Richard E. Grant has been in so many notable franchises that it’s easy to forget him making multi-episode appearances on Doctor Who and Game of Thrones. But it’s highly unlikely anyone will forget the Oscar-nominated actor’s turn as Classic Loki in Disney+’s Loki, from his exquisite costume meant to emulate the Silver Age of the comics to his big heroic moment in Episode 5, “Journey Into Mystery.”
As a variant of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Classic Loki is meant to be similar but different from the “mischievous scamp” in key ways, and in a one-on-one interview with Collider, Grant explained how that fact, as well as a key bit of the script, affected his performance. He also revealed how he and Hiddleston had talked about potentially working together in the past (in, admittedly, a very different capacity), and his pitch for a Loki spin-off that I think we can all agree is an instant greenlight.
Collider: To start things off, what does it mean to join the MCU in this capacity? Is this something you’ve been looking forward to?
RICHARD E. GRANT: Oh yeah. I’d had experience because I was in Logan about five years ago, so I’d had a taste of what this is, but Tom Hiddleston has said to me, he said, “You know, I think that when people see Classic Loki there’s going to be a big response.” I thought that he was just blowing smoke up my fundament on the first day to make me feel better about coming into work for one episode, Episode 5, after they’d be doing it for practically a year before. Then I saw my Instagram and Twitter feed and the reviews that came out last Wednesday and I realized that he saw into the crystal ball in a way that I didn’t. So Tom was right and I stand gleefully corrected.
Did they tell you anything about the costume before you signed up?
GRANT: Yeah. They sent me the costume design with my face on it. It was the classic Loki of the Jack Kirby illustrations of the ’60s and it was a fantastic muscle suit. As you can see, I’m born without any. When I got to Atlanta and I said, “So where’s the muscle suit that I get into before I get into the green tights?” They said, “What muscle suit?” And I said, “Well, like the drawings.” They said, “No. We don’t have one for you.” And I said, “Well, I don’t have any muscles to fill this out.” And they said, “Ah, don’t worry about that.” And I said, “I do worry about that.” And I’m still worrying about that and I’m still grouching about it because I wanted those muscles.
I think you look lovely.
GRANT: Thank you.
But I love the fact that they sent you the costume design. Recently, I talked to Kate Herron and she said that you were their first choice for the role.
GRANT: Wow. I didn’t know that.
Does that surprise you, at this point in your career — that you would be the first choice on somebody’s list?
GRANT: It always surprises me, but what didn’t surprise me is that I had… Because I’ve known Tom Hiddleston socially and from his career and I’d seen him backstage at the theater and things over the decades, we’d always joked about playing father and son, because of our vague similarity in the way that we look. So, when I saw that I thought, “Oh, I’ve been cast because I have a similar physique or look to Tom.” So that’s what I thought, but I had no idea. Kate didn’t tell me that I was her first choice. People never tell you this stuff. Maybe they think you’re going to get too above yourself, but I don’t know. I wish people would tell you. I’d love to hear, so thank you for telling me that.
You’re welcome. I mean, she called you their north star.
GRANT: Aw. Thank you. She was a delight to work with.
Was there anything specifically Loki-ish that you were trying to incorporate into the performance?
GRANT: I knew that rather than Tom Hiddleston’s God of Mischief, [Classic Loki] has this line explaining his past that he is the God of Outcasts, and has been so lonely and isolated on this planet, and is willing to be arrested by the TVA in order to get back in contact with his brother, and to sacrifice himself ultimately to Asgard, I thought that was a way into the character that was not trying to imitate, because I couldn’t hope to, what Tom does so brilliantly and has done for over a decade now. So I thought that was the way into doing it.
Looking over your career, you’ve gotten to be a part of a lot of really exciting franchises, including Doctor Who and Star Wars. Is there anything else on your bucket list? Are there other franchises, and/or other fantasy costumes you want to wear?
GRANT: Classic old Loki with muscles and Alligator-dot-com, the subseries of the sub-sub-sub series. That’s what I want.
Given the audience reaction to Alligator Loki, I think that there would be a fan base for that.
GRANT: Yeah and classic Loki is the only one that can talk to him and understand him. It’s a given. It’s a scriptwriter’s dream. Get it done.
The season finale of Loki premieres Wednesdays on Disney+.
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