My scene partners were Mia Wasikowska and Tom Hiddleston. It was my first time working with Tom, and our reunion confirmed everything I’d felt when we first met at dinner back in September, that he’s simply a wonderful human being of great elegance and consideration. Mia is, as well, but despite the briefness of our time together, I’ve spent much more time talking to Tom. We had the most lovely conversation early in the morning, when he told me he’d read my book and remarked on various elements of it in a most kind way, quoting various lines from it. He met my sister and my daughter and completely charmed them, and after the movie comes out (NOT before), I’m sure Maddie will share the selfies they took together.
I only had two lines scheduled today, but it took 11 or 12 hours to finish the scene, and my throat was on fire by the time we were done. It’s Tom’s first scene in the picture (though not the first he’s shot), and he is striking in his first appearance. His top hat makes him remarkably tall. He’s already taller than I remembered, but the hat adds another foot in height. I told him, “There goes my being the tallest guy on set,” when he showed up. I started out in this business at 6’ 1” (I’ve shrunk an inch or so since then), and I’ve always felt relatively tall — until, that is, I ended up on SUPERNATURAL and now on CRIMSON PEAK. Ah, well, I was even overshadowed in my wedding pictures, with a 6’ 9” best man.
In “Only Lovers Left Alive,” he had both Swinton and co-star Tom Hiddleston write their dialogue for a fight scene. “These words are from Tilda, when she says, ‘This self-obsession is a waste of living that could be spent on surviving things, appreciating nature, nurturing kindness and friendship and dancing.’ ” Hiddleston has fond memories of working with his co-star: “She is so generous with her curiosity that when we were in prep, we would disappear down rabbit holes together, talking about poetry and music and history and art.” The actor said the two danced together, “mostly to the kind of Memphis soul or Detroit Motown you hear in the film.”
With Only Lovers Left Alive, British actor Tom Hiddleston teams up with Tilda Swinton and director Jim Jarmusch to wrestle the vampire genre back from the Twilight crowd, with Hiddleston and Swinton starring as two moody, music-obsessed bloodsuckers who can’t live without each other.
Was there any hesitation about stepping into the vampire world?
Absolutely none. It was amazing. I met Jim Jarmusch in November 2011, and I’d just finished shooting Avengers, and I was in New York for War Horse, which was just opening, and I was about to shoot the Shakespeare plays for PBS. So there (were) superheroes and soldiers and Shakespeare, and I met Jim and he said, “I’m going to make a film about love, and it’s about two very delicate, sophisticated creatures who love music and poetry and nature. He’s a kind of rock star musician who’s also a kind of scientist and physicist, and she’s a poet. Oh, and by the way, they’re vampires (laughs).” The vampire theme was really a framing for Jim to attempt a narrative about this theme of love, acceptance, time, creativity and mortality.
When you first watched the film with an audience, were you surprised people found it so funny?
It was really pleasing, actually, because we wanted there to be levity and lightness in it, and humour, but not in a way that seemed to be overreaching. We didn’t want to seem like we were pandering to the audience in bad taste, which would dilute the integrity of the attempt. And the attempt was really to make something very delicate and sophisticated and refined about love and acceptance and time and art and music and poetry. These are big themes, and we didn’t want to seem heavy-handed. Jim wanted to be very light on his feet. So hearing the laughter is thrilling, truly, because when you’re delivering deadpan stuff about the literature of the world, you want people to get it.
I loved that John Hurt plays Christopher Marlowe.
Yeah, it’s a lovely joke that Christopher Marlowe is still alive and well, living in Tangier with a portrait of Shakespeare on his wall with a knife through (his) head.
We asked Hiddleston if he had to choose between looking at Tilda Swinton or Chris Hemsworth all day, who would he choose.
“The dance is different, but I love dancing with both of them,” he said laughing.
Ben you recently announced some big news with the casting of Tom Hiddleston in your adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s High-rise. How did this all come about and what can we expect?
Ben Wheatley: Well there’s a book that has many clues in it.
[Much laughter ensues, but I guess the subtext is that Wheatley may be aiming to stay very true to the book, or possibly in spirit at the least as he gives it his own original Wheatley flavour.]
OK! What took you so long seems as the material seems written for you.
Ben Wheatley: Yeah. Well it has always been a favorite book of mine. It was really random how it kind of happened. You know, sometimes you have to be a bit of a chancer with these things I saw it on my shelf and thought that’s good no one has made a film of it I wonder why? I phoned my agent and within three days I was talking to Jeremy Thomas who said - Yeah I’ve got the rights to it.
And I went oh okay that’s cool, and he said yeah. It was that quick really. We looked around to see who would fit the part - Tom Hiddleston. So then we asked him and he said yeah I would love to do that.
He had just made Only Lovers Left Alive with [Jeremy] Thomas as well, so all the planets were very much aligned. Which was great.
I’m hoping it’s going to be pretty crazy, the film. It’s back to the Ken Russell days if we can.
Edith Bowman: When are you filming
Ben Wheatley: I’m not sure yet it’s a little merry dance of regional financing at the moment. We keep looking at the script and thinking I can’t quite believe we’re getting away with this - but we’ll find out.
I was hoping to delve into what level of pressure of expectation, if any Ben felt in his approach to adapting High Rise as J. G. Ballard and particularly the much loved/admired High Rise has a fanatical following, additionally amongst recent Ballard adaptations two were taken on by two giants of cinema Steven Spielberg with Empire of the Sun and David Cronenberg with Crash. As well as if any other casting decisions had been made yet. But we took a different but as interesting route.
Why did you think Tom Hiddleston was perfect for the part?
Ben Wheatley: If you read the book the Robert Laing character is very Hiddlestoney or very Hiddlestonian, I suppose. It’s that thing of control, but there’s a spark behind Hiddleston of perversity as well. Which he plays full-bore with Loki. There is something about him which is establishment but is also wild,which is what we liked about him a lot.
Though Swinton had worked with Jarmusch before, for Hiddleston it was the first time. The actor recalls his first contact with Jarmusch’s work, remembering the very theater in Oxford, England, where he saw 1999’s “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai,” and has been a fan ever since.
In getting in sync with the director’s sensibility and the gothic melancholy of the character of Adam, Hiddleston took in Jarmusch’s suggestion to think of Pink Floyd’s raven-haired, wild-eyed former frontman Syd Barrett while re-reading “Hamlet.”
"We did find a commonality, because it was always about specifics," said Hiddleston, on the phone from a movie shoot in Toronto. "What kind of music does Adam make? What does he like? What doesn’t he like? Through those conversations I began to get a sense of Jim’s palate, his speed, his tone and his style."
Both Swinton and Hiddleston draw a comparison to Jarmusch’s recent work as part of the band Sqürl as a reflection of the collaborative nature of his work, how it can be singular while he remains so seemingly open to others. The movie is a reflection of his own broad-ranging interests, across literature, music, art and science — “I’m a real nerd,” said Jarmusch, noting his recent pursuits as an amateur bird watcher and studier of fungi.
"That’s what’s so great about working with him, is his passions rub off on you," said Hiddleston. "He loves the music that Adam loves; in a way there is some of Jim in Adam, but there is also so much of Jim in Eve, and the things they love are the things that he loves."
"I’m neither of them, but I’m both of them. It’s not a portrait of me in any way," Jarmusch said. "I feel very close to Adam in a lot of ways, and Eve I aspire to be more like. I wish I had more of her qualities as I get, I don’t know what the word is, older. Or more confused."
It was a tight race the whole way through, but with over 1.5 million votes, ET Canada viewers chose hot British ginger, Tom Hiddleston, as the winner!
The 6 foot 2, 33-year-old’s charm and sex appeal won the ladies over in an overwhelming majority, taking over 87 per cent of the total vote up against Chris Pine in the final round.
Best known for his role as Loki, the “Thor” and “The Avengers” actor also stole hearts as F. Scott Fitzgerald in “Midnight In Paris”. When you add his support for UNICEF’s work for children to the mix, it’s not hard to see why the British heartthrob is so popular. He has a huge fan-base on social media with over 1.3 million likes on Facebook and 1.2 million followers on Twitter.
Congrats to Tom Hiddleston for taking the top spot as ET Canada’s Hottest Actor of 2014!