Tom Hiddleston’s Thank You Letter to Joss Whedon is Fantastic
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has said that despite the overwhelming success of Disney’s Marvel movies it isn’t easy to convince actors to sign those six to nine movie contracts. Obviously one drawback is that kind of commitment ties an actor down for a lot of time that will spent exclusively working on Marvel movies. In addition, an actor is never sure who he or she will be working or what his or her character will have to do four or five movies down the line.
For example, Tom Hiddleston clearly relishes playing Loki, but obviously has interest in playing plenty of other roles in film, television and theater. Being that Loki is a bad guy, it would be easy for Hiddleston to worry that his character might not be well-treated or well-written in a big movie like The Avengers. So it’s understandable that Hiddleston felt the need to thank The Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon when he read the script and realized how great Loki’s part was. The following e-mail from Hiddleston is published in Joss Whedon: The Biography:
I am so excited I can hardly speak.
The first time I read it I grabbed at it like Charlie Bucket snatching for a golden ticket somewhere behind the chocolate in the wrapper of a Wonka Bar. I didn’t know where to start. Like a classic actor I jumped in looking for LOKI on every page, jumping back and forth, reading words in no particular order, utterances imprinting themselves like flash-cuts of newspaper headlines in my mind: “real menace”; “field of obeisance”; “discontented, nothing is enough”; “his smile is nothing but a glimpse of his skull” “Puny god”
Thank you for writing me my Hans Gruber. But a Hans Gruber with super-magic powers. As played by James Mason … It’s high operatic villainy alongside detached throwaway tongue-in-cheek; plus the “real menace” and his closely guarded suitcase of pain. It’s grand and epic and majestic and poetic and lyrical and wicked and rich and badass and might possibly be the most gloriously fun part I’ve ever stared down the barrel of playing. It is just so juicy.
I love how throughout you continue to put Loki on some kind of pedestal of regal magnificence and then consistently tear him down. He gets battered, punched, blasted, side-swiped, roared at, sent tumbling on his back, and every time he gets back up smiling, wickedly, never for a second losing his eloquence, style, wit, self-aggrandisement or grandeur, and you never send him up or deny him his real intelligence…. That he loves to make an entrance; that he has a taste for the grand gesture, the big speech, the spectacle. I might be biased, but I do feel as though you have written me the coolest part.
But really I’m just sending you a transatlantic shout-out and fist-bump, things that traditionally British actors probably don’t do. It’s epic.
Whedon’s response was shorter, but just as much fun:
Tom, this is one of those emails you keep forever. Thanks so much. It’s more articulate (and possibly longer) than the script. I couldn’t be more pleased at your reaction, but I’ll also tell you I’m still working on it … Thank you again. I’m so glad you’re pleased. Absurd fun to ensue.
Best, (including uncharacteristic fist bump), joss.
Isn’t it great to read about an actor who felt so totally satisfied with his character as written in the script that he felt the need to thank the writer? Especially for a huge-budget Hollywood blockbuster?