The Avengers director Joss Whedon famously took over writing the screenplay after reading an earlier draft by Zak Penn, he allegedly told Marvel’s Kevin Feige that he needed to “pretend this draft never happened.” Whedon won Marvel over, and he was able to rewrite the script.
He eventually rewrote the script with some input from other members of the cast, including Hiddleston, who could hardly contain himself after reading a draft of The Avengers for the first time.
Instead of imagining how that conversation went over, we can now read it for ourselves. A copy of Hiddleston’s email to Whedon is being published in Joss Whedon: The Biography, but Business Insider obtained the email interaction, where Hiddleston thanks him for writing him his “Hans Gruber,” which we’ve included below.
I am so excited I can hardly speak.
The first time I read it I grabbed at it like Charlie Bucket snatching for a golden ticket somewhere behind the chocolate in the wrapper of a Wonka Bar. I didn’t know where to start. Like a classic actor I jumped in looking for LOKI on every page, jumping back and forth, reading words in no particular order, utterances imprinting themselves like flash-cuts of newspaper headlines in my mind: “real menace”; “field of obeisance”; “discontented, nothing is enough”; “his smile is nothing but a glimpse of his skull”; “Puny god” …
… Thank you for writing me my Hans Gruber. But a Hans Gruber with super-magic powers. As played by James Mason … It’s high operatic villainy alongside detached throwaway tongue-in-cheek; plus the “real menace” and his closely guarded suitcase of pain. It’s grand and epic and majestic and poetic and lyrical and wicked and rich and badass and might possibly be the most gloriously fun part I’ve ever stared down the barrel of playing. It is just so juicy.
I love how throughout you continue to put Loki on some kind of pedestal of regal magnificence and then consistently tear him down. He gets battered, punched, blasted, side-swiped, roared at, sent tumbling on his back, and every time he gets back up smiling, wickedly, never for a second losing his eloquence, style, wit, self-aggrandisement or grandeur, and you never send him up or deny him his real intelligence…. That he loves to make an entrance; that he has a taste for the grand gesture, the big speech, the spectacle. I might be biased, but I do feel as though you have written me the coolest part.
… But really I’m just sending you a transatlantic shout-out and fist-bump, things that traditionally British actors probably don’t do. It’s epic.
Whedon’s short response is sweet and appreciative, even though the script still needed work. But with The Avengers becoming the third highest-grossing movie of all time, it seemed to work out in the end.
Hiddleston might not be in The Avengers 2, but don’t you kinda wish he was now?