Tom Hiddleston talks about his daddy issues and (what else?) Shakespeare

Tom Hiddleston is still talking about Shakespeare. Seriously. If you were interviewing him, all you would have to do is put your tape recorder in front of him and say, “Shakespeare. Go.” Tonight, PBS airs The Hollow Crown, so Hiddleston is doing some last-minute shilling for the series, perhaps wanting a Golden Globe nomination? That’s very cynical of me, I know. And it’s not keeping with Tom’s utter earnestness either. He’s promoting the hell out of The Hollow Crown because he promotes the hell out of everything he gets. Tom is a team player, a master shiller, a company man. I think I might actually watch it tonight just based on how hard Tom sings for his supper. Anyway, Tom has a new interview. It’s all about Shakespeare.

Tom Hiddleston feels most alive when he’s performing Shakespeare.

“I don’t know why I do,” said the 32-year-old British actor. “But it does reconnect me to my own breath and my own capacity as a human being to feel anything and to have any courage or inspiration or hope or relationship with my family, politics and sexual self-possession. Everything, in a way.”

In fact, Hiddleston added, he even sees his mercurial supervillain Loki in 2011′s “Thor,” 2012′s “The Avengers” and the upcoming “Thor: The Dark World” to be inspired by Shakespeare.

“When I was constructing him with ['Thor' director] Ken Branagh — because Shakespeare is a shared passion and shared inheritance — we talked about the reference,” noted Hiddleston. “He’s kind of like Edmund in ‘King Lear,” Iago in ‘Othello’ or Cassius in ‘Julius Caesar.’ So I was borrowing archetypes from my knowledge of Shakespeare.”

And now he is bringing to life a real Shakespearean character — the wayward youth Prince Hal, who becomes the warrior king Henry V — to the small screen in the lavish four-part series “The Hollow Crown,” which begins airing Friday on PBS’ “Great Performances.”

The series, which was telecast last year on BBC Two just before the London Summer Olympics, features four historical plays by the Bard — “Richard II,” starring Ben Whishaw in the title role; “Henry IV,” Parts I and II, which in addition to Hiddleston stars Jeremy Irons as Henry IV and Simon Russell Beale as Hal’s debauched, vain and earthy companion Falstaff; and “Henry V.”

“I was proud when we aired in England,” Hiddleston said during a recent visit to Los Angeles. “It was a real moment of national pride and also a national declaration of identity. The Olympics being in London fostered an amazing kind of a soul-searching examination by the whole country of who are we now.”

“The Hollow Crown” marks the first time that all four plays have aired on PBS since the BBC’s “Shakespeare Plays” series more than 30 years ago.

Hiddleston, who played “Henry V” when he was a student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, relished the opportunity to go from a callow young man denying his father to becoming a powerful monarch.

“To me, the shape of the relationship with the father was very familiar,” said Hiddleston. “He wouldn’t mind me telling you, but my father and I had big set-tos when I was in my teens. Then I realized my friends were having the same problems.” As a teenager, he said, “you start to test your limits and start to question the authority of your father, because he is the primary masculine influence in your life and you are probably destined to turn into him.”

Hiddleston found Hal’s development very moving and inspiring, “because it’s actually a journey of accepting responsibility and understanding that responsibility is power and power is responsibility. It is the shedding of a skin, a loss of innocence and an acceptance of his capacity as a man and a king.”

Because of scheduling, Hiddleston “aged backward” by filming “Henry V” before playing Prince Hal.

“It was interesting, because the role required such different things from me at different times,” he said. “I quite enjoyed the responsibility of playing the king. As I shed the responsibility and became the prince, I missed the grown-up, but I also felt very free in a way because Henry V is so serious. It was a release to be able to smile and enjoy myself after all the heaviness and seriousness.”

And doing “The Hollow Crown” was the catalyst for Hiddleston’s return to the London stage after a five-year absence. He’s in rehearsals at the Donmar Warehouse to play the title role in “Coriolanus,” which opens for a two-month engagement in early December. He ends the interview on a quote from that play: “Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight with hearts more proof than shields.”

[From The LAT]

Question: does Tom have daddy issues? That just occurred to me. “He wouldn’t mind me telling you, but my father and I had big set-tos when I was in my teens… you start to test your limits and start to question the authority of your father, because he is the primary masculine influence in your life and you are probably destined to turn into him.” I want to know more about this. If Tom has daddy issues, that brings another dimension to so much of his try-harding and his earnestness. It changes the dynamic he has with Benedict Cumberbatch too (“papa can you hear me?!!?!”).

Here’s the trailer for The Hollow Crown:

Promotional images courtesy of PBS/BBC and ‘The Hollow Crown’.

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56 Responses to “Tom Hiddleston talks about his daddy issues and (what else?) Shakespeare”

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  1. Sixer says:

    You ladies are in luck.

    After reconnecting with my own breath after reading about PuddleTom reconnecting with his (did he really say that? Really?) – I am orff to a meeting. So I won’t be around to moan further.

    He’s right about how the Hollow Crown was received here though. It was all lovely and wonderful and prideful and everyone loved it.

    PS: If you call in, Miss Jane, I left you an apology on yesterday’s PuddleTom post.

  2. T.Fanty says:

    In his defence, he is promoting Shakespeare. And bonus picture of the leather jerkin. That said, the first passage reconnected me to my eye roll.

    Tom SCREAMS Daddy issues. I firmly believe that his neediness stems from an old-fashioned, disapproving father.

    • Miss Jupitero says:

      No shit Sherlock. Didn’t *everybody* pick up on this, like, two years ago? Desperation for approval is the cornerstone of TommyAnnE’s personality.

      Look, now he is crying again…..

    • j.eyre says:

      He’s outright said it – his father did not want him to go into acting, said it was a waste of his mind and education and that when he first got recognized for acting – the Olivier nomination or something – his father finally said “oh, you may be on to something.” And don’t forget he’s still ticked about the divorce.

      I think the main component of his relationship with Branagh is Branagh is serving as a surrogate father who encourages him.

      • icerose says:

        I agree he has never kept a secret about his father not wanting him to go into acting but the fact that he talks about so openly in public usually means that it is done and dusted and the emotions have been worked through. To me its just part of his openness. Ken was definitely a mentor but that is not unusual especially in something like acting. Mentoring is pretty common at the beginning of a career and does not necessarily mean you need constant reinforcing. Its often about making decisions and developing as a person

    • flower says:

      Absolutely agree. He needs the constant reinforcement and approval and now he’s got it from the fangirls.

    • I Choose Me says:

      Good gawd, I’m an unapologetic Hiddles defender but that line had me actually, literally reconnecting my face to my palm. I couldn’t wait to scroll down to read the inevitable snark and I was not disappointed.

      That said, those red leather pics are yum.

      *Hi Jane. Sneaks up for a hug*

    • drea says:

      Ha, that first part’s going to be rolling out snowclones for a while. It reconnects me with my *head desk*.

  3. mel says:

    I’m digging the third picture.

    Hawt in a nerdy British way.

    And he has such a lovely voice. He should do some audio porn. I’d run listening to Tom Hiddleston audio porn.

  4. Here or there says:

    The series was excellent. Regardless of your opinion of TH, he does deliver a great performance.

  5. Chrissy says:

    He probably does have some daddy issues because I recall him saying he had a hard time with his parent’s divorce.
    “I think I started acting because I found being away at school while my parents were divorcing really distressing.”

    • icerose says:

      A lot of men have daddy issues but it does not equate to needy but I do not see him as needy anyway. I remember Jeremy Irons saying how open he is and sounded genuinely fond of him. He goes places on his own, people always seem to like him and apart from one or two blogs like here you very rarely hear anything nasty about him, he has a successful career, is respected by his colleagues, loves what he does and gives it a lot of thought. He seems to have a loving family despite the divorce. I would love to be in his shoes. But yes he likes praise -most of us do if we are honest. So needy just does not work for me.

  6. Sharra55 says:

    I’m sorry…did he say anything? All I saw was leather! And scruffy beard! And Leather!

  7. Tish says:

    Well of course he’s talking about Shakespeare, he’s promoting a television series that is Shakespeare.

    Jeremy Irons and Ben Whishaw aren’t available for even a brief interview? Why is he doing all the work? Maybe he volunteered. But man, where are the others?

    Aww. Daddy issues. So he has seperated parents while Cumby’s parents are still together and living the country life. Hmmmm.

    • Samtha says:

      Exactly! Can’t fault him for talking about Shakespeare while promoting something based on…Shakespeare’s work.

    • icerose says:

      The Capa project with Hayley Atwell has fallen through or is on hold,its a bit unclear, so he has a break in his schedule. Only 3% of actors actually work constantly. The next 11% its somewhere between 75-90% 0f the time and it tends to go in bursts

      To be honest I love Ben Wishaw but PR work is not his forte. He has got better recently but some of his Cloud Atlas interviews made me want to just give him a big hug. Jeremy Irons is probably busy and he admits that the PR side is not something he enjoys and the rest are not known well enough in the USA to make an impact

      One or two American reviews are coming through already and along with all the cast he is receiving praise.

  8. ZAK says:

    He still does nothing for me, looks wise I mean.

  9. mslewis says:

    I’ve already set my DVR to tape this series and I’m looking forward to seeing it. Richard II is my favorite King and I hope this one is as good as the one with Derek Jacobi from years ago.

    Anyway, I think Tom Hiddleston sounds like most British Shakespearian actors when they talk about his plays. He’s very earnest and serious but I think he’s sincere and I doubt he still has daddy issues. It’s just that Prince Hal had major daddy issues and that might rub off a bit on the actors playing him.

  10. janie says:

    This should be fun to watch & let the old imagination run wild! Lol!

  11. Ginger says:

    I adore Shakespeare but even I’m getting tired of Tom talking about it…next! But these photos…whew! I do love a lanky, cute British man! As for the Hollow Crown, it looks right up my alley but not just for Tom, the entire cast looks fantastic. I’m setting up my DVR now!

  12. Algernon says:

    He can reconnect me to my breath at any time.

  13. flower says:

    His dad sounds like he saw through Tom’s nonsense at an early age and he understood that acting isn’t a stable career (which it isn’t unless you are lucky to hit it big). His father sounds like he has some good common sense. Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during one of their arguments. As for the daddy issue thing, oh yeah I think he does. Oh father where are thou and I think he’s closer to his mother.

    As for the constant mention of the Bard, so boring. I hope that while he’s banging some girl he has something other than a long dead playwright to talk about lol.

    I am one of those fans who never finished watching the Hollow Crown and don’t have the energy or the time to get into Mr Shakes just because Tom has a fanboy crush on him.

  14. flower says:

    Also I realize he mentioned Mr Shakes because of the promotion of the Hollow Crown in this interview, but he mentions the dude in every interview. No matter if it’s for Thor or for the pirate fairy or about the cookie monster. He always looks for some connection, no matter how faint to keep chattering on to elapse the time someone could ask him a non Shakes question. Or as someone once told me he throws those quotes about Shakes around to make himself look smarter.

    If the legend is true and Shakes really was a low born, uneducated, fall down drunk who didn’t write the plays himself it makes it all the more hilarious regarding Hiddles and his hero worship of the guy. One day I would like to see his opinion on that theory, no holds barred.

      • icerose says:

        I really love the collider interview. It has more depth in it. The one above has been floating around for about a week and is very much PR. In terms of the anon question which people seem to get so worked about it he did drop it into a recent interview. He just said something like “whoever wrote those plays” so he is probably on the fence and from the sounds of it not that bothered. I feel a bit like that myself although I lean towards a group effort but in the end I love the plays and do not care who wrote them. I would add the link but it was a verbal one and it will take me ages to find it .I just remember raising an eyebrow when he said it.

      • icerose says:

        one of the best bits for me in the Collider interview is his use og the quote”I am not yet of Percy’s mind, the Hotspur of the north, he that kills me some six or seven dozen Scots at a breakfast, washes his hands, and says to his wife, ‘Fie upon this quiet life! I want work.’”" I love that line and he does it really well imitating Percy’s accent.
        The meta critic review score is coming back at 90 which is pretty good

    • icerose says:

      Brannagh used Shakespeare to inform Thor 1 and Tom does use his works to inform other roles. Jim Jarmusch used Hamlet to describe some of Adams characteristics in his new film. I find it refreshing and with Coriolanus coming up I am pretty sure he is in Shakespeare mode anyway. It beats some of the promotional stuff that circulates before a film.

      • Portia says:

        @Icerose: I heard him say that in a recent interview too, about “whoever wrote those plays.” It was a TIFF one, that’s all I remember about it. I think he doesn’t particularly care about the authorship as much as he cares for the content of the plays themselves. He wants to steer clear of the author debate because I think like you, he doesn’t care that much about it but absolutely loves the plays to pieces. And honestly, unless it’s a unanimous academic decision to say Shakespeare didn’t write the plays, how else is one supposed to refer to them apart from Shakespeare’s plays?

  15. Mary-Rose says:

    His daddy issues expalins his neediness for fame and hitting it big time It’s like he’s trying to prove that he’s good enough- he just needs to realise he is Without being in your face at times ( sorry tommyanna , as much as I like you, sometimes it is too much)
    Anyway dressed in a Red leather jacket as prince Hal I’m going to oogle over because I can! Lol

  16. Esmerelda says:

    Poor Hiddles! No new projects, so he’s stuck with promoting a year old one. Winshaw and Irons and Kinnear moved on already…
    Anyway, he looks different on these pics, more buff… I do not approve, he looks better when he’s skinny.

  17. iskra says:

    Is it me or are there more of you who find this guy utterly boring?

  18. Side-Eye says:

    I don’t get the beard hype. He looks like a little boy/twink of something trying to be hard. Maybe it’s the outfight. He looks nice with it when he’s in a suit, but the leather? Nghh…

  19. Caroline says:

    I believe he is a classic ENFP personality type. And one definite trait of that is wanting to be liked.
    He has had some time on his hands because he has been seen at the cinema on several occasions. Alone. I wonder if he likes going alone or just can’t seem to russle up a date.

  20. St says:

    Oh God Tom – please, just stop. It’s not even funny anymore. It’s just boring. You are turning on boring celebrity.

  21. Naddie says:

    I wonder if he’s ever gone to therapy. Every interview I see is like I’ve seen it before, this can not be healthy. Anyway, I still like him, a little bit too much for my own sake.

  22. Mary-Rose says:

    @ Flower No I haven’t , I’m only going by what I’ve read on Susannah (on her twitter and interviews shes done) maybe Jane is nice- I don’t know or care.
    I just thought TommyAnna and Susannah looked cute together. That’s all.
    I’m not really interested in who he sleeps with.

    Now lets stop arguing and talk about the who is hotter – Hal or Henry?

  23. Mary-Rose says:

    @Flower No I haven’t , I’m only going by what I’ve read on Susannah (on her twitter and interviews shes done) maybe Jane is nice- I don’t know or care.
    I just thought TommyAnna and Susannah looked cute together. That’s all.
    I’m not really interested in who he sleeps with.

    Now lets stop arguing and talk about the who is hotter – Hal or Henry?

  24. Mary-Rose says:

    @Flower No I haven’t , I’m only going by what I’ve read on Susannah (on her twitter and interviews shes done)
    I just thought TommyAnna and Susannah looked cute together. That’s all.
    I’m not really interested in who he sleeps with.

    Now lets stop arguing and talk about the who is hotter – Hal or Henry?

  25. Mary-Rose says:

    Can someone tell me why it’s posted my posts so many times? I only posted it once- honest! Hellppppppp

  26. alex says:

    I always got the feeling he had dad issues in fact im about 90% sure once he said word for word “of course I have dad issues…don’t we all?”

    And of course he’s talking about Shakespeare more than normal because the hollow crown is JUST ABOUT THAT. He’s great in it, other plays he’s been in by shakespeare he’s either won awards or has been nominated so i think and feel he is really in his element in that regard.

    Question: why is it that….when I post a comment, sometimes it says “waiting for moderation” while other times it just goes through and post?
    just curious….

  27. Browniecakes says:

    Watched Part 1 Hollow Crown. No TH yet. Husband stuck with me thru it. Made me feel smarter. LOL. Maybe TH will get more work from it.

  28. Amy says:

    Oh this is why he always going on about Shakespeare! He could be like that other actor, can’t remember his name right now but he was in all the Shakespeare movies like that Hamlet one… and quick IMDB search shows me that actor is Kenneth Branagh!! No wonder he and Tom get along so well.