Tom Hiddleston talks Shakepeare’s Henry and Thor's Loki

Exclusive: Hiddleston compares Prince Hal and Avengers villain

Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Prince Hal in the BBC’s The Hollow Crown is currently being slathered with praise, and we've spoken to The Avengers actor about his latest Shakespearean role.

The Hollow Crown is BBC Two’s ambitious collection of Shakespeare’s history plays, comprising Richard II, Henry IVParts 1 & 2, and Henry V. Hiddleston is Prince Hal, a central player who goes on to become – SPOILER! – Henry V.

When we recently caught up with the Asgardian outcast, he spoke about the challenges of the role, and even compared Prince Hal to Loki.

What was it like filming Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 and Henry V?

"It’s so ambitious, what we’re trying to do. I did it Benjamin Button-style, in reverse order. So I started with the end of Henry V and slowly worked backwards.

"So before Christmas we shot the battle of Agincourt, and after Christmas we shot pre-Agincourt, and then I had a day off and went to the end of Henry IV, where Hal rejects Falstaff. And my last day on Henry IV is the opening scenes in the pub when he’s the most rebellious."

Sounds hard to get your head round…

"But I feel it’s kind of interesting, because, in character, I’m shedding responsibility as I go. So I started with the weight of war on my shoulders, the lessons that he learns about leadership and about war and kingship, and I end with the smiles and laughter of rebellion."

Do you see any parallels between Prince Hal and Loki?

"Well, it’s fathers and sons. Henry IV [Jeremy Irons] and Hal have a very testy relationship – it’s quite mutually fractious. It’s that classic thing of a powerful, commanding father at loggerheads with his eldest son, who’s the only person with his middle finger raised to his father’s authority.

"It’s that classical mythological trope of, in order for the son to become a man, he must first kill his father – not literally, but metaphorically – and that’s what Hal’s doing.

"You’ve got a dynastic family running a kingdom, with a very powerful father and a very rebellious son, so I’m really feeling the parallels between Odin and Loki and Henry IV and Hal. I’m flexing the same muscles."

The final part of The Hollow Crown, Henry V, airs on BBC Two at 8pm on Saturday 21 July 2012.

Have you been watching The Hollow Crown? Drop your thoughts below...


    • bryonymounter

      Jul 16th 2012, 13:24

      Everything about this series has been spectacular; the setting, the costume, the direction, editing, the acting... All aspects enhance and play off of each other and make it a wonderful production. Well done on the BBC, Shakespeare should always be done this way.

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    • daftvamp

      Jul 16th 2012, 13:30

      Tom is unutterably fantastic in The Hollow Crown & I cannot wait to see Henry V next weekend. He's been such a pleasure to watch bringing Shakespeare to life. =]

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    • flaviajurca

      Jul 16th 2012, 15:21

      The whole world needs to acknowledge what a tremendously talented actor Tom Hiddleston is. I for one am a bit disappointed to see that so many fans are stuck drooling over his looks or other surface things. Sure, Tom is an incredible sample of humanity and DNA at its best, but let's just stop and appreciate his craft and the fact that he doesn't stop at "does my hair look good in this scene, is my frown epic enough?" I am not saying I condemn those who drool at Tom - I myself am not blind. But our screens are full of hot-looking people... only trouble is, so few of them are really beautiful, inside and out. I honestly hope the movie and theater industry recognize Tom's efforts sooner rather than later. God bless you, Tom, for all the wonderful thing's you've brought to life and shared with us.

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    • flaviajurca

      Jul 16th 2012, 15:22

      gah, i meant to write "things" , not "thing's", fuuuuuu, I know there is no apostrophe in there.

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    • annyschaphoff

      Jul 16th 2012, 15:53

      I quote myself from facebook: Overwhelmed after watching Henry IV Part II! The power, the passion of the actors... a tour de force!! If these standards are upheld in Henry V - and there is every reason to believe they will be, with young Hiddleston playing the lead - then viewers, take care, it will not be for the faint of heart. Can't wait! Can't wait for Thor 2, either :-)

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    • Ali1748

      Jul 16th 2012, 16:22

      I still can't believe that Tom was robbed of the Orange Bafta award.

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    • danaesil

      Jul 16th 2012, 16:27

      Tom Hiddleston is impressive in his role as Prince Hal, hopefully very soon broadcast in Latin America!

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    • nomadicsoul1965

      Jul 18th 2012, 7:30

      I really wish I could see some of the other things that Tom Hiddleston has acted in! I am in the US and am having a very hard time locating the films he has been in. There are a few things available for purchase online. But most of the films I have seen offered are for the UK region only. :(

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    • lairaj

      Jul 19th 2012, 11:25

      I remember getting up one morning, dragging myself into the living room, then instantly waking up at the sight of the Radio Times front cover, which had a promotional cover for the Hollow Crown. I love shakespeare, but I have to say that I was particularly interested to see Tom Hiddleston in the role. I think the series has been astounding so far. I have watched the first episode twice already, once for entertainment and a second time to pick it apart. I think Tom fills the role wonderfully. He compares the character with Loki in several interviews, but what I find interesting is that he managed to keep them separate, and to learn all those lines! Give the man awards!

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