Tom Hiddleston believes everyone should play Hamlet — even you.
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He said as much on the new episode of Stagecraft, Variety’s theater podcast, on which he appeared with Charlie Cox and Zawe Ashton, his costars in the Broadway revival of “Betrayal.” Hiddleston (“Avengers,” “Loki,” “The Night Manager”) knows “Hamlet” from experience: he played the title role in a 2017 production directed by Kenneth Branagh.
“Here’s what I believe about that part, which is: The reason that it’s the greatest part perhaps written in the English language is because there’s very little in the way of character,” he explained. “The demand on the actor is that essentially you have to bring yourself to the play. … You have to connect to grief, family, heaven, your own soul, the afterlife, love, friendship, revenge, the existence of God, courage, depression, loss, sadness and desire.”
Also on Stagecraft, Ashton (“Velvet Buzzsaw”) revealed why she was nervous heading into rehearsals for “Betrayal.”
“There is part of you as a woman, when you know you’re going to be the only female in the room, that you kind of subconsciously put your boxing gloves on … thinking, ‘Right, I’m going to take my space, I’m going to make sure my voice is heard’,” she said. “I needn’t have worried for more than one second. These two men are honestly two of the most open, honest, sweet, tender, caring people and actors that I’ve ever worked with.”
Meanwhile, Cox delved into why he’s always eager to return to the theater, even after success on the small screen (“Daredevil”). “One of the reasons I try to stay as close to it as possible is that I really believe that the theater is an actor’s gym, in that that’s where you get better,” he said. “You’re forced to find new ways to keep it fresh and alive. You’re forced to discover things about the play, and about yourself. I come off plays often feeling like I’ve just lifted the ceiling a little bit to what I’m capable of. That’s the great thrill.”
On the new episode of the Stagecraft podcast, the actors also talk Pinter, dick-swinging and superheroes.
New episodes of “Stagecraft” are available every Tuesday. Download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or anywhere finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.