Before he was burdened with glorious purpose as Loki of Asgard in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tom Hiddleston was a stage and small-screen actor who made a "big leap" to the big screen when he was cast opposite fellow "no-name" Chris Hemsworth in 2011's Thor. Only the fourth film from Marvel Studios — the Kevin Feige-led independent studio behind Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man 2 — the blockbuster from director Kenneth Branagh pairs Hiddleston and Hemsworth as the sons of Asgardian king Odin (Anthony Hopkins), who meet in battle when an unworthy Thor (Hemsworth) is banished to Earth and his adopted brother Loki (Hiddleston) plots to assume the throne.
"Four months of auditioning, I think, in 2009. A big leap for me from making very small films in the UK and working in the theater, and suddenly in the next Marvel Studios picture," Hiddleston told GQ. "It was a moment of adjustment and I felt like I won the lottery. The whole thing had a very special atmosphere."
"I had worked with Kenneth Branagh before — we had acted in a television series on the BBC called Wallander, and we had also acted together on stage in London in a Chekhov play called Ivanov," Hiddleston added of his fellow newcomer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "This was my first time being directed by him, but we had a kind of understanding as actors and I felt very grateful to him that he was able to somehow support my casting to the studio."
Just his third feature film after roles in filmmaker Joanna Hogg's Unrelated and Archipelago, Hiddleston won his role as Loki after auditioning to play the mighty Thor.
"It was a kind of amazing, and extraordinary, and unprecedented process of working on a project of this scale," Hiddleston said. "Working with a stunt department and working with visual effects on blue screen and green screen, on sets the size of which I had never seen. But I was a fan of these movies too, and it was such a joy for the first time to be inside the process. But rather like any process of making the film, in the end, it comes down to the atmosphere you create together as actors and trying to tell a story which is interesting, and complex [with] sort of recognizable emotion, and hopefully, it's funny, and it's moving, and it's touching, and it connects with people."
For all its hammer-swinging action sequences and battles with Frost Giants and an Asgardian automaton, Thor is about the family between the two sons of Odin and Frigga (Rene Russo).
"I could see from the first script, that the story was really two stories, almost," Hiddleston recalled. "One was on this epic, spectacular canvas — Asgard, a shining city in the sky with a rainbow bridge and a kind of intergalactic energy that transported characters to new worlds, and this was a world of gods and monsters, a world from myth and legend. We knew the film had to deliver on that scale, but inside it was a very small drama about the family, about the father and two sons."
"Ken Branagh sitting us down and saying, 'Actually, this is what the film is, it's about this family. A father, two sons, their mother, and there are all sorts of fractures,'" added Hiddleston. "If that happens to be the royal family at the top of the universe, those are very, very high stakes, but ultimately, they'll still have the same very relatable, very accessible family dynamics as any family on the planet. So that became a very interesting psychological thing to explore about a triangle of Odin and his two sons, Thor and Loki."0comments
After reprising his role in The Avengers and Thor's 2013 sequel The Dark World, Hiddleston returned for Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. Hiddleston now stars in the original series Loki on Disney+, where new episodes premiere on Wednesdays.
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