Tom Hiddleston says Loki, devious half-brother of Asgardian Avenger Thor (Chris Hemsworth), was always more mischievous than “truly evil” — something the trickster proved in the earliest minutes of Avengers: Infinity War.
“What I’ve loved about it, and it has felt like a gift, is because he is such a fascinating antagonist,” Hiddleston told panel attendees during a visit to ACE Comic Con Seattle.
“Anyone will tell you, any actor who’s played a villain or an antagonist, will tell you they are fascinating because the challenge is to present the exterior and the interior,” Hiddleston said.
“And so the exterior, because you’re the villain, it means there’s something in you that is motivated by things we all feel but try to hide and suppress, like jealousy, or pain, or isolation, or loneliness. These things can convert themselves into egomania or narcissism, all of which is a part of him.”
The actor, who has embodied Loki since 2011’s Thor, said the trick with Loki is to humanize him with vulnerability and allow complex aspects of the character to come through.
“If the exterior is that either he’s trying to pit the Avengers against each other or he’s trying to work some kind of scheme, if you can allow the audience to see the vulnerability behind all of that,” Hiddleston said, you can achieve “this internal, external relationship.”
“I had to remind myself every day he’s the god of mischief and it’s my personal obligation to have a great time,” he added. “And so there’s something of him, I recognize a part — a very childlike part — of myself in that, in trying to have as much fun as possible, because he is.”
Hiddleston called his time with the character “fascinating,” saying his chaotic nature had the potential even for good.
“I also don’t think he’s truly evil. He never was, even in the Norse mythology, in the pantheon,” Hiddleston explained.
“Loki’s a very important, fascinating character, the trickster. He’s somebody that the gods needed at particular times. Lots of people are familiar with the Norse stories, but he’s someone who — he represents chaos in opposition to order, and sometimes what you need is a bit of chaos, and Asgard wouldn’t be the same without him.”