Tom Hiddleston Talks About His Broadway Debut In Betrayal

Credit: Marc Brenner

After an amazing sell out run in London, Jamie Lloyd Company is bringing the production of Betrayal  and its stars Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox to Broadway.

The play marks the Broadway debut for Hiddleston, who shot to fame in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Loki, brother of Thor. Hiddleston however is no stranger to the stage. Trained at RADA he has performed the title roles in productions of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus and Hamlet among others as well as working alongside Sir Kenneth Branagh in Checkov’s Ivanov.

During San Diego Comic-Con Hiddleston arrived in the US to promote the upcoming Disney+ series Loki, he sat down with EW to discuss bringing Betrayal to New York.

Hiddleston explained that he was first introduced to Betrayal at drama school. He told EW, “a teacher would assign each acting student a play and a role, and you had to read the play and you had to write a monologue for the character that wasn’t from the play itself, and then perform it to try and give the rest of the class a clue as to what the play was. And I was given Betrayal. I remember sitting down on a rainy Wednesday afternoon in the library and reading it in one sitting, because it’s quite short to read, thinking, ‘This is amazing, I’d love to do this one day’. But I was 20 years old and this is about people in their late 30s, early 40s. So I thought, ‘gosh, this is a long way off’ — of course, it came around quick!”

When asked about the play itself, Hiddleston said, “I find this play fascinating. It’s about the complexity of relationships, the profound commitment to trust, about knowledge, about time. And what’s thrilling about it for [my costars] Charlie Cox and Zawe Ashton and myself is none of us leave the stage. There’s a charge between the three of us that we hope reveals something new about the play, that these three relationships — the marriage, the friendship, and the affair — are actually codependent. And when one breaks down, they all break down.”

Hiddleston went on to say that he enjoys taking on different kinds of work, evidenced by everything from his big cinematic releases to his more art-house films with Jim Jarmusch and Ben Wheatley and his stage work. In relation to what drew him to Betrayal he said, “There is something very concentrated about this piece. There are so many scenes between two people, in between couples, and the third character is present on stage all the time — obviously not in the scene, not listening, but they’re representing that they’re in the mind of those people because there’s somebody in the background being talked about, being excluded, being heard.”

The London production of Betrayal closed in June at the Harold Pinter Theatre, rounding out a fantastic season of Pinter at The Pinter. When asked about picking up the play so soon Hiddleston said, “The great thing about this play is it’s never the same twice, because the audience changes the chemistry. There is humor in the play, it wouldn’t be Harold Pinter without some dark humor, and some audiences come and they’re very keen to laugh, and other audiences are keen to listen and be quiet. That always changes things. I think over the run it started to settle in us in a deeper way, but I’m looking forward to diving back in. The bones of the production will be the same, but we’ll find new things. And that’s the great joy of doing theater, is that you keep chasing down new shades of the truth, especially with a great piece of writing. It’ll only be over when it’s over.”

Also starring another Marvel actor (Charlie Cox who plays Daredevil), Hiddleston spoke about their experience saying, “It’s been curious swapping stories about that. But yeah, I never worked with him in that space.” He went on to explain that the pair had known each other for some time. “We bounced around in Los Angeles at the same time when were young actors trying to get work, auditioning for movies that neither of us would get, and ending up going for a burger afterwards and going, ‘oh well, next one!'”

The third actor in the production is Zawe Ashton, many will remember her from Not Safe for Work and Fresh Meat. The pair read together at The Pinter Gala in London in October 2018, and Hiddleston said while he has known her a long time, this is the first production they have been able to work together.

Of course, everyone is keen to find out about Hiddleston’s return to the screen as Loki, especially after the events of Endgame. The last we saw of the God of Mischief, was in a scene where he grabbed the tesseract and hot-footed it away from The Avengers. Speaking of the new series, Hiddleston said,“Loki will start at the top of next year. He’s such a classical character. (Thor and Loki), they’re from Norse myths, they have a kind of gravitas to them. Robert in Betrayal is much more earthbound. They’re both very complex, but Robert is a publisher and a husband and a father. Loki is the god of mischief. Two quite different figures!”

The Broadway production will have previews from the 14th August with the opening night on September 5th at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. The season is scheduled to end on the 8th December.

Below are some still released prior to the London performance.

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Jacie Anderson
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