Erika Rivera & Melissa LoParco
Senior Editor & Managing Editor
In honor of Tom Hiddleston's return to London's West End after five years in the Shakespearean tragedy Coriolanus
this past weekend, we here at PopWrapped
have picked out some other Shakespearean roles that we would love the classically trained British thespian to take a stab at.
Hiddleston is best known for his portrayal of the ultimate villain Loki in the 2011 Marvel Studios film, Thor
and The Avengers
in 2012 but there is so much more to this British actor as far as what he is capable in the acting world.
Photo Courtesy of Columbia Pictures
s Iago, like The Avengers
' Loki, is burdened with glorious purpose. Hiddleston is famously known for his performance of the fallen Asgardian God of Mischief whose trajectory closely resembles Iago’s. Iago is one of Shakespeare's most sinister villains, often considered such because of the unique trust that Othello places in him, which he betrays while maintaining his reputation of honesty and dedication.
Shakespeare contrasts Iago with Othello's nobility and integrity, which makes the character so pivotal to the play. Iago is a Machiavellian schemer and manipulator, just like Loki, displaying his skill at deceiving other characters so that not only do they not suspect him, but they count on him as the person most likely to be truthful, which Hiddleston can easily pull off (watch his performance in Thor
for a glimpse of that sincerity and innocence at the beginning of the film).
As any Shakespearean buff can tell you, Iago has some of the best lines in all of Shakespearean literature, not because he’s obvious with his cruelty but quite insidious and restrained. Hiddleston’s performance as Loki proves that the thespian can reel in some of that passion and effortlessly deliver some of Iago’s most devastating lines.
It would be a sight to see Hiddleston take on a role that his mentor, Sir Kenneth Branagh, famously played on the big screen. Hiddleston has already followed in Branagh’s footsteps with his turn as Henry V. in The Hollow Crown Series
, so Iago would be right up his alley if the actor is given the opportunity to take on such a commanding role.
Photo Courtesy of Shakespeare.com
Photo Courtesy of Shakespeare.com
Before we talk about the ultimate casting choice as an older Tom Hiddleston as King Lear
, there are two other characters in King Lear
who have Hiddleston’s name written all over them. To be perfectly honest, we could not decided between whether or not we would rather see Hiddleston as the vengeful, evil, bastard Edmund or his much nicer and nobler brother Edgar (sound familiar, Thor
fans?); that is why both have been included on this list.
Edmund is the Earl of Gloucester’s illegitimate son, a bastard in all sense of the word. His main goal in the beginning of the play is to get rid of the presence of his older brother, Edgar, so that he will take over the position his father holds as Earl. Over time, as is a theme in a lot of Shakespeare’s plays, Edmund becomes obsessed with power and finds his cunning self getting involved with King Lear’s daughters - Goneril and Regan. Edmond’s character is often talked about in relation to Othello’s Iago, but he never comes out as bad character wise. Edmund’s character really is similar to that of Loki, in fact even in study guides and character analysis you see reasons for his actions like” Edmund’s villainy sprang not from some innate cruelty but simply from a thwarted, misdirected desire for the familial love that he witnessed around him.” You know seeing Hiddleson playing the main antagonist in King Lear would be effortless because he has been playing a similar character since the Thor franchise began.
Edgar, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of Edmund. The legitimate son of the Earl of Gloucester, he is in line to take over his father’s position at some point in the future. Edgar is a very interesting character in King Lear
because his characteristics are constantly changing. He goes from being the naive older brother who is played by Edmund, to one of the only voice of reasons within the story - post pretending to go crazy. This character subtly becomes one of the most important characters by the end of the play, and because of his chameleon like plot people do not know how to properly characterize him. Hiddleston in a role like Edgar would be great fun because of the journey the character goes on, and the complexity of characteristics and plot changes Edgar seems to go through throughout King Lear
Seeing a tandem performance with these two (like Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller in Frankenstein) would be ideal.
Photo Courtesy of Oliver Cuthbertson
When one thinks about Shakespeare, King Lear is one of those big names that all actors would love to play one day. Lear is the King of Britain; he has three daughters whom he delegates land to based on what they say when he asks them to show him how much they love him. Everything goes downhill when he sends his favourite, and most level headed daughter away for not telling him how much she loves him in a value form. The play follows Lear’s tragic path to insanity and his ultimate death. Someone who plays Lear must be able to perfect his journey from his tragic flaw to the realisation of his mistake when he is weak and gone to his madness; the audience sympathizes with him by the end of it. According to an article in the Guardian
, “Hamlet is the young actor’s supreme test, but Lear is the one part to which every leading man aspires,” and to see Hiddleston eventually play the ever challenging Lear in his career would be the cherry on top of the cake for not only Hiddleston’s fans or fans of the Bard, but for Hiddleston himself.
Photo Courtesy of Two Cities
Arguably one of Shakespeare’s most well known characters, as well as the most coveted role by most actors, Hamlet was a shoo in for roles we would love to see Tom Hiddleston in. One of the reasons why people are so drawn to the character of Hamlet is due to the mystery that surrounds him; it is very difficult to point out a single thing that defines his character. He is clever, but jumps to conclusions; he is dark; but shows signs of humour; he is a very complex character that mucks around with the audience and the rest of the characters throughout the story. We could go on forever with reasons why Hamlet is such a dynamic and popular character, but there isn’t enough room in this article. Like the quote previously mentioned in the King Lear choice, Hamlet is the “supreme test” for any young actor. Many well known actors have taken on the role like David Tennant, Ben Whishaw, Jude Law, Christopher Eccleston, Kenneth Branagh, Ralph Fiennes, and Christopher Plummer to name a few, and we would love to see Hiddleston take on that oh so beloved “To be, or not to be” speech on the big stage.
Photo Courtesy of Fine Line
For anyone who has seen Thor: The Dark World
, Loki revealed quite the sassy side in the latest outing of the franchise. Hiddleston supplied most of the film’s comedic lines with such flawless delivery that it only seemed logical to add one of Shakespeare’s most well known comedic roles to the mix.
Feste is one of the many characters in Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night
. He belongs to the household of the Countess Olivia. He has apparently been there for some time, as he was a "fool that the Lady Olivia's father took much delight in.” Although Olivia's father has died within the last year, it is possible that Feste approaches or has reached middle age, though he still has the wit to carry off good 'fooling' when he needs to, and the voice to sing lustily as the occasion demands. While Hiddleston is still relatively young, the comedic chops he displayed in Thor: The Dark World
show that he definitely can make this role his own and give us a youthful take on a role usually given to actors much older than him.
Feste seems to leave Olivia's house and return at his pleasure, rather too freely for a servant. His habits get him into trouble with Lady Olivia: when we first see him, he must talk his way out of being turned out, a gaseously fate in those days, for being absent, as it were, without leave. He succeeds, and once back in his lady's good graces, he weaves in and out of the action with the sort of impunity that was reserved for a person nobody took seriously. There are instances in the play where we believe Feste to be an almost omniscient presence, which Hiddleston and his slightly mischievous nature will be able to effortlessly deliver.
Given that many of Hiddleston’s roles have been mostly dramatic in nature, it would be a refreshing sight to see how this classically trained British thespian does with a character that only lives for a good time.
Did your Shakespearean favorite make this list? Sound off in the comments below!