Owen Wilson and Tom Hiddleston aren’t strangers to time travel stories: they both starred in 2011’s Midnight in Paris. But the Woody Allen movie is a world away from what Marvel’s Loki delivers. Hiddleston’s eponymous trickster (spun out of the timeline from The Avengers) has been arrested by the Time Variance Authority and put to work hunting down another variant of himself by Wilson’s hardened Agent Mobius. The role is a stark departure for Wilson, but is nevertheless one that he shines in.
Screen Rant caught up with the actor ahead of the Loki premiere to discuss joining the MCU, bringing Mobius to life, and his take on the show’s deeper meaning.
Let’s go back to the start on your involvement with this project. Were you at all familiar with the MCU, Loki and Endgame in particular, before you took this role?
No, I wasn’t that familiar. It was really right before we started filming when I met with Tom Hiddleston, and he walked me through a lot of the mythology and explaining Loki’s full story.
That’s quite funny to me, because in the show you have a lot of expositional dialogue, and you have to explain an awful lot of what the TVA is and the world that Loki is in. Was that challenge, trying to get your head around all the things you’re saying when it was all incredibly fresh to you?
Even the stuff that Tom [told me] – we sort of joke about it being called the Loki lectures. Those were a crucial couple days that we spent, because the stuff that he said about Loki would actually work its way into some of those scenes that we had together. Because I am supposed to be an expert on Loki. But with the whole TVA, it’s always a little bit of a dance to try to make it sound not so much like exposition.
I’d like to get an idea of that, because they are gripping scenes even when you’re just in a cafeteria discussing things. How do you make dialogue scenes with Tom Hiddleston so exciting? Obviously, you’re working with Tom Hiddleston, which definitely helps.
Yeah, that helps. But I think that, we didn’t quite know, because they were long scenes that we filmed over the course of more than a few days. So, there is a little bit of, “Oh, is this gonna be compelling for people, just to watch two people sitting across from each other talking?” But I think that the script is pretty good. And then being able to sort of show him the stuff that I’m saying about his life, hopefully will make it gripping.
Mobius is a very interesting character, as a detective who’s taking Loki under his wing. How did you build that performance, because in the comics, he’s a very different sort of character. Where did you look to for inspiration?
Kate, the director, had an idea to maybe have a mustache. And then we landed on the hair being the way it was in, and then just the wardrobe and the sets. The sets, I felt like, were some of the coolest sets that I’ve ever been on. Just visually feeling that sort of Orwellian weight behind the TVA helped to kind of get into character.
It’s amazing how much of the set is real and tangible. How did that impact your experience? Because when you’re doing a Marvel project, you think green screen and high scale. But this sounds like a much more traditional and much more exciting way.
Yeah. I mean, there was greenscreen and stuff sometimes. But those sets for the TVA, even sometimes when I wasn’t working, I would come by just to take a look because they were very interesting. It had that sort of futuristic but also kind of retro [feeling] that I think Kate wanted the whole look of the show to have.
You’ve obviously worked with Tom before, so you’ve got a bit of creative history. What was it like picking up and building that dynamic? Because the relationship between you two is absolutely fascinating in the show.
I think that’s always a little bit… You never know how it’s gonna go, working with another actor. Tom and I, even with such different backgrounds, somehow we’re on the same page with how we felt the scene should go. And also just very open to if he had an idea or if we wanted to try something, and Kate encouraged us. I don’t know, it came pretty naturally.
Have you been following the release of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and the hype behind them? Has that been interesting, knowing that you’ve got Loki coming soon?
Yeah, it seemed like both of those were huge. They got so much attention and interest. I kind of noticed that early on when we were filming this, just because of all the secrecy around the stories and the wardrobe and the characters’ looks and stuff. I hadn’t worked on something where they were so protective, but then I began to appreciate how committed Marvel is to trying to surprise people. And it’s hard, because people are out there trying to – they’re very excited, and so they want to see what’s going on.
Secrecy is something that’s baked into Marvel and all this genre stuff, and it can be a challenge. Were there any points where you found it very hard to keep the secrets? Did you have any friends or family who were wanting to find that stuff out?
Yeah, I did. And sometimes, just with the wardrobe, I’m just wearing this TVA uniform. Are we really trying to hide that? But that’s what we were trying to do. I did become aware of trying not to give anything away – and there’s a lot to give away in this, so you have to be careful.
You haven’t really embraced the superhero role before, so it’s quite exciting. Would you be tempted to go back and do another superhero project in the future?
Yeah, I did enjoy being a part of this whole world. Who doesn’t want to participate in one of these MCU [films]? Because there’s – just what we’re talking about – such a passionate fan base?
Yeah, I’m sure you’re gonna get it in the next few weeks. If you could give, without any spoilers, a feel of what you personally took from this project and what you find the most exciting about it?
Kate, the director, has talked about that: that sort of gray area that you’re never quite sure if somebody is good or bad. We have that in real life, where things are sort of more complicated. And the idea of free will. Sometimes I feel like I have a lot of free will, and sometimes it feels like it was written 1000 years ago. I think that the show kind of explore some of those interesting existential themes.
Next: Loki: Every MCU Easter Egg In Episode 1
Loki releases new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+.
- Black Widow (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
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