We interviewed actor Tom Hiddleston as part of our Insider Interviews series way back in 2011, as his star was beginning to rise.
Since then, he’s become a household name courtesy of outstanding performances in THE AVENGERS, WAR HORSE, THOR, THE DEEP BLUE SEA, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and others.
Tom visited our offices to talk about his early years, his love of HEAT and the films of The Farrelly Brothers!
INDUSTRIAL SCRIPTS: So firstly, how early was it in the Hiddleston evolution that you realised you a) wanted to act and b) had some talent in that area?
TH: Oh my goodness, that’s a huge question.
IS: There are more to come.
TH: Recently, actually, when I turned 30. And I had a big 30th birthday party-
IS: It’s depressing, isn’t it?
TH: It’s depressing, yeah. And, my sister – my youngest sister- cut together a reel of footage from 1986 to 1994, which my dad had taken with his old VHS home camera, as they were, or ‘Home Entertainment Systems’ as they were called, I think, and it was really startling how much of a show-off I was as a child and I was always, forever, doing impressions and doing voiceovers of trailers of a family holiday in Canada. And I remember with my cousins I used two – I had two very shy cousins, and I would go and stay with them and they would say ‘be funny, Tom’ and I would do a little show, for them. I’m going all the way back – I don’t know if any of this is relevant in any way, but I suppose it is. And then I had other cousins, another set of cousins and when we went to stay with them, we used to stay with them for a week in the summer and we would write, stage and direct a play. Like, my sister and her kind of age contemporary in that family would write it and me and Matthew would build all the props and I would always play the baddie, incidentally. But, so, there was a lot of dressing up and acting and we would do a show at the end of the week for our parents.
But then I started doing it properly, I think, at school. I was really sort of caught by around the age of 13. It was one of the things that I did. You know how, as you’re becoming a teenager, you’re starting to become aware of your skillset. You might be an amazing footballer or you might be an amazing sprinter or you might be a painter, or you’re really good at drawing or you’re an amazing pianist or singer or something. But your talents, in a way- your natural talents- are starting to emerge and you just lean towards stuff and I just did play after play after play. And, was a cinephile, like everybody else. I think all children and teenagers are movie-lovers, in a way.
IS: So when did you realise this could possibly be a career and you had that skillset?
TH: The turning point was when I was 18, I did production of Journey’s End at the Edinburgh Festival. Which our mutual friend, Ken Thompson, was also in. And, Journey’s End itself is an extraordinary play because it’s set in a trench with a group of public school educated officers who have graduated from being captain of the rugby and the cricket team, to being captain of the company, leading a company or a battalion of men across no-man’s-land to fight the Germans. And it was just very well-staged; I don’t take responsibility for that. Everybody was impeccably cast and, somehow, without too much effort, we created a very classic production which became a huge hit at that festival. And it surprised me because I wasn’t particularly reaching for it, it just seemed to come out of me and my family – my sisters and my dad and my mum – all separately came to see it and they said ‘this is a bit different, what you’re doing now; this isn’t just showing off, this is communicating something deep and profound and you were amazing in it’. And I had such a good time, as well. And, literally, on the heels of finishing in Edinburgh, I went to Cambridge.
I started at Cambridge University, world famous for its production of directors and actors, of all kinds, and comedians and I knew there was a scene for that and the first thing I did was I found the acting community and got myself involved. And in my first year at Cambridge I was in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire playing Mitch, the Karl Malden part, and an agent and a casting director came to see it and they signed me up. And I got a job, I got my first job in an ITV adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby, playing a flunky of Dominic West’s character, who was playing Mulberry Hawk. And it was great; I had five days work and scenes with Dominic, pre-Wire, and Charles Dance and James D’Arcy and I was in; I was hooked.
And my agent, bless her, at the time- I’ve got a new agent now, at the same agency- but she said ‘Don’t leave Cambridge because it’s a very special thing and you’ll never get a chance to do it again. So what I’ll do is, I’ll look for work for you during the holidays and you can keep doing what you’re doing’. Inevitably, I never got any work in the holidays, I always got work in term-time, but somehow I managed to swing it, by some twist of fate and accident, I managed to get a First twice. I think it was probably due to some abject terror that I was going to fail because I’d spent so much time acting. And I was very bad at spinning both plates in the air at the same time. So, whenever I wasn’t acting, I was rigorously working, partly because I enjoyed it, but certainly my experience of university life wasn’t conventional, in any sense. I didn’t drink nearly enough, I didn’t party nearly enough and I was never there, because I was always off somewhere else making a television film; it was all television, mostly, that I did. And some plays, as well.
IS: Okay, you went to RADA after Cambridge…
IS: Was that a tricky decision to make?
TH: Well- well said. It was because, well because I had an agent and because I’d been working and lots of people at Cambridge were really talented, brilliant actors, were scrabbling around to get an agent and to enter the business in some way and I already had that very essential thing; somebody who could put me up for work and try and sell me to casting directors and give me a leg-up. But, really, it was working with Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave on The Gathering Storm. I asked both of them ‘What do you think I should do?’ and Vanessa said ‘You know, you’re doing tremendously and you’re very instinctive and that’s the thing that keeps you safe as an actor. So, you know, think about it’. But Albert Finney said ‘Well, the thing is, there’s no rep, there’s no repertory theatre anymore, which is really where I learnt how to act’.
Everybody back in the 60’s and 70’s, left drama school and you were taken up by a rep company and you performed one play during the week and you rehearsed another play during the day and the following week that would open. So in the course of 13 weeks, you’d have performed 13 plays and 13 parts and in a way, that was the most intensely rigorous training in very quickly reading scripts and assimilating information, building a character, working with other actors, and he (Finney) said that was the most invaluable thing of his entire career, this rep system. Now I don’t want to bemoan the loss of it- lots of actors do- but he said there isn’t this rep system anymore, so drama school really is the only replacement for that experience, where you’re free to fail, in a sense and you’re free to try new things and play parts you wouldn’t necessarily be given. And lots of people said ‘you’re 21 and you’ve got a great agent, you’ve got momentum, you shouldn’t do it’ and I thought ‘I want to be an actor for the rest of my life; what’s 3 years?’
You do learn about yourself and you learn that you are capable of playing more broadly, possibly, then you might first have imagined. Even just the experience of playing another accent or in another time period, you think ‘I didn’t know I had that in me’. So I’d like to think that my range is a lot broader, in a way. And you learn from each other, as well. I had an amazing year group; really, truly amazing. Andrea Riseborough was in my class, Andrew Buchan; Ben Whishaw was two years above me, Gemma Arterton was two years below me. It’s an extraordinary – and, of course, these people haven’t been legitimised yet; nobody’s put a rubber stamp and said ‘this person’s the next big thing’. We’re all just young people, messing around and trying stuff out, and that’s an enormously stimulating environment to be in. You can see everybody’s talent and you get behind them and you know when they’re good.
IS: Moving on to some broader questions, obviously actors live and die so often by script choices, by their choice of project and, y’know, de Niro memorably said, ‘the talent is in the choices’ –
TH: Which he got from Stella Adler.
IS: Did he really?
TH: Who was his acting teacher.
IS: There we go; wise people. So what’s your process right now, in terms of getting material in, assessing material? I mean, obviously, so many actors are looking at the part, others are looking at the director, others are looking at the material itself, some are looking at all three of those areas. I mean, if you look at an actor like DiCaprio, I would argue that he, right now, is trying to make great movies and the parts are an important consideration, but a secondary consideration to him being in great movies. That’s what I would argue. What’s your system for assessing material and then selecting?
TH: Inevitably, not all actors are in the position of being Leonardo DiCaprio and I’m sure he has the pick of the bunch when it comes to projects and directors and scripts. So, for me, y’know, at the beginning you do have to take what you’re given and the things that you fall in love with when you read them and then you audition and then you don’t get the part because they, because the producers or the director- for whatever reason, they might need a ‘name’ in order to secure the finance or they might just think that you’re not right for it. They might think you’re a great actor but you just don’t fit this particular role. So, for me, I’m in a very strange time, where it probably looks like I’ve got lots of choices to make but isn’t quite as simple as that because not everybody’s knocking on the door.
Really, with the choice that I do have, Judi Dench famously said ‘the only choice an actor has is saying no’. It’s- because I still feel like I’m growing and developing, in a way, it’s always about the experience, I think. What’s the experience going to offer me, the experience of making this film? The experience of working with the other actors in it. The experience of working with the director. Quite often, recently, the huge and, probably, the greatest pleasure in the last 18 months has been every single project has demanded my commitment to a completely other world. Or I’ve had to do something very specific, in terms of learning a new skill.
IS: In this sort of age of twitter, access all areas, it strikes me that one of trickiest balances to strike as an actor is between generating a profile for yourself and keeping out of the public eye, and retaining that mystery and that mysticism. How do you approach that? Or what’s going to be your plan to approach that, moving forward?
TH: I don’t really have a plan. I do understand exactly what you’re saying. But my instinct is to keep people guessing. I think as an actor your greatest strength is your versatility, I suppose. The blanker the canvas, the easier it is to project the illusion of a character onto it. I think there are many actors who do that very successfully.
IS: Are there particular genres of film that are more attractive to you than others? Taking it to an extreme, could you see yourself in a Farrelly brothers movie?
TH: There’s a place for the Farrelly brothers in this world. I was- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I was really early on the Judd Apatow bandwagon. I was, like, first in line for The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up and Superbad. I thought they were hysterical. And since, I kind of seek those kind of films out when they come out.
I’m such a cinephile, anyway; I’m such a lover of all kinds of movies. My double bills are kind of famous. I went to see Antichrist, Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, on a Friday night and The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds on the Saturday night and I honestly couldn’t tell you, on Sunday morning, which I enjoyed more. I enjoyed them both enormously and then the same thing happened when I was making Thor; I went to see Alice In Wonderland, Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland, one night and then I went to see A Prophet the next night…I did actually think A Prophet had the edge on Alice In Wonderland, with respect to Tim Burton.
I would love to play everything; I would love to believe that I was capable of slipping into any genre, if that were possible.
IS: Moving onto, and I’m going to attempt to pronounce it correctly, Archipelago-
IS: Can you just tell us about the film and your character?
TH: Archipelago was about improvising and the character I was playing was intensely doubtful, vulnerable, uncertain and philosophically, just with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Joanna said ‘I just want you to pull out the most vulnerable part of yourself and that’s what I want to shoot. I’m not interested in your strength’.
IS: The second time, now, that you’ve worked with Joanna Hogg. Can you tell us a bit more about that relationship and her process?
TH: Joanna was actually the first person who said ‘it’s very easy to place you in a conventional framework as an actor, a young actor. You’re going to get offered a lot of period stuff, just because of how you look and how you sound and your education but maybe a more interesting angle would be a contemporary thing, like, despite how you look and sound, you’re quite a contemporary soul. So think about that’. She gave me huge courage to steer my own boat through the waters of being in this industry.
IS: Moving on to movie at slightly the other end of the scale, Tom is Loki, the main villain in Thor. So, how ecstatic were you when this particular call came in?
TH: I was just about ready to scream and dance. It was the longest audition process I’ve ever been through.
IS: How many auditions?
TH: Three. But it was just such a long – they all took place over the course of 4 months, so my first audition was in January, my second one was in early March and my screen test was in mid-March and I finally got the phone call at the end of April. I obviously have a previous relationship with Ken; we’ve been on stage at the Donmar in a Chekov play called Ivanov, which was actually where we really got to know each other and there’s something about the collaboration of the theatre experience where all the masks come off and you really see each other, in a good way.
I’d auditioned and then he’d said ‘okay, we’re going to screen test you for Thor, for the part of Thor’ and the casting directors called up and said ‘y’know, he’s the God of Thunder so, maybe, over the next 6 weeks, you’d like to go to the gym’-
IS: Just ‘if you’d like to’, throw that out there –
TH: Yes, and I said okay, okay and I looked at the comics and this guy’s huge; he’s a man mountain and I wasn’t sure that I had it in me to get, to do that, really. I spoke to Ken and he said it wouldn’t be a bad idea. So then I spoke to the casting director and they said ‘just aim for Brad Pitt in Fight Club, then’. And I was like ‘oh, just Brad Pitt in Fight Club; that will be easy’-
IS: ‘I’ll just get, like, an 8-pack -‘
TH: Yeah, like, within minutes. But I, for the very first time in my life, I found a personal trainer and was just in the gym for three hours a day, for 6 weeks. Eating 5 meals a day and I managed to get from 178 lbs to 198 lbs, which is, I think, from 12 stone to 14 and a half stone, and I will probably never look like that again.
TH: In my contract, it was always stipulated that they could make a decision whether I should play Thor or Loki.
IS: Obviously it was Chris Hemsworth who got the role of Thor; he was even more of an unknown, possibly, than you were, in the build-up to this. What do you think he brought?
TH: I’ll tell you something about Chris; I’ve seen the film, he’s absolutely magnificent. Like, he was amazing to work with, so generous and easy-going and he is, he does have some kind of crazy genetics. As in, he’s just a physical specimen. But, in the film, actually, this is what I’d say; he’s able to sell the physicality of the part. When he brings the hammer down on the earth you believe that he can create the thunder, just because he’s so physically impressive.
IS: We’ve touched upon this before; you’ve worked with Kenneth Branagh now on quite a few occasions. Obviously, you just worked with him on Thor. Can you tell us more about that partnership, that relationship? The impact he’s had on your career, possibly your life as well?
TH: Ken is magnificent. It’s hard to even separate it now because I’ve worked with him, I think, five times in the last three years. He would never presume to be, but he has become, a kind of mentor. I’ve learnt from his approach to acting, who he is and how he is on set, the questions he asks, the, almost- the restlessness if his mind, in terms of searching out the truth of each moment.
On Wallander he was constantly saying ‘I think if I say it as written in the script, it just sounds like I’m in a generic police series. I think in life, this is what happens; I think, Tom, you should take that line, or you should ask me that question, and then I can come up with the answer. And then maybe someone else-‘ He was just really- he never takes any of it for granted. He’s always like ‘what’s the truth of the moment?’ Which in – if cinema’s about accuracy and naturalism and truth, in terms of the performance side of it, he’s second to none.
Also, the way he approached Thor and the inclusivity of his process and, he showed me the script 6 months beforehand. He knew I read the comics. He said ‘who do you think Loki is? What do you think is the most interesting aspect of the character you see in the comics? How can we earn our place in the pantheon of superhero films, or supervillains?’ And we both agreed that there were these two elements; there’s this twinkling, mischievous, devilish persona somewhere within him but there’s also a damaged brother who’s looking for his father’s approval, endlessly in the comics. You see whenever Loki loses, a speech bubble will come up above his head saying ‘It’s always Thor, isn’t it? You always care about Thor more than you care about me’. And we thought that would be interesting; let’s get inside that, expand it and bring it into the story.
TH: Everybody needs a break. Every actor needs a break. Everyone needs a little bit of belief and I think he (Branagh) believed in me.
IS: And you need people in your corner in every area of this business.
TH: And he really has taken me with him, which is the most generous thing anyone can do, really. We did Wallander, and then we did Ivanov and it was in the middle of Ivanov that he got the directing gig of Thor. And I’m sure people think that it was all very easy and, in-house, but it wasn’t at all and- because I had to prove myself to the Marvel people as well and, not just Marvel Studios, but Marvel Corporate and I’m taking on something that’s much bigger than me and much bigger than Ken. It’s a whole industry and a franchise of, the image of Marvel and what they’re trying to do and how the comics move forward. But he (Branagh) must’ve fought my corner because- that’s just the biggest gift.
IS: What can you tell us about The Avengers? I’m not sure what you can and can’t tell us or –
TH: I can’t say anything. I know it’s happening, I know they’re making it and they’re making it this summer but that’s all I can tell you.
IS: ‘Tom Hiddleston isn’t going to be near this’ or…
TH: (long silence)
IS: (laughs) Okay; I’m playing, I’m playing! Okay, fab, finally; next 3 films, all with revered and, in certain cases, iconic, directors. Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris, The Deep Blue Sea with Terence Davies and Steven Spielberg’s War Horse. Briefly, what can you tell us about each project and, also, what did you learn from each director?
TH: So, in order of shooting, Midnight In Paris came first. It’s Woody Allen’s next film. It’s opening- I think it’s the opening night gala presentation of Cannes Film Festival and the most I can say, really- Woody’s asked me to keep the really important plot details under wraps but it was enormous fun, I was there for about 3 weeks and all my stuff was with Owen (Wilson), who’s really, really great. Woody’s quite a remote director in terms of- he’s not particularly hands-on, he’s not- he’s not interested in process; as in, he’s not interested in how individual actors get to where they need to get to. He’s shooting ; he wants to shoot. But he’s fun, he’s got a real twinkle in his eye still and I think he was having a good time on this one. It’s a love song, or a love letter, to Paris. He shot it beautifully; Darius Khondji is the cinematographer. I really enjoyed it. I was on set with this master.
TH: War Horse is different. It’s the film adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s children’s novel, related in part to the massive National Theatre stage hit. But the thing about the National’s production is that all the horses were represented by these extraordinary puppets. This is absolutely literal and it’s the story of one horse, which starts off in Devon in 1912, 13, 14, with a country family, a farming family; father and mother played by Peter Mullan and Emily Watson, son played by Jeremy Irvine. You follow this horse, this horse’s trajectory, through the course of the First World War, 1914 to 1918. I play Captain James Nicholls who is the British officer, captain of the one company of the British cavalry who comes to Devon scouting for mounts, buys the horse as his own personal cavalry horse and he becomes part of British cavalry and then, we take him to France and you’re off; you’re off on the journey of the First World War.
Steven said from the outset ‘I don’t want to make Saving Private Ryan-War Horse. I’ve done that. It’s going to be different, it’s going to be poetic and romantic’. He wanted to retain the magic at the heart of Michael Morpurgo’s novel, which is very child-friendly, I suppose. Of course it’s got an epic scope and it’s got death and grief and pain in it, but it really is about family and it’s above love and he didn’t want to make it excessively violent because he wants families to go and see it together.
I mean, Steven Spielberg is a genius. That’s no secret. But working with him is one of the greatest pleasures of my life. He’s so inclusive and generous. He inspires every person on set to do their best work and that’s from stunt directors and horsemasters and his regular crew, actors. He loved being in London, I think; he loves English actors, of all kinds. He loves our tradition of performing, he loves our training, he loves our discipline and he kept saying ‘none of you have any ego, which is wonderful, because you just do it and you’re brilliant but there’s no, sort of, awful baggage attached to that’. He’s just a delight and my pleasure, my greatest pleasure- well, two things, actually. One thing was that I spent the entire film on a horse. So I had to become, in two months, an expert rider and, you know, the camera never lies. If I was rubbish on that horse, I was going to be found out. So that was just a thrill. And we went, all of us- my section of the story is, the other soldier is played by Benedict Cumberbatch and another soldier played by Patrick Kennedy, and the three of us are riding around pretending we were in Indiana Jones.
But we did cavalry charges for real and there’s something else that happens, also, when you’re doing something physical on-screen, and this is probably true of anything but I’ve never done a boxing movie but I imagine that when the movie is about a physical activity, be it, I don’t know, running or riding or boxing or skiing or something, there’s something that happens on its own; you’re just doing the thing, you’re not really acting. You’re just doing it and that’s enormously releasing, in a funny way. We did all the stunt stuff at the beginning and then we had one scene inside a very, very cosy barracks and suddenly we’re like ‘Oh my God; we’ve got to do some acting!’ because there were no horses to distract us from the machinery of the moviemaking.
TH: While I was doing that, moving onto the next one, the script for The Deep Blue Sea came along and it’s an adaptation of a Terence Rattigan play, written in the 50s, I think ’52. It’s about a woman, Hester, who is married to a High Court judge, enormously respected and distinguished and they share lots of cultural interests; they like the same music, the like the same poetry and books and art and they work well together, but you get the sense, from Rattigan’s writing and from Terence Davies’ adaptation that there has never been any passion. Do they have a sexual relationship? That’s in doubt. And she falls in love with an ex-RAF fighter pilot called Freddie Page, which is my part, and he’s everything that Collyer is not. He’s, sort of, filter-free, in that his experiences in the war have given him a freedom, an ease, especially in the 50’s, that he’s not starched or stiff; he’s loose. So if he’s happy, he’s the happiest guy in the room. If he’s angry, you don’t want to be there; if he’s depressed- All the scenes in Terrence’s adaptation of him singing in the pub and being the life and soul of the party and him having this extraordinarily open-necked, easy charm, that she’s immediately drawn to, and they have a very, very passionate affair.
Freddie’s capable, I think, of giving Hester, frankly, good sex, or any sex, for the very first time in her life. But not just that; intimacy through sex and that opens her up as a woman, in a way that she’s never even known.
IS: I hope this role will improve, or do good things for you image, with the women –
TH: (laughs) Thank you. I’m hoping the same.
IS: Like Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise. No doubt.
TH: (laughs) It’s not quite as graphic as that. It’s got it’s own English flavour and it was nice to play someone so openhearted, nice to do something that was about love.
If there’s any sort of unifying theme, in a way, it’s that you can’t legislate for the decisions your heart is going to make; your heart will lead you. I can’t wait to see it all cut together, because the relationships are all so complicated.
IS: So three very different but very valuable experiences?
TH: Well each director just gave me so much and I can’t wait to see them.
IS: It strikes me, and I hope you take this a compliment, that in the offices of casting directors across the industry and in producer’s offices as well, there’ll be kind of an element of debate; is Tom Hiddleston going to be a major character actor or, possibly, a major star? Or both? And it’s perhaps tricky for you to answer this, but how do you view your own position within the whole filmmaking business and process, because there has to be some kind of plan, I guess, and people do tend to gravitate towards one or t’other?
TH: Really good question. It’s always so hard to see yourself, anyway, as an actor. It’s incredibly hard to watch your own work and then, secondarily, it’s very hard to place yourself.
IS: I guess a simpler question is, do you have aspirations to be that leading man?
TH: Absolutely, I’d love to, yeah. But it’s really about the work, in a way. You can’t control the perception of yourself. You can’t even control that in your own life, let alone in the industry. I think that it’s a classic thing of leading actors always want to be seen as character actors and character actors always want the chance to lead.
IS: Okay. Do you have aspirations in other areas of the business? Writing, directing, producing?
TH: I think, further down the line, absolutely. I’m fascinated by tone and by pace and how a camera can tell a story and how the movement of a camera and the image works in conjunction with the performance, or a collection of performances to make you feel a certain way, as an audience member.
IS: Finally, you’ve done –
TH: (sound of pouring water) Sorry. That’s not me – that’s some water.
IS: That’s not Tom Hiddleston weeing. You’d argue, possibly, that acting is the most competitive, most congested area, of the most competitive business; what advice would you give to actors out there? Young actors, coming up?
TH: Good. I would say to be more courageous than you imagine about what you have to give, as in, to know yourself, know your taste, know your experience. Have a good long think about what you have to bring to the table and then be ruthless in persuading people that that’s what that is. I think it took me a while to learn that.
When I first left drama school, I walked into meetings saying ‘Well, what do you want? I can be whatever you want’ and then it took me a while to understand, to just know what I am and to say ‘This is what I can bring and I’d love to do it if you do and if you don’t, that’s fine’
I think it really is that thing of a little bit of self-knowledge, a little bit of humility, punctuality, and a willingness to be flexible, to yield, to work with the methodologies of the other professionals; if the director has a particular process then, go for it. David Fincher wants you to do 40 takes? Do 40 takes. If Clint Eastwood wants you to do 2, do 2, and be ready for that. But, really, I think, just to be- to nurture your own confidence and make it real; don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.
IS: Okay, quickfire round.
TH: Okay, this is quickfire. My goodness.
IS: Favourite ever film?
IS: Favourite role to date? It’s your favourite role to date?
IS: Do you have a favourite screenwriter?
TH: Can I get three? Michael Mann, Simon Beaufoy, Tom Stoppard.
IS: Favourite director?
IS: Favourite performance by an actor?
TH: Daniel Day-Lewis, Last Of The Mohicans
IS: Oh, interesting! We had Day-Lewis last time, but in My Left Foot.
TH: Or Pacino in Heat.
IS: Okay. Favourite TV show?
TH: Of all time? Does that include British comedy? Oh my God; favourite TV show? Fawlty Towers and 24.
IS: Michael Mann or Martin Scorsese?
TH: Michael Mann.
IS: Shane Meadows or Ken Loach?
TH: Ken Loach.
IS: Pacino or de Niro?
IS: Carey Mulligan or Emma Watson?
TH: Oh, it’s – interesting. Gosh. Um, Carey Mulligan.
IS: Burger or fish and chips?
IS: Last film you saw?
TH: The last film I saw at the cinema was Unknown. The last film I saw was on an aeroplane, was You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.
IS: How about last film you loved?
TH: I see so many films. The Fighter. I saw it twice in one day; it was incredible. It’s all about The Fighter.
IS: Last film you loathed?
TH: Last film I loathed? This is touchy, because it’s got lots of very talented people involved – Scott Pilgrim.
IS: Your filmic guilty pleasure; is there a movie that is, perhaps, derided, but you think it has significant merits? Maybe it’s so bad it’s good?
TH: Jackass 3D.
IS: Brilliant. Your dream dinner party guests? You can select four, anyone from history.
IS: Yeah. You’re cooking.
TH: Good. It’s probably going to be spaghetti bolognese. Anyone from history? Plato. Shakespeare. Rita Hayworth –
IS: Great choice.
TH: And Jeff Bridges.
IS: That’s a great choice.
TH: We’d have a lot to talk about.