Disney’s D23 event meant glimpses of new footage, a chance for Mouse House maniacs to meet the stars of the company’s upcoming film line-up and, most importantly of all – at least in certain quarters, and you know who you are – not one, but two chances for Tom Hiddleston to get a rock star welcome.
After yesterday’s Pirate Fairy presentation, today it was the turn of Thor: The Dark World to provide the platform for the Hiddlesteria to erupt. Also present were Marvel boss Kevin Feige, Natalie Portman and Game Of Thrones veteran Alan Taylor, who directed the sequel.
“It was a whole different adventure this time,” Portman told us. “Because Jane is the fish out of water. I didn't want to make it like Bill And Ted, or like the Valley Girl dumped into Shakespeareland!” Aside from loving London, she admits she had the most fun hitting Hiddleston’s Loki. “It feels fantastic,” she giggles. “He was a great sport about it.”
For Taylor, it was an opportunity to bring his particular fatal magic from the HBO shows he’s been working on through the years to a big, comic-book adventure. “I realised recently that I am the grim reaper,” he laughed. “People hate me because I killed Ned Stark on Thrones. But I also killed Caesar in Rome, Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood and Christopher in The Sopranos. I just get called in to murder people's favourite characters, so I'm surprised Thor survived this one. There are a few people who don't make it out alive here. There could be some surprises!”
And he didn’t just lay waste to characters. There’s the small matter of the film being just the latest release to demolish chunks of London. “I think the idea of London was built into the DNA of the movie before I came along and I was happy it did,” stressed Taylor. “It's a great place to shoot and boasts good crews. There's also some backstory that makes sense in the movie with Stonehenge and some other things. And finally, a little thing called tax breaks, which is why London is blowing up a lot this summer! I picked Greenwich. And I'll tell you why: I knew our final act was going to be chaotic battle, so I loved the idea of picking a formal setting to stage the chaos. We got to go into the Painted Hall and explode it...”
So, Tom Hiddleston, the man we all know as Loki, what exactly did Greenwich to do you that you have to destroy bits of it? “Greenwich didn't do anything to me, I just know it's just a beautiful place,” smiled the affable actor. “My sister went to college there, which is a little-known fact. It was nice to be in London, truly. Because I feel like London's a different location in a way because in the first film, the Earth stuff is all set in New Mexico and Avengers was New York, so it was great to be there for me, because when I first read the script, the thing that delighted me most is that they really seemed to get London right. There were genuine officious traffic wardens and people speaking the way they should. I think there's a lot of mileage for the comedy of that.
“The Marvel team likes their movies to be fun. Especially with Thor, they want to have this enormous, heavy, epic dimension, gods and monsters, worlds collide, but they also want to keep it fun and make sure the audience is having a good time. I feel very proud that the Brits provided on that front.”
So now he’s been greeted with uproarious excitement in more than one giant hall, is he missing that energy when he goes home? It sounded like he might be – but he had an idea. “I just want to have a track, some sort of automatic signal that when I put the key in the lock, this enormous cheering soundtrack plays. I think it would be alarming, though - imagine inviting your friends round...”
Thor: The Dark World is set for release in the UK on October 30.