Tom Hiddleston was launched to international fame when he was chosen by Kenneth Branagh, no less, to star as the evil Loki in the Marvel movie Thor in 2011. Since then, he's worked with Woody Allen on Midnight in Paris, and Steven Spielberg on War Horse as well as reappearing as Loki in 2012's The Avengers. He returns for the second instalment of the Thor saga in Thor: The Dark World and we caught up with him for a chat about Shakespeare, helping old ladies across the road and working with Kermit The Frog...
As you play such a well-known villain in Thor: The Dark World, do you now feel the need to over-compensate, to prove to people that you're a genuinely nice guy? Do you help old people across the street?
I probably should shouldn't I! The good thing about Loki is that I look absolutely nothing like him, so people don't tend to swear at me in the street, or throw things at me, saying 'you nasty man'. But he's been an amazing character...when I started acting, what people often do is they cast you according to who you are...so the idea that I would one day play the Norse God of mischief, who is the big baddie in a superhero film, is far and above, beyond, any expectations I ever had. And I should start helping old ladies across the street! That's a good piece of advice.
You mention that some people get typecast - do you now feel that you need to show off a fun side? You did the Owen Wilson impression and the Michael Jackson singing...
I guess I found myself in more situations where people ask me to do things, so I was in Sydney and they asked me to do the Owen Wilson thing, and then I was in Korea - and Korea's pop culture is alive and well - I mean, this is the land of Gangnam Style. They asked me a question and they said "what body part are you most confident in?" and I thought of many wrong answers to that question, and I said "my feet actually" because I love running - I'm slightly geeky about it, I'm a big runner and if I didn't have my feet I couldn't run - and also, if I didn't have my feet, I couldn't dance. And they say "so now we have to see you dance!" and so I was like "oh God, I walked right into that one!" But, you know, it's nice to be in situations where people are up for a bit of a laugh.
On that note, have you got any other impressions that you can do?
Well who would you like to see?
Well, considering you have a cameo coming up (in forthcoming movie Muppets Most Wanted), how about Kermit the Frog? Can you do a good Kermit?
Was Kermit demanding to work with?
No, he's a sweetheart. Very generous, y'know, life and soul of the party, not a diva at all - doesn't take many takes. Bless him. I was a bit starstruck when I worked with him actually, like my first take, he was on camera before me and I walked into the shot and I had a moment where I almost forgot my lines because I thought "I'm on camera with Kermit the Frog. I've peaked. It's all downhill from here."
You've performed a lot of Shakespeare through your career - which character would you like to play, and why?
Oh goodness....you know, they are all very, very special. The tragic heroes always have a particular demand on you as an actor, because Shakespeare's understanding of human weakness was so precise, and most of his tragic heroes suffer from very relatable failings, like pride, or doubt, or vanity or jealousy or those things...you know, hubris. But actually the one I would love to play is Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing, because it's a really funny play, and it's very warm and it's all about love. It's about these two old cynics, Benedick and Beatrice, who believe they're past the age of romance, "y'know, loves not for us...I'll die a bachelor" and by dint of many practical jokes played on them by their friends, they fall in love with each other. It's so sweet...it's just such a sweet play and has so much wisdom in it. I've never been to a production of Much Ado where audiences haven't come out beguiled and delighted - you see people's faces when they come out of the theatre and they're so happy, and so I'd love to be in a production of that.
Have to quickly ask - any word on Avengers 2?
It's happening, that's my word on Avengers 2!
I read around and you said you were unsure if Loki's going to feature...if he's not in there, will you feel a bit left out? Will you be texting the other cast members saying "are you still having fun without me?"
Yeah maybe! Maybe I'll be like, "are you guys still having dance parties?"
Was that a regular occurrence?
It actually was! There was one particular occasion - it was an amazing occasion - where Chris Evans - also known as Captain America - sent a round-robin text message at about 8 o'clock on a Saturday night, we were filming in Albuquerque in New Mexico. Because it was a bit of a relay race - it was quite rare that we were all in town at the same time, and this weekend we all happened to be in town, and no-one had any plans, and he just sent a text message saying "I'm at a bar downtown. Come and join me in half an hour. Avengers Assemble!" and then sent a follow-up text saying "yes I did". And so of course we all flocked to this place and it was just a very normal bar in Albuquerque with the residents of New Mexico having a dance and a drink on a Saturday night and there was a birthday party of a guy there, and he was the big VIP of the night in that club, and I remember looking at his face as he turned around and saw Scarlett Johnasson and Chris Evans and Jaimie Alexander dancing in a little circle next to him and he sort of did a quadruple take. We were all on the normal dancefloor - it was very, very funny indeed, it was a good time.
Did anything similar happen on the filming for this movie?
Well, we were in London, but we were also in Iceland for two weeks - the exterior locations for The Dark World were on this volcano in Iceland and we all went dancing in Rekjavik - and of course the amazing thing about Rekjavik is that you can walk down the street and people are actually called Thor! Like you meet people who are called Thor, and they say, "hello I am Thor!" like...that's amazing!
Finally - you have a big Twitter following, which must be fun - who's the best person to follow?
My favourite twitter account at the moment is Very British Problems (@soverybritish) - and it makes me laugh out loud. They'll tweet a problem like "sitting down on the train and hoping no-one joins you in your carriage so you can eat your sandwich silently in shame" or "doing your best to help in a shop when someone asks you where the biscuits are, even though you don't work there". I love that.
Thor: The Dark World is in cinemas 30th October