Already a Comic-Con veteran, Tom Hiddleston became a confab legend when he showed up in 2013 in full Loki mode and took over Marvel’s Hall H presentation. This year, the Emmy-nominated star of The Night Manager is back for Kong: Skull Island as part of the Warner Bros panel today and maybe even more Marvel later Saturday with Thor: Rangorak.
Flying into San Diego from Australia’s Gold Coast where he has just started filming the latest God of Thunder pic set to come out next November, Hiddleston also has a lot of eyes on him as potentially the next James Bond. With 12 Emmy nominations for the AMC/BCC miniseries, including an Outstanding Lead Actor nom for Hiddleston himself, there’s even more talk a Night Manager follow-up could be in the cards.
I chatted with Hiddleston about what to expect from Skull Island and Thor: Rangorak as well as those Bond rumblings. Here last year for Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, he also revealed his feelings about SDCC and those Emmy noms.
DEADLINE: You’ve been coming to San Diego for several years now, primarily for Marvel pics as Loki. From that Hall H perspective, what’s your take on the shindig?
HIDDLESTON: Well, Comic-Con is the location of some of my fondest memories in the last five years. It was really the first place I ever spoke about Loki. My first trip was back in 2010 with Kenneth Branagh’s Thor when I was a whippersnapper. But I had been told about Comic-Con in advance of that and I was excited because people had always talked about the purity of the enthusiasm at Comic-Con.
DEADLINE: There was a lot of enthusiasm when you showed up as Loki back in 2013 – a flag-planter with the fans…
HIDDLESTON: Turning up as Loki three years ago was an unprecedented moment for me in my short career and it was just so much fun. It was more fun than should be allowed. Partly because it’s so rare that you get to play a character from film in a live context and there’s this theatrical cosmic fascist standing onstage being cheered by seven thousand people and we all loved it. I think we all had a good time anyway.
DEADLINE: You’ve been filming the Taika Waititi-directed third Thor movie in Australia the past few weeks with Chris Hemsworth back as the God of Thunder and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk in the mix. How does Ragnarok differ from past Marvel movies?
HIDDLESTON: I think the experience being in The Avengers has changed Thor as a character. He’s picked-up a few Earthly ways and certainly a few Earthly companions. And also, the experience of being on Earth, I think, has changed Loki. I don’t want to reveal too much, but when you see the three characters who haven’t shared the same space since the end of Avengers there’s a lot that happens to great dramatic and comedic effects.
DEADLINE: Speaking of dramatic effects, you’ll be back in Hall H on Saturday at the WB mega-panel for Kong: Skull Island, which has Brie Larson, John Goodman and Samuel L. Jackson among its cast — that’s some heavyweight action. What was making that King Kong reboot like?
HIDDLESTON: I loved making Kong: Skull Island. It was a completely unique experience. Chiefly, I think, because it felt like such as heavyweight cast. There’s so many people from so many different backgrounds and with so many different skill sets. And we traveled to these extraordinary locations to the ends of the Earth where nature is at its most beautiful and terrifying. And that was, I think, the genius of Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ pitch was an encouragement to shoot in real places and to make Skull Island out of parts of our planet that are absolutely breathtaking and remote. Where you could believe that Kong as a myth could originate. And the other thing to say about it is that part of his original idea was that he wanted to set it in the ’70s.
DEADLINE: Why is that important?
HIDDLESTON: Because it was a world where technology is not what it is now and that perhaps mankind might believe there were mysteries in the South Pacific that were still unsolved. There’s an organization in the film called Landsat, which uses satellite technology that we’re all now familiar with, with applications like Google Earth. Skull Island takes place at the very, very early development of that technology. So, the Western governments are already trying to put together, as it were, a God’s eye view of the Earth and there is one place they can’t quite figure out. They send a crew of soldiers and scientists to check it out — and well, the rest remains to be seen.
But it was such an epic shoot and I know from the stuff I’ve already seen and the experience of doing it that you really feel the vividness of it. I think, you will really feel how this was not shot on a soundstage, how this was shot in the jungles and the volcanic valleys of Hawaii, Australian, and Vietnam.
DEADLINE: Tom, you are contractually obliged to return as Loki for at least a couple more Marvel films, Skull Island could see a new franchise, your Emmy-nominated performance in Night Manager, the talk of you being the next James Bond has reached fever pitch…
HIDDLESTON: (Laughs) Right.
DEADLINE: …but now some time has passed to let it all sink in a bit. What’s your take on the Night Manager getting six Primetime Emmy nominations and six Creative Arts noms – including your first nomination?
HIDDLESTON: It’s very, very satisfying because The Night Manager for me and I know for Hugh and Susanne was the greater part of 2015 and we threw ourselves at it because we wanted to honor the great writing of John le Carré. You never know if things are going to catch fire in the audience. so I feel very lucky and incredibly honored. I’m absolutely delighted, truth be told.
DEADLINE: Obviously, the miniseries was based on le Carré’s 1993 novel, for which he hasn’t published a follow-up. But after the success of the show on both sides of the Atlantic and the possibilities in the ending, where are things in terms of sequel?
HIDDLESTON: I think it still lies in the lap of le Carré himself. If it were to happen it would be the first time that there has ever been filmed material that has not originated in his writing. So, I don’t know. The ball is definitely in his court. I know he’s enormously pleased with the series and happy that it found an audience. I mean, he loves it. So, I don’t know. You’ll have to ask the Cornwell brothers who are our esteemed producers and also his sons.
DEADLINE: OK, with no Night Manager sequel penciled in, what’s next after you finish Ragnarok? Maybe Bond?
HIDDLESTON: Ha! I never make plans because every time I’ve tried to make plans life is full of surprises. So, I don’t know what the picture will look like by the end of this year. As an actor, I’ve always been excited by the breadth of what I’m allowed to do and that is what I’m honestly most grateful for. That I can jump around and play Hank Williams and Jonathan Pine, and Captain James Conrad in a Kong movie and then go back to Loki. And to have that privilege of playing so many different people and so many different genres is truly everything I’ve dreamed of.