This is a post about Tom Hiddleston. About where he’s been and where he is now and how he’s been treated in recent times. This is admittedly somewhat long but please read.
Okay so let’s just talk about Tom Hiddleston. Where he’s been and where he is now.
Every actor struggles, some worse than others…
I cannot say for certain what it took for Hiddleston to get to this point but I know, like many, it wasn’t easy. He’s mentioned that his father didn’t really want him to be an actor. That’s tough. When a parent doesn’t support your goals at all, you feel out of control of your own life. When a parent doesn’t support your goals, it may take that much longer to “make it” or prove yourself because you’re so busy bullying yourself as to whether what you’re doing is actually right for you or not. Given Tom’s somewhat late entry into being on the big screen and how much time he seemed to dedicated to his academic studies, I can imagine he struggled with this too.
But he worked his way up ever so slowly into the acting world. He got jobs here and there but like most actors, struggled to find people who would give him a chance. He’s mentioned this or hinted to this before just casually in interviews. His gratefulness for being hired in a film like Thor really shows through and he’s gushed at length about how excited and appreciative he was to participate in Warhorse.
Now, this isn’t a boo-hoo Hiddleston had a hard time post. Nope. Lots of talented individuals have a hard time getting into the business. It’s understandable. But it’s important to appreciate as fans where he’s been and where he is now. It’s important for Hiddleston himself as well as other actors, musicians, and so on, to reflect on where they were and where they are now.
Loki was basically his breakthrough role. For Chris Hemsworth, Thor was basically his breakthrough role too. It’s worth mentioning that they both were treated like newbies in the acting business even though they both had significant experience beforehand. It’s because they were both “fresh faces” that many critics thought that the movie “Thor” would flop. Now, they are singing their praises to them both. Funny how the acting business works that way doesn’t it? You’re only worthy of a critic’s praise until you prove that you deserved the role. Critics are basically snobs who don’t give others much of a chance because everything has to be proven to their “standards.” As if their opinion is what matters most. It really doesn’t we’re just so reliant on others to tell us what media is good and what isn’t - but I digress.
But the both of them have been disrespected in articles and in interviews before. Some popular radio shows in particular treated Tom (as well as other cast members) badly in the beginning because he wasn’t the “main character” so why should anyone care about him. But y’know, he’s always tried his best to show a kinder side to himself. Perhaps outside of the public eye he rants his frustrations but he tries his best to not show this in public. It just sucks to see someone - anyone - being nice to another human being only to know that they’re making fun of them behind their back or treating them badly.
Anyways, so his role as Loki got really popular and understandably so. So let’s talk about that for a second. He was playing a villainous character which is funny because he is so opposite from that but he played it well. Part of the reason why Loki gained so much popularity was because Hiddleston portrayed the character in a very holistic manner. He wasn’t pure evil nor was he just a poor misunderstood boy. He was just a complex flawed individual.
Now, Tom being such a nice person all the time (from what we see in interviews and such) and having portrayed the sadder parts of Loki’s character, kind of is problematic in the sense that some fans became far too apologetic towards Loki’s violent behavior. (Somehow connecting Tom’s very different personality with Loki’s.) While it was very good that Hiddleston did in fact portray the tragic aspects of Loki very well, he also put a lot of effort in portraying the particularly menacing aspects of Loki’s character which isn’t often enough recognized.
Tom Hiddleston is a fan of movies and comics and music and all that. He lets us know where his interests lie. He’s contributed his own critical analyses to fandom. He likes to explore the tragic elements of Loki’s character which has contributed to the “Tom has a lot of Loki feels” joke. But unlike the Loki apologists, he is still aware of what makes his character truly frightening and menacing which is good. Every actor should make sure that they sympathize with their characters enough but not too much.
But yeah, after getting this role, the job opportunities started to flood in. No more smaller-role tv-show and movie appearances for Hiddleston. This is great! We get to see him in different challenging roles and over the films he’s done, he’s proven to be a very good actor who is very adaptable. So Hiddleston’s popularity just soared after “Loki.” With this very quick rise in popularity, Hiddleston and his fandom have encountered many bumps in the road.
Now, there is a particular nature to large fandoms. You can almost guarantee there will be fans who are so obsessive that they’ll bash an actor’s significant other or an actor’s cast mates. That is regrettably something most fandoms encounter. It doesn’t make it tolerable, it’s just a reality. However there have been instances in this fandom that quite frankly are scary. This includes threats and hostile language towards Hiddleston himself if he doesn’t give people what they want (photos, autographs, etc.) and blatant invasion of privacy (stalking, hacking, etc.).
Why though? Why does this happen to someone who has only been humble and patient with the fans? In part it’s because people take advantage of this fact. They see where Hiddleston has come from and where he is now and all they do is want more and more. They take advantage of the fact that Tom Hiddleston basically, on the surface, has really low standards in regards to how people treat him. (He’s almost too forgiving). He loves us fans. He really does. However he keeps apologizing for things he shouldn’t have to. You need only to take a look at his twitter to realize this:
[In regards to an incident where a prank was pulled and Tom’s name was attached to it despite having no involvement whatsoever. The prank being that set photos of Loki in Thor 2 would be released but they never were.]
But what do people do when Hiddleston doesn’t deliver what people think he owes them? They turn to hurtful language and threats. Hiddleston seems to be a very patient, understanding and kind-hearted individual. He takes a lot of his free time out to greet fans. He actually answers fan letters and sends autographs to others personally. He overall indulges his fans and has immense gratitude for our support.
Have you ever thought why Hiddleston may be this way? Now I’m not 100% positive but I think it in part comes from the fact that our support has helped in his rise to stardom. His ability to get better roles and really his ability to just do what he loves.
He is essentially thanking us when we should really be thanking him. Because his voice does deserve to be heard and it is authentic. He does not deserve the disrespect. He doesn’t deserve privacy invasion or threats. He should be able to do what he loves - and being an actor is something he is truly passionate about - without having to feel scared or uncomfortable. He’s just “made it” and it’s really sad, after all the work he’s done to get here, that some fans would ruin this experience for him.
I know many of us are thankful for his contribution to film but we really need to show it a bit more - myself included. I feel like, if we simply look back to where he was and where he is now, we can say wow, look at all that he has accomplished! Look at how great his fandom has become. Look at all the good things we did because we were fans of his. Look at how many of us came together as friends because we are his fans. But we also have to look at these bumps in the road and face them together as a fandom. We cannot simply sit back and watch intolerable things happen. We can’t be passive about that.
We have to ensure that we maintain a level of respect along with our admiration. This isn’t a hunt for the “worst” fans. This isn’t a “I’m a better fan than…” type of thing. We’re not perfect individuals. We all have to look at ourselves and realize that we’re not entitled to Hiddleston’s love and affection. We’re not entitled to his private life or his free time. Just as Hiddleston is privileged to have the opportunities to act in these fascinating and challenging roles, we as fans are privileged to follow him on his journey. So let’s try to do more to support him and make sure he doesn’t stumble on his path rather than crowd him on his path and knock him down.