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Capone interviews WAR HORSE star Tom Hiddleston, and attempts (and fails) to pry AVENGERS details from him!!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

The final interview for my WAR HORSE coverage is with actor Tom Hiddleston, who plays Captain Nicholls, one of the many characters in the film who takes ownership of the horse named Joey. What a year Hiddleston has had (as he lays out for me during our talk).

At the beginning of 2011, I'm fairly certain I'd never seen the guy in any of the British television series he'd been a part of. But in May, THOR was released and whether you liked the film or not, it was tough to deny the creep-tastic presence of Hiddleston's portrayal of Loki. Soon after, he showed up in Woody Allen's magnificent MIDNIGHT IN PARIS to play F. Scott Fitzgerald, and if you happened to be at the right film festival or country in the fall, you might have also caught him as the male lead (opposite Rachel Weisz) in THE DEEP BLUE SEA, the latest work from writer-director Terence Davies.

But Hiddleston spent a great deal of his 2011 reprising his role of Loki in next year's big summer release THE AVENGERS, and doing a bit of Shakespeare, which we also talked about. He's also one of the most forthcoming and honest guys I've ever spoken to, which is why I actually felt a bit bad for him when I bombarded him with AVENGERS questions at the end of our talk. He's very aware that he's had an amazing year, and I'm excited to see what he dives into in what will undoubtedly be a long and interesting career. Please enjoy by brief talk with Tom Hiddleton…


Capone: It’s nice to meet you.

TH: It’s nice to meet you too. You were in the press conference, right?

Capone: Yes.

TH: Yeah, I saw you there.

[Tom is told Steve is “From Ain’t It Cool News.”]

TH: Steve from Ain’t It Cool News? That’s the site, isn’t it?

Capone: Is it?

TH: That’s what I hear. How are you doing?

Capone: Good. When I was looking over all of the things I’ve seen you in this year, between working with Steven Spielberg, working with Woody Allen, working with Kenneth Branagh. Working with Terrence Davies. Some people might call that a career after 20 years in the industry.

TH: And Joss Whedon.

Capone: Of course. That’s a good couple of years for you. Has that really kind of hit you? You’re brand new to the business, but it all just kind of came flooding in at once and then never stopped.

TH: It’s amazing to tell the truth. I mean it was funny, on January 3rd 2010 I started principle photography on a film called THOR. On December 23rd 2010 I completed principle photography on a film called THE DEEP BLUE SEA. Between the 3rd of January and the 23rd of December I shot THOR, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, WAR HORSE, and THE DEEP BLUE SEA back to back in the space of 12 months.

Capone: So 2011 has been a slow year for you then?

[Both Laugh]

TH: I've been doing a lot of things like this [interview] this year. Yeah, but THE AVENGERS wasn’t a small, independent thing either. That was a good five months of my life back on that. But I remember saying to my mum and my sister who I spent Christmas with last year, and I kind of collapsed in bed on Christmas Eve, woke up groggily on Christmas day, and I was like “That was the year that was.” In our family, we tend to kind of recap with what was the best of times, the worst of times, and I still cant believe that it all happened in that space of time.

I am so, so incredibly lucky and I’ve learned so much from them. I can only hope, Steve, that this is just the beginning. I don’t want to ever sit with my laurels. I don’t ever want to say, “Well I’ve done it now.” There’s so much I want to do. I’m only 30 years old and I feel like if I do it properly and I keep committing and throwing the kitchen sink at it that maybe I can make something of it.


Capone: And not to jump ahead, but it sounds like you’ve got a little bit of Shakespeare lined up.

TH: I’m just in the middle of playing Henry V, hence, why I’m matching you beard for beard today.

[Both Laugh]

TH: So I’ve been loving that. Shakespeare is where I started. I was in theater productions of Shakespeare in London, which is where the people from the film industry came, because film people love the theater strangely. You wouldn’t think that they do, but they do, and they come and see their favorite actors in big plays, and that’s where I guess I was discovered. So it’s a thrill after this great year to go back and do HENRY V on film being produced by Sam Mendes and to be broadcast on the BBC and on NBCU as part of a massive cultural celebration alongside the London Olympics.

Capone: I’m really looking forward to that. Let’s talk a little bit about WAR HORSE. It’s a smallish part, but I think a really important part in that your character sort of sets the tone for what happens to the horse after he leaves the farm. You represent the respect that is paid or not paid to horses at the time. Did you have an affinity for horses before this film, or a history with them?

TH: I discovered them through THOR. It’s very strange, because there’s a very brief moment of horse riding in THOR where the six Asgardian warriors ride across the rainbow bridge, and Ken wanted to shoot that for real on a beach. Then the nine realms and the depth of space behind us would be projected with GCI, and because it was horses, we left it right at the end of the shoot in case there were any accidents or something, and I had some time while everybody else was down with Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, and Kat Dennings in New Mexico to practice. So I'd been learning how to ride with these fantastic horse people, in fact, with the daughter of Vic Armstrong, who is no less Harrison Ford’s stunt double on INDIANA JONES.

Capone: Vic is. Not his daughter.

TH: [Laughs] Yeah no, not his daughter. So Georgina, who actually makes an appearance in EMPIRE OF THE SUN I think at some point, was teaching me to ride, and then around that time I got the call to go in and meet Steven and he said, “Listen, do you ride?” I said, “Funny enough, I’ve just started, but I’m completely in love with it.” He said, “Well where are you riding?” I said, “There’s a stunt farm up in the valley and a woman called Georgie Armstrong is teaching me how…” “Georgie Armstrong? Vic Armstrong’s daughter? Oh my God, you’re working with Vic? How is he?”

Andthen he asked me to do it. But I would say about the horses, I really discovered a love for it through this film. It was something I had never understood before, and you know horses are so intrinsically part of cinema. All of my favorite films have got horses in them, whether it’s GLADIATOR or BRAVEHEART or RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. They're part of the moving image. They're somehow intrinsically…


Capone: Didn’t one of the motion-picture precursors show a horse trotting?

TH: Oh yeah, it was!

Capone: I think they wanted to see if a horse’s legs all came up off of the ground at the same time when it ran. That was the experiment.

TH: Yeah and it’s funny, because I had just finished a shoot and I saw the Coen brother’s TRUE GRIT, and there’s a wonderful moment when Jeff Bridges is galloping home and I watched it with Benedict Cumberbatch at a preview screening, and we both nudged each other and we were like, “Horses on film, man.” It’s just so special. So the whole thing has actually changed my life anyway in terms of my respect for horses. I really want them to be like a constant part of my life. I rode in Albuquerque shooting THE AVENGERS. Scarlett Johansson and I went on a trek up and down the Rio Grande on these old fantastic Mexican stallions. It was great fun.

Capone: I love the idea that this idea that this was, technologically, a turning-point war, and there’s that moment in the movie where the cavalry members are debating whether a sneak attack is an honorable thing. They are still thinking, “This is a gentleman’s war,” and of course you would want a sneak attack.

TH: Yeah, it’s me saying to Benedict “Are you sure they don’t know we are coming? Surprise is everything.” That’s lovely that you picked that scene out. Nobody else has. He says to me “You’re not having scruples, are you Jim?” And I say, “Well if it must be done, let’s do it quickly,” and I think in that moment Captain Nicholls knows what’s coming. I think he also suspects that it isn’t a surprise, and they know exactly where we are. And basically we’ve got nothing.

Capone: And you don’t know what the Germans have, either.

TH: Precisely, and that's an enormous turning point in the history of the world no less. I mean the war is before the first World War--the Boer War and all of these other things--they were won with cavalry charges. Having been part of one now, I know how powerful they are. You’ve got 120 horses coming at you at 40 miles an hour across 400 yards of open plain, everybody crying hell fury, swords pointed. If you are unarmed or if you are a troop of infantry, you’re gone.

I’m doing HENRY V right now and learning battle tactics in those days. The French had cavalry, the English had archers, but the cavalry were like the equivalent of stealth bombers. If you had more cavalry, there was no question you were going to win, and at this point in time, the British army in their, I think arrogance, but also in their naivety, had no idea how advance the German military force had become, and so these machine guns in that forest are more shocking than anything they had ever seen, and it’s why the war lasted so long.


Capone: I haven’t said anything about THE AVENGERS, but it’s a Disney movie, so it’s still good. I know you’re sworn to every kind of secrecy known to man, but tell me something that we don’t know yet about THE AVENGERS.

TH: [Laughs] Okay, so what do you know?

Capone: It doesn’t matter what I know. You know what’s out there.

TH: I don’t know everything that’s out there.

Capone: Is there another villain besides Loki?

TH: What can I tell you about that… Hmm…

Capone: I know that you shot a lot after many of the other cast members were done. You had a few weeks of intense Loki-centric shooting.

TH: I did. It was a very Loki-heavy time.

Capone: So what was going on then? What was happening?

TH: [laughs] Listen, you’ve seen the trailer?

Capone: Yes.

TH: Loki has quite obviously plans for a degree of world domination, and a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.

Capone: Does he feel like he needs outside help to do this?

[Tom turns to the PR woman at the door.]

TH: ]okingly] Are we ready for our next interview?

Capone: This is why you were scared to talk to me? All right.

TH: I wish I could give you something really juicy, man.

Capone: I know.

[The PR woman says “We’ll see you at the AVENGERS junket.”]

Capone: I hope so.

TH: You will have seen it by then.

Capone: Great to meet you.

TH: And to quote Thor in THOR, “All the answers you seek will be yours once I reclaim what’s mine.” Print that. Did you get that? There's meaning in that.

Capone: I got it. Thank you.

-- Capone
capone@aintitcool.com
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Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 24, 2011, 4:25 p.m. CST

    He was the best part of Thor

    by sunwukong86

    Thor wasnt Marvel's best film by any means, but Hiddleston really stood out

  • Dec. 24, 2011, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Agreed he was the best part about Thor.

    by MRJONZ72

  • Dec. 24, 2011, 4:48 p.m. CST

    Tom Hiddleton?

    by McDylbot

    One too many chrsitmas Sherries there Capone? :-P

  • Dec. 24, 2011, 4:56 p.m. CST

    Can't wait to see...

    by nssdigitalchumps

    the Skrulls.

  • ...And you will forget all but the most outlandish, ridiculous elements of the plot five minutes after you leave the theater. *END SPOILER*

  • Dec. 24, 2011, 6:38 p.m. CST

    Love this guy

    by Starcrossed_Part_2

    Seriously, fucking love him. Hope he keeps grounded and continues producing quality performances forever

  • Dec. 24, 2011, 7:06 p.m. CST

    I read that The Avengers will be post-converted to 3D.

    by F-18

    Since I'm not into 3D, what little chance I was going to see it at the theater in 2D is gone now.

  • Dec. 24, 2011, 7:42 p.m. CST

    Yes he was excellent in Thor

    by Rupee88

    and it wasn't even a good movie. But yes still worried about Whedon having the vision to direct on a scale that Avengers deserves. The Prometheus trailer really reminded me of that somehow.

  • Dec. 24, 2011, 8:21 p.m. CST

    Horses on film, man

    by evnvnv

    is the new Kurt Russell laughing

  • Dec. 24, 2011, 9:33 p.m. CST

    Thor had a lot of great stuff...he was the best part.

    by SmokingRobot

    Wonderful actor.

  • Dec. 24, 2011, 10:26 p.m. CST

    What was so bad about Thor?

    by VoiceOfSaruman

    Seemed like a solid comic book movie to me. I far preferred it over X-Men First Class (Fassbender/McAvoy were very good though.)

  • Dec. 24, 2011, 11:56 p.m. CST

    Loki-heavy time!

    by Xenodistortion

    That's what I like to hear. Looking forward to seeing him up to more evil shenanigans in Avengers. Great little interview here. He seems like a cool guy. Also, why is every awesome actor out there British?

  • Dec. 25, 2011, 1:54 a.m. CST

    sorry, not feelin' the love for Hiddleston

    by James Stevenson

    I liked Thor well enough, but between Anthony Hopkins volleying between somber ruminating and chewing the CGI scenery to bits, and Hiddleston coming across like he was coasting on 10-15 mg of Valium throughout... it came within a hair's breadth of failure. IMO, as far as comic book adaptation villains go...... Sir Ian McKellen, Heath Ledger, and Alfred Moilina rule that particular roost, TYVM. Hiddleston is pallid by comparison, and the fact that he figures into The Avengers AT ALL may just keep me away from that movie.

  • But in THOR he showed his quality. this guy knows how to grab the screen. and he's a damn good actor. i loved every Loki scenes in the movie. i even liked his character a lot, much more sympathetic then i expected. And he was a dead ringer of F. Scott Fritzgerald in Woody Allen's wonderful MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. I hope to se more of him in the future.

  • Dec. 25, 2011, 1:25 p.m. CST

    reuring = recuring

    by AsimovLives