Tom Hiddleston is talking about a love affair he’s had since he was a young boy growing up in Westminster, London. The more he talks about this great love, the more his words reveal how deep his love goes.
It’s not often you hear someone talk with such commitment about being in love with a giant ape.
“I’ve loved King Kong since I was a child and being in any iteration of the Kong myth was so exciting to me,” Hiddleston, who stars in “Kong: Skull Island,” says.
There have been numerous versions of the Kong story, but Hiddleston fell in love when he saw the 1933 black-and-white version. He thinks his love of the creature came out of a natural excitement all youngsters have for nature. And, Kong is really big nature.
Although “King Kong” is classified as a monster movie, Hiddleston was more excited by the adventure behind the story. The idea of how human beings would react and act when put on an undiscovered island facing a beast the likes they have never seen before fascinated him. That fascination helped when it became time to join the “King Kong” legacy.
Hiddleston was working on “Crimson Peak” in March 2014 when he was approached by Thomas Tull about a new project. He was already excited about the “Godzilla” movie that Tull and his team had made. Tull told Hiddleston that he was making a new King Kong movie and that Hiddleston should come see him once his work with “Crimson Peak” wrapped.
The British actor was intrigued by the idea of getting to play an adventurer who travels to a mysterious island where he confronts a giant ape. Because Hiddleston was brought into the project so early, he was able to work with the writers and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts on creating the character of James Conrad.
What they ended up creating is a man who starts out in a world-weary place but through his close encounters of the banana-breath kind finds a new respect for the power and majesty of the natural world. The film is another twist in the changing career of Hiddleston that’s taken him from the comic book movie world as Loki in the “Thor” movies to the country music biopic of “I Saw the Light.”
He won a Golden Globe and picked up an Emmy nomination for his work in the limited TV series “The Night Manager.”
But it was his portrayal of the trouble-making Loki in “Thor” that put a spotlight on Hiddleston. He reprises the role in “Thor: Ragnarok” scheduled to be released this summer.
Although Loki causes big problems, Hiddleston passes on comparing Kong to Loki.
“Loki is the god of mischief. Whether or not he’s a monster is not for me to say,” Hiddleston says.
Although the central story of “Kong: Skull Island” is the adventurous tale of man vs. beast, the script by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein brushes up against the 1979 film “Apocalypse Now,” based on the book “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad (the same last name as Hiddleston’s character).
“Skull Island” unfolds at the end of the Vietnam war with a military operation into the unknown. Hiddleston likes that the movie is set in 1973 because it was both a time of political turmoil and before the technology boom.
The film could have been set in 1773, 1873 or 2073 and Hiddleston still would have jumped at the chance to be in the film because it gave him a chance to be near one of his first loves.