TBL: The whole thing with Loki and the Thor and The Avengers…there’s always this thinking that once you hit something that big in Hollywood then that’s the path to keep going. But you’re obviously not doing that.
TH: You know what. It’s never really been something I’ve consciously chosen. I really want to stay an actor and it’s wonderful to have success like The Avengers. It’s honestly one of the great unprecedented strange accidents of my life. I was cast in Thor and Avengers with some idea in Kevin Feige’s head and then it became the biggest thing I’ve ever done without question, and on a level that’s actually difficult to process.
But the actors I respected are the ones who just keep acting through thick and thin. It’s John Hurt. It’s Ian McKellen. It’s Anthony Hopkins. They’re still going, so whatever moments of flourishing that I pass through, it’s all temporary. And the thing that keeps you grounded is doing the thing you love. And actually I was cast as Prince Hal before I shot The Avengers. It was around the time that Thor was coming out, and it was so odd because I had five films in the can and none of them had come out and I knew I was making Avengers and I wasn’t being strategic and I didn’t know how any of those films were going to play…those films were Thor, War Horse, Midnight in Paris, The Deep Blue Sea and Archipelago. And by the time I got around to playing Prince Hal, half of those films had been seen by the world and so my position, I suppose, is a bit different but, anyway, it was never a kind of big conscious thing.
TBL: Back to Shakespeare real quick, Alan Cumming just did a one man show of Macbeth in New York.
TH: He’s a brilliant actor. I love that man.
TBL: I agree! Is that a challenge you would ever want to try and do? Not just of that play but anything you’d be taking on by yourself?
TH: I don’t know. I’d have to really think about it. I’m sure Alan had his own reasons for wanting to do…I mean the thing is, Alan has such a unique Scottish-ness that kind of pours out of him, and I can imagine…I didn’t see that production actually but I can imagine his own personality pouring through those characters because he actually has an amazing ability to inhabit himself in extremis. In that he’s not afraid of his wildness, and Macbeth is a play that really is about that liminal point between order and chaos that Lord Macbeth and Lady Macbeth spill into. I can imagine Allan inhabiting that shape in a very courageous and exciting way.
I’d love to do a one man show at some point because I think it challenges you in a way that’s very unique with no one to pass the buck to. You can’t say, ‘Well, someone’s not pulling their weight.’ If the audience isn’t interested, it means you’re not being engaging enough.
TBL: Also, on TheBacklot, you were on our most recent Hot 100 list. Were you aware of this?
TH: My goodness, I did not know that.
TBL: You were number 39 and it’s 100% reader voted so obviously you have a lot of gay fans. What do you make of that? Were you aware of this?
TH: I did not know that. This is the first time I’ve heard of this.
TBL: It’s a surprise for you I can tell.
TBL: What do you make of that? There’s something in your roles or something about you that the gay community definitely likes.
TH: Honestly, I’m flattered and proud. I’ve never made a distinction, to be honest. I feel very proud that I’ve grown up as part of a generation that simply doesn’t make a distinction between gay and straight really…it just really isn’t an issue or actually it is. You know you read about what’s happening in Russia and it’s shocking but for me and the circle of friends that I grew up with, the places where I mostly spend my time, it’s like, ‘Oh. So you like strawberry ice cream and you like vanilla ice cream.’ It’s all good. It’s all ice cream. Anyway, I have many, many gay friends and so I am thrilled that they are fans.
TBL: Tell your friends you made the Hot 100 list.
TH: I will!
The Hollow Crown begins airing September 20th. Check http://pbs.org for the channel in your area. The sequel Thor: The Dark World is set for US release on November 8, 2013.