Interview conducted by Chris Mirjahangir at JW Marriott Los Angeles LA Live on February 17th, 2017. Warning - small spoilers contained!
Links to other interviews from this session:
• Jordan Vogt-Roberts
• Max Borenstein
• Jason Mitchell
• John Goodman
• Tom Hiddleston
Mirjahangir: So you were cast a year and a half prior to everything. That allowed you to kind of hone your character but did it also go into the script as well? Did you have a say in how the creatures should be?
Hiddleston: Well I wouldn't want to take credit for that but I was included. I love being included in development conversations cause I think it helps give me a deeper investment in the big picture and Jordan and I talked a lot. He was very inventive about new original action. The helicopter ride, the bone yard sequence, all of those visuals, the gas mask samurai, and then the swamps at Vietnam in the end. As we were constructing these new jigsaw puzzle pieces of action sequences we didn't want to lose the spine of the movie which was about myth and about the power and majesty of the natural world, and the theme that the arrogance of man is thinking that our intrusions are helpful and sometimes they are not. The natural world already exists in its own harmonious balance and quite often mankind throws that balance off kilter and that was the spine of our film.
Mirjahangir: So have you seen all the Kong films? I remember during the set visit you said you hadn't seen the Japanese ones did you watch those yet?
Hiddleston: Yeah, I should. I've seen clips of them online.
Mirjahangir: Which clips? The King Kong Vs. Godzilla ones?
Hiddleston: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mirjahangir: What did you think?
Hiddleston: I think they're great, I mean... just like... they're so entertaining! Jordan and Brian love that stuff!
Mirjahangir: Did you see the part were Kong shoves that tree down Godzilla's throat because he's tired of getting hit by that beam?
Hiddleston: Yeah that's right!
Mirjahangir: So, the military training.
Mirjahangir: How was that for you?
Hiddleston: I really enjoyed it! There's something about the formal discipline of it that rubs off on you a little bit. You start to feel more capable and it's as much about mental discipline as it is about physical discipline. I hasten to add I've never trained as a soldier but these are just small steps towards it and I enjoyed it. It was a different challenge to be as physically fit as that and it gives you an insight into the internal rigor that soldiers have to have. They're always ready. I enjoyed that.
Mirjahangir: Was it pretty extensive? I'm thinking Keanu Reeves “John Wick” style? Did you go and do it that way?
Hiddleston: It was more piecemeal. I trained in England with some former British Royal Marines and that was simply just very heavy work outs and different kinds of them. Metcon, cross training, running, resistance and all that stuff. When I got to Hawaii I trained at a military base and I got taken through Weapons training with M-16's, AK-47's, etc. How to shoot it, how to load it, how to carry it, how to travel with it, how to hold it and all those stuff that for these characters would be second nature. That always gives you, you hope, a layer of authenticity to what you're doing.
Mirjahangir: Do you remember your first day on set and what that was like, you know, shooting a Kong film?
Hiddleston: It was amazing. We were in the helicopters and, have I told you this story?
Hiddleston: It was Brie, myself, and Thomas Mann, in our helicopter and because they needed to get the cameras very close, the helicopter, it was rigged onto a gimbal...it was on a joint so that it was able to move as if we were in the storm and then every character had a moment where they saw Kong for the first time. Jordan was great he was playing music throughout the takes so as the helicopter was going through the storm, he would play sections of “Gimme Shelter”, or “Fortunate Son”, or “I Can't Get No Satisfaction”, or something to give you that sense of the 70's flavor and then on the other side of the storm is the serenity of the island which is what strikes people.
Mirjahangir: I'm gonna throw a fun one at you. Hypothetical. Two monsters. How would Loki go up against Kong and how would he do it against Godzilla if he were to take them on one by one?
Hiddleston: Ahh... goodness! Um... I think he'd be flattened by Kong in a second. Although, if he was on one of those, like, aerial Chitauri carts from The Avengers he might be pretty nifty? Kong would probably try to swat him like an irritating insect.
Mirjahangir: He would get some shots in at least.
Hiddleston: Yeah! Who knows if he had his scepter if he'd do any damage but let's face it in the show down with The Hulk he didn't come out on top and I don't think he's gonna have much luck with Kong.
Mirjahangir: And even with Godzilla...
Hiddleston: I think they both got him you know? If it's Loki up against Godzilla and Kong I think there's no more Loki. That's a death he doesn't come back from.
Mirjahangir: I got to say the Thor movies are my favorite because they're so out there and visual. With Captain America you kind of know what you're getting but the Thor ones are different. I remember that Rainbow Road?
Hiddleston: The Rainbow Bridge?
Mirjahangir: The Rainbow Bridge and I kept thinking of Mario Kart!
Hiddleston (laughing): Yeah, yeah, yeah like you said Rainbow Road! Yeah!
Mirjahangir: You've played the game? You know what I'm talking about?
Hiddleston: Yeah I have! Yeah!
Mirjahangir: I remember a scene where you and Brie are running from Kong and she stops and takes a photo of Kong and that's not in the film. Are there more like that?
Hiddleston: Yes it is in the film!
Mirjahangir: Is it?
Mirjahangir: Where she stops and takes a photo? I must have missed it.
Hiddleston: Yup! It's just before the dawn breaks at the end and they've woken up the big one as John C. Reilly calls it. It’s just that Jordan keeps the camera far back. It’s a wide so it doesn't punch in so you don’t get closeup coverage.
Mirjahangir: Ok yeah because I remember you guys running past these potted plants.
Hiddleston: That’s right! Yeah!
Mirjahangir: Were there any other scenes that you shot that are not in there?
Hiddleston: There is a scene where Kong bats away one of the Hueys and it comes towards us and it rolls over me and Brie. I don't know why it's not there I think it's just a running time situation.
Mirjahangir: It's kind of like Godzilla where they hatchet it at two hours and that's it.
Hiddleston: I'm sure they'll be lots of extra scenes on the DVD.
Mirjahangir: Jordan said he's doing some. He doesn't like it but there are people that you got to placate but he's going to try and do an audio commentary with you guys he told me.
Hiddleston: That will be fun because we got so many stories!