Just yesterday, word came out that True Blood star Alexander Skarsgård is the leading contender to play the Norse God of Thunder in Kenneth Branagh’s film adaptation of Marvel Comics’ Thor. The follow-up news today is that our heroic deity’s dastardly archnemesis, the God of Mischief known as Loki, might be played by none other than Josh Hartnett. He’s at least “on the short list.” Apparently, Heath Ledger nabbing an Oscar for the Joker is making supervillainy the in thing from way out – and in this case, waaaaaaaaay the hell out there.
Loki is Thor’s half-brother, adopted by Thor’s father, the all-powerful Odin, after Odin slayed Loki’s true father, a Frost Giant named Laufey. Loki then grew up in Asgard and matured into a shapeshifting trickster who was always resentful and bitter about how he and Thor were treated and thus committed himself to destroying the hero and taking over ultimate power from Odin. Norse mythology is kooky.
In case you’re having trouble seeing Hartnett as a villain, think back to 2001 and the film O, the high-school basketball themed adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, in which Hartnett played the Iago analogue. Jealousy and skullduggery abound at his hands, and Iago is very much the Machiavellian mold in which Loki must be cast.
Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, Branagh played the actual Iago in his own version of the actual Othello, during his personal mission to adapt everything Shakespeare into film.
Considering all of this, Hartnett might actually be a very interesting choice. What do you think?