Excerpts from the article:
Tom and his bolognese
It’s amazing Bolognese, the most incredible Bolognese you’ve ever had. You think you’ve had great Bolognese? Try Tom Hiddleston’s Bolognese before you continue to talk about great Bologneses you’ve had in your life. (You braise it in the oven after browning it on the stove — that’s the thing. Also: Bacon! Also: Butter! He also loves bacon and butter!) He made this Bolognese last night, after we’d parted following day one of our two-day early-January walking tour of London, which was half Before Sunrise ten-mile stroll-and-chat through the city, half My Dinner with André philosophy symposium. He settled into his Camden house (alone) and spent the evening cooking and watching a screener of Moonlight (alone), which he could now confirm for me was as amazing! and riveting! and touching! as everyone has said.
He heats up some Bolognese for me and we make our plan for the day, which I correctly predict will involve another walk through another astonishingly beautiful park. Yesterday, it was Regent’s Park. Everyone knows about Hyde Park, but do they know about Regent’s Park? No, and I must see it. In the park, I pulled out my old Olympus digital mini tape recorder, and Tom Hiddleston looked at it and whistled in admiration: “Hello, Olympus! This is a great Dictaphone!” He’d used one to test himself on accents when he was at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Long walks, that’s his thing — to think stuff over, to figure out his lines, to process what’s going on in his life, both the triumphs (turning a routine Marvel villain into a fan favorite; a Golden Globe win for The Night Manager…a UNICEF UK ambassadorship to South Sudan) and the heartache…. On New Year’s Day, he says, Regent’s Park was even more beautiful than it was during our walk: It was foggy, and the lanterns were lit, but you couldn’t see anything beyond the mist. It reminded him of the London of old, the one he loves so much, the London of J. M. Barrie. It was a simpler time then.
“I cannot play Loki forever, it’s not possible,” says Hiddleston, who turned 36 last month. “Loki is immortal and I’m deeply mortal.”
“Regeneration, at some point, will be required, I’m not quite sure when,” he says.
Hiddleston was able to craft his James Conrad character with director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, changing Conrad from an American military man to a mysterious former British special forces soldier-turned-mercenary. Vogt-Roberts was impressed with both the jungle skills and dashing appeal of his adventure star.
“Tom anchors the movie and does it in a way that’s both throwback adventure hero and also a modern leading man,” says Vogt-Roberts. “That’s a huge feat.”
The adventure hero swashbuckling meant that Hiddleston was up at 4 a.m. daily to work with a former Navy SEAL trainer before hitting the set at 7.
“I lost sleep, blood, sweat and tears,” says Hiddleston. “My trainer had me lifting, pushing, squatting, pulling and all manner of things. And then I would get on set and run around more.”
The training helped effectively pull off the Kong action as Hiddleston’s Conrad is hired to track down the movie monster on a mysterious island. It also ensured Hiddleston fit perfectly into the snug T-shirt that Conrad sports.
Still, Hiddleston never considered seeking the true action-star reward for all his training: the gratuitous shirtless shot. It’s just not his thing. “No one needs to see that,” the actor says. “No, never.”
Hiddleston also enhanced his weapon skills (Loki’s specialty is throwing knives) by incorporating samurai sword training for Kong. He practiced with rubber tubes to perfect his standout sword screen moment, involving a Japanese weapon left on the island. Hiddleston doubts the new weapon will carry over to Thor: Ragnarok in November: “I’ll probably stick to throwing knives and Loki’s mercurial wit.”
“I haven’t played the part in a film properly since The Dark World, which we made in 2012. So it was a long time ago,” Hiddleston says. “It’s still a source of constant surprise that he’s so appreciated. And it’s fun to get back in the saddle again.”
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Right now, across east Africa, millions of children and their families are facing starvation as a result of civil war, drought and lack of food.
In South Sudan, famine has already been declared in parts of the country – the first time in six years famine has been declared anywhere in the world – and more than 270,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. This is the most deadly form of malnutrition which, if untreated, leads to death.
South Sudan is the newest country in the world, after the declaration of independence from Sudan in 2011. Since civil war broke out in 2013, its dreams of independence and a future of hope have been shattered. Those that bear the brunt of the conflict are, as always, innocent children.
Two years ago I first travelled to South Sudan in my role as a UNICEF UK Ambassador and met malnourished children, who were fighting for their lives. Children who don’t have enough food to eat are at risk of illness and disease: pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria. Children, too often the case in grave emergencies, are always the most vulnerable.
At an emergency feeding centre, I spoke to a mother called Regina with her 15-month-old child, Emmanuela, who was suffering from severe malnutrition. Regina had been caught up in the fighting but managed to escape, traveling miles by foot to reach Wau Shilluk in the north east of the country. Eventually, they arrived at the treatment centre where Emmanuela received lifesaving treatment to bring her back from the brink. Emmanuela is one of many children across the country on the verge of starvation due to a power struggle between political factions which are supposed to be leading the country into prosperity. Sadly, there are currently hundreds of thousands of children like her who need immediate help.
On the same visit, I was privileged to join a UNICEF emergency aid mission by helicopter, called a Rapid Response Mechanism. It is the most efficient and quickest method of delivering life-saving food and supplies to people in remote regions trapped by war. Together with the World Food Program, which delivers emergency food, UNICEF is able to set up stations in the field, where starving children can be given life-saving food, while at the same time they can be immunized for polio and for measles, and collect the names of unaccompanied children in the hope of reunifying them with their parents and families. The team spent a week on the ground spreading the word so that as many people as possible were able to come and receive the treatment they desperately need. It was a remarkable operation; over the course of 2016, UNICEF carried out 190 of these missions, continuing to reach areas that no other humanitarian organization can access. UNICEF have the resources, the skill, the knowledge, and the manpower. But more than that, they have the passion, the courage, and the will.
More must be done, however. Famine has been declared – in part due to restricted access to regions of the country, and UNICEF is working hard to combat this. This week they have launched an emergency famine appeal for urgent donations so that they can continue to provide children and families with life-saving food and supplies, not just in South Sudan but across the east Africa region including countries such as Somalia, which is on the brink of famine as a result of severe drought. We have a window of opportunity with the rest of east Africa to ensure agencies such as UNICEF are given unhindered access to deliver emergency aid and prevent another famine such as the one currently and tragically unfolding in South Sudan.
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On the advice he received from former members of Britain’s Special Air Service and a retired Navy SEAL about bar fights on the set of Kong: Skull Island: “If you get into a bar fight, the best thing to do is to pretend you don’t know what you’re doing and run, get the hell out of there. That’s what he said. You don’t want to get yourself in trouble.”
On what he would say if someone cut in front of him at a bar: “I’d say very politely, ‘Excuse me, I’ve been waiting X amount of time,’ Usually people are pretty good about that. That’s kind of social protocol. You don’t break that rule. People are like, ‘Okay, you go ahead.'”
On being in an action film as the hero: “Action has always been a part of me. In the Marvel films, it’s hidden in the playfulness and mischief of that character. But actually, there’s several one-to-ones with Captain America and Thor where the action requires choreography. But (Kong) puts all of that center stage.
On his character, James Conrad: “It’s like, this is the guy you want on the ground in a jungle. It’s lovely to be a hero.”
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The complete article:
What a time to be alive — especially if you happen to be one Tom Hiddleston, alumnus of the prestigious Dragon School, of Eton College, Cambridge, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; that Tom Hiddleston — star of stage and screen, recently removed from a romance with megawatt dream girl Taylor Swift.
For Hiddleston, life is so good that it comes with a few too-good-to-be-true conspiracy theories — the best of which goes something like, Hiddleston, at 35, is a front-runner to replace Daniel Craig as the next James Bond, and PR teams staged his relationship with Swift in order to elevate his star power. As if he needed the help.
Hiddleston’s star has, of its own volition, and powered by his plentiful talents, been in perpetual rise since he was cast as the mythological baddie Loki, a recurring character in the ongoing Marvelverse of films, in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor (2011). Cinephiles may likely remember the actor most fondly as the centuries-old vampire/rock’n’roller in Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive (2014) across from Tilda Swinton. But talent scouts would have noticed Hiddleston’s work far earlier, in a variety of theatrical and television roles — alongside Branagh in the BBC’s Wallander, for example — platforms where he has continued to thrive, all the way up to and including Susanne Bier’s miniseries adaptation of John le Carré’s The Night Manager this year, in which Hiddleston starred as a field agent, spying on the world’s most sinister arms dealer.
Next year, on the strength of two monster-sized blockbusters (Thor: Ragnarok and Kong: Skull Island) — and, maybe, okay, that very buzzy relationship — Hiddleston’s star will likely settle up there in the upper firmament where the A-listers live. Whether or not that ascent will bring him to Bond or beyond, the intrigue will likely follow him wherever he goes. In August, while filming in deepest underest Australia, Hiddleston got on the phone with his friend and Marvel-mate Benedict Cumberbatch to talk about the perils and potential power that comes along with the public eye.
TOM HIDDLESTON: [laughs] Thank you, Benedict. W
e should just thank each other for our time. For the rest of our lives.