Tom Hiddleston is burdened with a fresh purpose, and a new villainous alter ego. Disney announced at today’s D23 event that he’s taking on the role of a younger Captain Hook in one of the company’s new Tinker Bell films, The Pirate Fairy. And, naturally, we took the opportunity to talk to him, because what’s a press line without a conversation with the man, the legend, the Loki?
The Pirate Fairy will focus on Christina Hendricks’s Zarina, who the Mad Men actress describes as “scrappy and inquisitive and smart and scientific and daring and really fun to play”. Not your average Disney pixie, then. “She's a dust-keeper and is trying to break out of her category and experiment and discover things. She's trying to change her fortune. So she ends up stealing some blue pixie dust and ends up getting in some big trouble. But helpfully her fairy friends reach out.”
Hendricks took the stage alongside Hiddleston after the surprise casting announcement, and she’s still recovering. “That room full of people went crazy for him.”
Hiddleston himself tried to play it down in typically modest fashion, but we suggested he could soon be able to stride into Disney stores and be greeted with a rapturous welcome, much as he can at Comic-Con. “But in both cases I don't have long black hair,” he argued. “I may have to buy a wig and just wear it all the time...”
The role was a welcome one for the actor, who admits to being a massive Disney fan and delighted to visit the studio. He broke into his own collection to research the role and find the right, er, hook for his character. “In Peter Pan, he's got this amazing, theatrical quality. He sounds like a real, old-school villain. While I was playing him as a younger man, I wanted to retain some of that gravel in his voice and delight in his mischief. His innate wickedness. He's not someone who has ever pretended to be a hero, he loves the fact he's a pirate captain. I also remembered Dustin Hoffman playing him in Hook and I saw Ian McKellen play him at the National Theatre about 15 years ago. And I wanted to bring my own sense of who I thought he was.
“The thing that's never been done before is I play him as Cabin Boy James, where he seems like an affable, educated, erudite, charming, open-hearted young man, and then there's the big reveal that he's Captain James Hook.”
Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy is set to hit discs next year. Hiddleston, meanwhile, just found a new way to be good at being bad.