Before even beginning to read Interview magazine’s conversation between Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch, I started to giggle like a school girl. So much blue-eyed English intensity squeezed into one article! Yet, after reading it, I have an awkward question: are they the same person?
Hiddleston and Cumberbatch are friends in real life, both are the obsessive love interests of Tumblr, both move back and forth from film to television seamlessly (even on the same series, The Hollow Crown), both play villains in the Marvel movie franchise (ACTUALLY, Dr. Strange is not a villain, though his name does not inspire confidence in patients), both have last names that sound like they could be quaint villages by the sea or a specialty scone. Look how this thing starts:
BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH: Like all interviewers, I should first of all thank you, Tom, for taking this time.
TOM HIDDLESTON: [laughs] Thank you, Benedict. We should just thank each other for our time. For the rest of our lives.
CUMBERBATCH: And then, in typical British fashion, we should just apologize for everything as well.
HIDDLESTON: I’m sorry for disturbing you.
CUMBERBATCH: I’m more sorry than you.
HIDDLESTON: [laughs] How do you feel about ...
CUMBERBATCH: My role as a journalist?
HIDDLESTON: I feel conflicted. [laughs]
WTF? Who is who? They’re even finishing each other’s sentences. Interview Mag also published photos of Hiddleston, by Steven Klein, striking all his most powerful leather daddy poses. If they are one person, it’s a person who can pull off a leather coat:
At one point Cumberbatch seems to forget he’s interviewing Hiddleston and becomes the interviewee, but it doesn’t really matter. Hiddleston even asks Cumberbatch about Loki, even though that’s his character in the Avengers:
HIDDLESTON: What do you think about revisiting a character—like Sherlock or Loki—as opposed to making up a character for the first time?
CUMBERBATCH: I think you have to approach it with the same level of invention. There are things that are a given, that you’ve already established, and obviously, visually, certain iconic things that can’t be completely removed, like a certain hat or a certain coat in my case. I know you battled with the horns, and I wanted to talk to you about that if you’re allowed to talk about that. It dies when you don’t feel the reinventing. It’s interesting. I genuinely enjoy it. I think I wouldn’t do it if the writing wasn’t so good, if I wasn’t being asked to do different things with the character. It really depends on what the obstacles and objectives are. If they’re very interesting, then you can bring new tactics to play. And I think the characters are supposed to be an open book, blank canvas. With Loki, the shape-shifting god of mischief can be a number of things. And a consulting detective who suddenly can do kung fu and speak a different language or do sign language ... There are all these untapped resources.
All right, guys. Or guy. They also touch on topics like running, the passage of time, regrets, and what climates are best for the Celtic complexion they share, since they’re wearing each other’s skin.
If you are wondering if Cumberbatch asked about Taylor Swift, he respectfully did not expose Hiddleston or himself to such an invasive and distasteful subject.
CUMBERBATCH: ...And there’s another weight of us being in the public eye, which is this presumption that, because your work and your promotion work is very public, your private life should be, too. And, without getting into a huge debate, I just want to say that I’m not going to ask questions about my friend’s personal life just because there are unsolicited photographs of him and a certain someone, in a relationship or together. I’m not going to get into that. So that door is closed, dear reader.
HIDDLESTON: [chuckles] Thank you.
CUMBERBATCH: You’re welcome. I know you’d do the same for me.
Because he’d do it for himself, who is also Tom Hiddleston.