Tom Hiddleston recalls how he took inspiration from Alan Rickman, James Mason to play Loki

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Tom Hiddleston in a still from ‘Loki’; file photo of actor Alan Rickman at the premiere of “A Little Chaos” in 2015; and James Mason as Phillip Vandamm in a still from ‘North By Northwest’

Tom Hiddleston in a still from ‘Loki’; file photo of actor Alan Rickman at the premiere of “A Little Chaos” in 2015; and James Mason as Phillip Vandamm in a still from ‘North By Northwest’
| Photo Credit: Disney and Evan Agostini/Invision/AP and MGM

Over a decade after Tom Hiddleston rose to fame with his role as Loki in the 2011 movie Thor, the actor has recalled that to portray Marvel’s god of mischief, he had to go to strange film figures for inspiration.

Hiddleston discussed how he prepared to play the legendary part, which included researching Alan Rickman’s renowned performance as Hans Gruber in the 1988 film Die Hard. He says he also investigated James Mason’s master spy, Phillip Vandamm, in the 1959 classic thriller North by Northwest.

“Those are all characters that are about control and revenge,” Hiddleston said, adding, “I might just love those performances as a child. … I just was so drawn to those performances as they seemed to be having such a wonderful time playing these antagonists, I suppose. And that was part of the charm. They were so charismatic, even though they weren’t at the centre of those films,” said Hiddleston as reported by People.

While Loki was not a major character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Thor or Avengers films, the spotlight switched to the clever trickster when his spin-off programme Lokipremiered on Disney+ in June 2021.

The antihero’s epic voyage across space and time over two seasons, as effectively played by Hiddleston, helped popularise — and even endear — Loki to many fans.

In season 2, which costarred Ke Huy Quan, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Sophia Di Martino, Loki became a living temporal loom to preserve the different timelines. His decision marks the end of a stunning transformation for Loki, from selfish and self-absorbed to someone willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the universe.

“That was the very basis of the season I set out to write, and seeing that all culminate in that and Tom, just bringing every last bit of emotion to it, it just made everything [worthwhile],” executive producer and writer Eric Martin said.

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