Before our Tom Hiddleston webchat, Empire had no idea what a “Hiddlestoner” was. It turns out a “Hiddlestoner” is a die-hard Tom Hiddleston fan – and would you believe it, hundreds of them arrived en masse for a pretty amazing War Horse webchat this week. Questions were… varied, to say the least, but the answers were uniformly delightful. Or as Tom would modestly say, “moderately entertaining”. Some people are never satisfied…
Faiyra says: Greetings from Germany. Now you’ve worked with them, would you like to own a horse one day?
I hope one day that I can afford to, but it’s a very expensive habit. But yes, I do love horses.
MoJo16 says: Did you read the book before you started working on War Horse? I’ve loved it for years and am so glad it’s been made into a film
I’d seen the show in the West End, which had made me cry like a lost child. Then, once I was cast in the film I read the book as part of basic research. I also think Michael Morpurgo is an incredible man, and the whole story is written with his artistic heartbeat.
serena3515 says: Hi from Italy! What was it like to work with Benedict Cumberbatch? Would you like to work with him again in the future?
Hello from England. It was great, fantastic to work with Ben. He is having such an incredible moment in the sun, and I think is at the top of his game. He’s been in this business for 15 years, and I remember when I was still in drama school going to watch him in theatre in a production of Hedda Gabler and thinking to myself, I hope he gets the success he deserves. When we were training to be cavalry officers, I think after our first week of training, the first episode of Sherlock aired on television, and it was amazing to be alongside him watching his life change.
JC says: Loki was a really sympathetic villain (good work on that), but did Thor leave you wanting to play an all-out total bastard? Assuming your character in War Horse isn’t one of those…
Gosh. I suppose I need a clearer definition of all-out total bastard. You haven’t seen The Avengers yet! And no, my character in War Horse isn’t a total bastard; he’s the best kind of man.
Jenna says: Would you be interested in getting behind the camera and directing one day?
If anyone were to give me the money and the trust, I’d love to. I feel like, having worked with five different directors in the space of 18-months, more than ever that actors are part of a director’s toolbox in expressing his or her perspective on the world. And I feel I have lots of my own stories to tell, which I’d love to be able to do one day. I’m also really interested in the actual jigsaw puzzle of filmmaking. The visual sensibility, music and editing. I was always badgering Kenneth Branagh on Thor to explain all the CGI technology to me.
JenG says: It’s a shame that Kenneth Branagh won’t be directing Thor 2. Will you be replaying your role as Magnus Martinsson in Wallander and working with him on the third series?
Unfortunately not, because it was filming at exactly the same time as The Avengers, and Kenneth completely understood my contractual engagement and let Magnus go with love.
TintinarooII says: Did you find the filming of War Horse very emotional?
Yes I did. Because I felt it was my responsibility to represent the doomed youth of a lost generation, who were almost entirely wiped out by one of the most horrific blots on the landscape of British history.
Nihan says: Greetings from Germany! Any crazy fan encounters you’ll never forget?
Well, I remember it feeling quite surreal having my picture taken with about six lady Lokis at New York Comic Con, all of whom looked much sexier in their costumes than I have ever done, horny helmets and all.
EllenMarie says: What was it like meeting Prince William? Were you star struck or just another day on the red carpet?
I wasn’t starstruck – I’d met him before because I was at school with him, which sounds like a strange thing. But when you’re at school with someone they are just another guy at school. It’s only in retrospect that I realise how strange that must seem.
Kathen says: Hi Tom, just wondering what’s your favourite sandwich?
I quite like there to be avocado involved in some capacity, and wholegrain mustard, and chicken. Failing that, there’s nothing wrong with cheese and pickle.
i-ship-that says: What can you tell us about Thor 2? Also, as much as I love The Avengers, I’m team Loki just for you. So where can I sign to join your army?
Last question first: I have no idea. And without revealing too much, there’s a specific skill set you need to be in Loki’s army – let me know if you have the qualifications. And all I know about Thor 2 is that we’re supposed to film it in London in the summer and that it is being directed by Alan Taylor.
redreed says: Having worked on Thor and, of course, The Avengers, how do you think the Americans are responding to the fact that amazing British actors are playing superheroes – the most quintessential roles America has produced?
Maybe it’s because we’re cheap and grateful!
tylerdurden says: What’s your favourite band at he moment?
I’m going to have to say Bon Iver even though it’s kind of one guy, but the last album was amazing. I just can’t stop listening to it; it really chills me out, especially when I’m playing Loki.
BriannaValdez says: I know you’re a lover of Shakespeare (as am I). Which play of his is your favourite? If you could play any Shakespeare character, which one would it be?
I do love Othello, because it’s a forensic examination of jealousy and power, and the delicacy of being in love with somebody. If you’re uncertain in your affection and in their affection for you, you can so easily be turned and possessed by the green-eyed monster of jealousy, which eats you up and ultimately destroys the love that was there in the first place. Also, it’s got some of the most heart-attack poetry that’s ever been written in the English language.
selinavalentine says: What’s your favourite country/city to travel to?
It’s pretty easy, this one. I do love Italy, and I’ve had some very special times there. I remember a weekend in Rome with my girlfriend just after I left university that was entirely magical and felt like it was straight out of an Italian romance, touched by Fellini.
GodAwesomeHair says: Talking about the Avengers, we know that Loki will be very different from the one you portrayed in Thor. Is there a possibility he’ll end up like the Loki we saw with Thor before the coronation ceremony? Will there be reconciliation with the big brother who loves Loki so much?
I don’t want to spoil anything here. Loki’s eternal predilection is to dance on the fault lines of villainy and redemption. I think whatever happens to him, he’ll always keep people guessing.
Expedite27 says: What was it like playing Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris? It was a wonderful movie.
Amazing. The whole experience felt like a dream. We were staying at the same hotel in Paris that Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams’ characters were staying in, which is called Le Bristol, and all along the pavements of Paris there are posters of screen legends outside the tourist stores. And if you stop and go through them, the first couple are of Marilyn Monroe, then you get to James Dean, and then you get to Audrey Hepburn, and right after her are pictures of Woody Allen. Then you walk a bit further along the promenade and you get to Shakespeare and Company, which is the bookshop where Ernest Hemingway used to stay while he was there, and so the whole experience really felt like a twinkling fantasy.
quentinfrappuccino says: Having played Scott Fitzgerald on screen, and having an insight into the doomed relationship that informed The Great Gatsby, do you have any tips for Baz Luhrmann. Also, did you meet the duck in War Horse?
You mean goose? And no. Far be it from me to tell Baz Luhrman how to make movies, but one of the things I did do when I was in Paris was I downloaded an audiobook of The Great Gatsby onto my iPod, and on the days when I wasn’t filming I wandered around Paris listening to it, just to get his voice in my bones.
THFan says: What was the most surprising thing about working with the legendary Spielberg?
How exceptionally kind he is. I would have forgiven him all kinds of grandeur because he’s one of my childhood heroes, but he’s so incredibly humble and generous and collaborative, and the most inspiring thing about him is that, at his age, with his stature and standing in the film business, he genuinely is still as curious and excited as I think he was when he made his first film.
Marina_from_Asgard says: You have just worked with some really great directors (Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen). Is there is another director you would like to work with?
How long have you got? I’m such a cinephile and movie lover that I see as much as I can, and the list is about as long as…it’s very long. Christopher Nolan, Clint Eastwood, Paul Thomas Anderson, Jacques Audiard, Tim Burton, Joel and Ethan Coen, Nicolas Winding Refn, Tomas Alfredson… there are so many. Peter Weir too. Julian Schnabel. I’d love to work with someone whose visual sense is very different from mine, but as far as the list goes already, I’m the luckiest guy in the world.
wearegolden says: Is there any news about Winter’s Tale? Loved the book and couldn’t stop picturing you as Peter Lake.
I love that story too, and find it really really moving, and to be honest I don’t know what’s happening. That’s the God’s honest truth.
Hetherlynne says: What was it like having to work with so many different actors for The Avengers, and did you ever play some Loki-spirited pranks on them?
It was really fun to work with all of those guys. They each have such specific talents, and I always liken acting to playing tennis. The rally that you play with a new partner is completely different, and no, it’s a $300m movie, and I probably would have been fired for playing the prankster!
wingedhelm says: So Tom, I’m about to ask you two extremely serious and important questions. What is you favorite pudding? And how do you take your tea? As a fellow Brit, you know how important that last question is.
That’s a huge question. My favorite pudding is a toss-up between cheesecake – proper, New York cheesecake – and apple crumble and custard. Custard is very important, or dark chocolate mousse. Tea: probably Earl Grey, splash of milk.
Lidy says: I haven’t seen a better interpretation of a villain than Loki since the Joker. What inspired you to interpret your character?
Well, in the comics Loki has so many different faces, and the thing that inspired both myself and Ken Branagh was his mixture of emotional psychological complexity, and the speed of his mind. So you have somebody who’s capable of thinking and strategizing at the speed of light, but underneath that is a deep well of pain that at any moment threatens to boil over.
Charlotte says: How would you sum up 2011 in four words?
A really big deal.
Albus Peach says: What is the worst “Thor” pun you’ve heard? Been to any “Loki” events recently?
I heard a limerick which goes something like this: “Thor’s the god of thunder / he rides upon his filly / I’m Thor, he cried / His horse replied / Then get a thaddle, thilly!“ which I think is basically… shocking.
JennyB says: You are so wonderful at impressions! Do you have a favorite that you’ve done?
When I was a child I used to do impressions of Shere Khan in The Jungle Book, played by George Sanders. I think he’s probably my all-time favorite.
Well, I would never say I imitated anyone, because everybody has their own really distinctive personality, which comes out in the characters they play. The actors that I’ve been inspired by the most in the course of my life are Daniel Day Lewis, Al Pacino, Robert de Niro, Mark Ruffalo, Peter O’Toole, Anthony Hopkins, John Candy, though I could never possibly get close to his brilliance, Jeff Bridges, and I was a fan long before he played the Dude. I used to love The Fabulous Baker Boys and The Fisher King.
I think I need to reboot my impression. I think Al Pacino is my favorite. It’s the bit when he’s interviewing Hank Azaria’s character in Heat. “Because she’s got a GREAT ASS – and you’ve got your head ALL THE WAY UP IT”
Carmen says: You’ve proven yourself to be one of the most expressive actors on screen recently. Which actors/actresses do you most look up to in terms of style?
What I find very impressive is when actors give a performance where I can’t see the joins, and I really have no idea how they did it, how they achieved it. I felt that when I saw Michael Fassbender in Hunger and I watched Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood and marveled at his artistry. But at the same time, sometimes an actor can do very little and still be very moving, like Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland.
ILoveLoki says: Are you watching any TV shows at the moment? Do you have any you would recommend?
Sherlock’s great. And back in the day I was a complete 24 addict. I used to buy box sets and I think I got as far as season 5 before I realized I hadn’t seen daylight in a while.
Steven Samurai says: Today, Nick Hewer off The Apprentice became the Countdown host. How do you feel about this seminal moment in British pop culture?
I’m ashamed to say I’ve never seen The Apprentice. Nobody can beat Richard Whiteley.
kaleidoscopicmess says: What is the most absurd thing about you that’s ever been published?
That I am married. Not true.
eibhlinbrennan says: What’s your guilty pleasure? (crap TV? bonbons? anything?)
Really cheesy dance music from the 90s. Or a double-bill of Kindergarten Cop and Twins.
Blanche says: You are an amazing Loki, but I loved you also in theatre: Cymbeline, Othello, Ivanov. Will you return on stage? A hug from Pisa!
Thank you very much, Blanche. I’m so proud of those shows. They taught me so much about acting and Cymbeline, it sounds strange to say this, but that was where I found my mojo again. I can’t wait to get back to the theater. I’m just waiting for the right thing and the right time.
Jumbo Prawn says: If you could work with any directors who are no longer with us, which would you like to work with and why?
I’d love to work with David Lean. He’s a master. Kubrick would have been interesting, more than interesting. And gotta be Charlie Chaplin.
wingedhelm says: Did you tell Chris Hemsworth that Home And Away was your favorite soap? Was it really Eastenders? Though I see you as more of a Corrie kind of man.
I suppose the one we all watched in my house was Neighbours. Sorry, Chris. But then I was kind of a later convert to Home & Away, and I still remember the theme tune, so I must have watched it for long enough. There was a day in Jotunheim when he was about to unleash the power of Mjolnir on some frost giants, and he heard a voice from behind him, “You know we belong together…” and it was out of tune.
Hannah Yeskel says: If you weren’t an actor, what career would you like to try?
I’d love to be a cowboy. Sometimes I think I might give up the whole game and move to a ranch and herd cattle.
CapnPingu says: If you had your own horse, what would you name him? And why?
I don’t know. I suppose when I met the horse, I would work out what I thought his name was. A bit like children I suppose. I always thought Balthazar was a pretty cool name for a horse though.
Melissa Rocha says: Is there anyone you’d like to play in a biopic?
SuperEllen says: What was your favorite movie of 2011?
It’s a toss-up between The Tree Of Life, Bridesmaids, Warrior, Drive and The Help.
Evil_Twin says: Seven people against one in the avengers… how is that fair?
I’m a god. Re-calibrate your statistics.
Kamospam says: Would you consider yourself a cat or dog person?
I’ve been both, but save one very special cat, I’m a dog person.
Blink182010 says: Favorite film of all time?
Heat. Because it can withstand so many repeated viewings and every time I find something new in it. And I think De Niro and Pacino are both at the very height of their powers. That scene in the cafe, right at the centre of the film, is what acting’s all about. High stakes and perfect understatement.
PhilBotto says: I’ve got to ask you about the incredible restaurant scene in the middle of Joanna Hogg’s Archipelago. It’s one of the most brilliantly observed, squirmingly awkward moments in recent years. Was that in the script or improv’ed?
It was in the script, but as with all Joanna Hogg’s films – or both the ones I’ve worked on with her – the dialogue is unscripted, so it was absolutely planned that the family were incapable of deciding which table to sit down at in a completely empty restaurant, and also that the character of Cynthia is crushingly embarrassing in her public complaints to the chef about her under-cooked guinea fowl.
dgribble says: When you threw Robert Downey Jr. out that window, were you still in character or enjoying every minute?
A mixture of both, dgribble, a mixture of both.
Philip73 says: My name means ‘lover of horses’ but I don’t really get on with horses. Can you help? Do carrots work?
Philip, I think carrot is probably the wrong way in. There’s an amazing scene in The Horse Whisperer where Robert Redford sits in the field for an entire day and waits for the horse to come to him. Maybe let the horse come to you? Have patience.
Arileli says: Do you have something to say to your fans, The Hiddlestoners?
You are amazing and I love you all.
Salmon Mousse says: Can we expect a War Horse 2?
Yes, it’s called Peace Pony.
Thanks for your questions everybody. I hope that was edifying and moderately entertaining. So honored to be here, thank you very much.