stage, early draft of the script, asking, ‘what do you guys think?’
They’re just very gracious in acknowledging that we know what we’ve done because we’ve actually lived inside the characters for three films – or two before we started this one – and so the thing I found, I could highlight was, ‘that actually might be a bit of a repetition. What if we put that twist on it? It would be a new iteration of a familiar theme’. Finding ways of keeping emotional and narrative continuity and giving it a new spin.
Anthony Hopkins theories on the appeal of the villain
TH: I once had a chat with Anthony Hopkins about villains in cinema. Sir Anthony Hopkins, one of the great, iconic screen villains of all time in Hannibal Lector. He said, ‘I’ve been working over 50 years, played lots of parts, I’ve played heroes and villains, I’ve danced and I’ve sung, and I’ve played warriors and princes and kings, and people stop me in the street and they ask me one thing. They say, ‘I want to talk about Hannibal Lector’’
And I thought that was fascinating. He has a theory, and I don’t know how true it is of Loki, but I was interested in his theory, which is that we all like our lives to be full of joy and love and friendship. We want to be happy in our real lives, but if something happens when the lights go down, and everyone’s in a cinema, we’re just compelled by darkness. And I thought that was a really interesting theory, some sort of collective exploration of darker.
The differences between working on a Marvel film and working on other movies
TH: The tone is always different, that’s the thing, but an actor’s job is to be truthful, and you have to be truthful according to the circumstances you find yourself in. So in my case, in The Deep Blue Sea, I was playing an alcoholic, ex-bomber pilot from the Second World War in the 1950s and in Thor I played the Norse god of mischief, but there’s also a truthfulness to being a brother, and being isolated, and being bitter and jealous and angry. As I’m sure Chris will tell you from playing James Hunt, your job is human truth, and then allying yourself to the tone is the more interesting question.
CH: I think you apply the same tools to each of them. You try to find a way to ground it and make it truthful; it’s almost more difficult in a film like this, I find, because there are so many distractions, and so many things pulling you away from that, so you’ve just got to break it down and go, ‘what do I want out of this scene? What is this moment about?’ and keep it simple.
Letting go of the characters after filming
CH: It’s a pretty exhausting thing. Physically it’s draining, and as Tom said, it’s in a heightened reality and you’re trying to pull it back to Earth a lot of the time. At the end of the four or five months, I’ve had a great time, but I’m ready for something else. Ready to get up and not have to put the costume on and go crashing through the walls.
The experience of seeing the completed movie for the first time
TH: When you’re making it, there are so many pieces that are missing; flying spaceships, gods and monsters, Asgard itself. And to see it all together with the beautiful Visual Effects, and I think they really are beautiful, and the sound and it’s all come together into the spectacle it is very fulfilling.
CH: On a film this size, where there are so many other elements, and so much work is done in your absence that it’s really exciting to see it come together and go ‘wow, look at what they’ve created in amongst and around us’. I was blown away. I saw it with a couple of friends and my wife, and they were all laughing at the right times and cheering at the right times. It was fun.
Thor: The Dark World hits UK cinemas today.