Tom Hiddleston stars as the God of Mischief, Loki, for the third time when he stars alongside Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman in Thor: The Dark World. Despite his nefarious antics in the films, Loki has developed a cult among fans who can't get enough of his villainous deeds. Promoting the new Thor film, Hiddleston sat down with Entertainment Weekly to explain what he thinks makes Loki such a beloved character, despite his sinister antics.

Hiddleston steals the show as Loki

Thor: The Dark World opened in US cinemas on Friday, 8 November, after already making an impact in the international market, and already the film looks like a dead certain to finish as the weekend's top film, something that Hiddleston will have a considerable influence in. Already, the film has been given a mixed reception from critics, but most agree that it is Hiddleston who is the real star of the show, and it is he who has won most of the plaudits. In his interview with EW, he tried to explain what it was that made Loki such a well-loved character.

"There is this old phrase that 'the devil plays all the best tunes.' There is a kind of freedom to being bad, an embracing of one’s most rebellious instincts," the actor said in regards to why we love characters we are supposed to hate. "The idea that essentially order and chaos exist inside every human being and mostly – rightly — we behave ourselves. When you play a bad guy, you sort of cut loose from that sense of propriety."

Read our review of Thor: The Dark World

He went on to explain how interesting it is to play a character with nefarious tendencies, rather than a noble character like Thor. He said, "I think most actors see acting as a kind of 3-D psychology, the study of people, the study of human nature. We find motivations and people’s emotional and psychological makeup to be fascinating, I know I do. Villains are challenging because they provide such fascinating case studies. You’re presented with a villain and the first question is – 'What do they want? Why are they villainous?' So in Loki’s case, that answer is complex. He has a broken heart. He is grief stricken, bitter, lonely, sad, angry, ambitious, jealous and proud — and yet, he has a charm and a playfulness and a mischief. It’s a combination of factors I think. It’s that surface charm, that surface playfulness I think is appealing."

Watch the trailer for Thor: The Dark World

"There’s a delight in that. And it’s worth mentioning that Thor has always been the God of Thunder and Loki has been the God of Mischief and in a way in this film, this is my most wholehearted acceptance of mischief as a shape. He is this great chess master, he has this straight poker face, but occasionally the audience is allowed to see a flicker of truth, emotional truth. I hope that’s an access point and again I hope it just deepens his sense of humanity," Hiddleston continued, discussing his Loki character in further depth. "I remember I looked up mischief in the dictionary and the first entry is 'an inclination to playfulness, a desire to tease.' And then actually further down the line, like entry No. 5 is 'destruction and damage.' So you have this one word 'mischief' which encompasses all these things and that’s the role I’m playing. So it’s my job to turn up on set and have a great time and I hope that’s something that’s appealing, you know Loki’s having a good time and so am I."

As moviemakers continue to look towards villains, rather than heroes, to base their films around, Tom went on to discuss why he thinks we are so attracted to villains on the big screen. He explained, "In the cinematic landscape, I do think Heath Ledger’s performance [as The Joker in The Dark Knight] changed the game. He certainly changed it for me. I’ve never seen such an electrifying performance before or since. There was something incredibly compelling about that film because of his performance in it. The Joker is an anarchist and you don’t get a sense of motivation, you don’t even get a sense of a kind of a vulnerable person underneath that mask, it’s just a maniac for chaos. Loki is much more controlled and much more vulnerable and he’s much more of an intellect and this idea of the shapeshifter."

Thor: The Dark World is in cinemas now.

Chris Hemsworth Natalie Portman
Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman also star in the film