Loki – Norse god of mischief, lies and evil – is a sympathetic yet clear villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, arranging for people to die and war to erupt just to ruin his brother’s coronation, later robbing people of free will as he attempted planet-wide genocide. But we still love seeing him in action and a large part of the credit goes to Tom Hiddleston, a superb actor and all-around sweet guy. This Friday, Joss Whedon: The Biography will be released and it includes an e-mail exchange between Hiddleston and the director/screenwriter of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. The actor was so overjoyed at Loki’s role in the script for Marvel’s The Avengers that he was compelled to write a thank you letter.
The letters can be read after the break.
I am so excited I can hardly speak.
The first time I read it I grabbed at it like Charlie Bucket snatching for a golden ticket somewhere behind the chocolate in the wrapper of a Wonka Bar. I didn’t know where to start. Like a classic actor I jumped in looking for LOKI on every page, jumping back and forth, reading words in no particular order, utterances imprinting themselves like flash-cuts of newspaper headlines in my mind: “real menace”; “field of obeisance”; “discontented, nothing is enough”; “his smile is nothing but a glimpse of his skull” “Puny god”
Thank you for writing me my Hans Gruber. But a Hans Gruber with super-magic powers. As played by James Mason … It’s high operatic villainy alongside detached throwaway tongue-in-cheek; plus the “real menace” and his closely guarded suitcase of pain. It’s grand and epic and majestic and poetic and lyrical and wicked and rich and badass and might possibly be the most gloriously fun part I’ve ever stared down the barrel of playing. It is just so juicy.
I love how throughout you continue to put Loki on some kind of pedestal of regal magnificence and then consistently tear him down. He gets battered, punched, blasted, side-swiped, roared at, sent tumbling on his back, and every time he gets back up smiling, wickedly, never for a second losing his eloquence, style, wit, self-aggrandisement or grandeur, and you never send him up or deny him his real intelligence…. That he loves to make an entrance; that he has a taste for the grand gesture, the big speech, the spectacle. I might be biased, but I do feel as though you have written me the coolest part.
But really I’m just sending you a transatlantic shout-out and fist-bump, things that traditionally British actors probably don’t do. It’s epic.
Sweet, right? And here is Mr. Whedon’s reply:
Tom, this is one of those emails you keep forever. Thanks so much. It’s more articulate (and possibly longer) than the script. I couldn’t be more pleased at your reaction, but I’ll also tell you I’m still working on it … Thank you again. I’m so glad you’re pleased. Absurd fun to ensue.
Best, (including uncharacteristic fist bump), joss.
“Absurd fun” is an apt description of The Avengers. It’s good to see evidence that the folks behind the scenes had as much fun as the audience did watching the movie.