Everyone knows Tom Hiddleston as the devious villain from Avengers and Thor. But Tom Hiddleston is so much more than Loki. He's been acting in films since he was 20 and only started playing Loki three years ago. There were 10 years of television and movie appearances before Hiddleston hit it big in the Marvel universe. That means there's a lot of content a Hiddleston fan can binge watch when they've exhausted Avengers.
The nice thing about Hiddleston is that he takes on surprising roles. He'll be a big shot Marvel villain one minute and starring a short film about Facebook the next. Or he'll tackle an unknown Shakespearian play or do voiceover work for a documentary about the Galapagos islands. His career has a lot of range which means there's a lot of undiscovered film gems if you bother digging beneath the Loki surface.
I'm not talking about just War Horse or Midnight in Paris either. He has a lot of underrated films that every Hiddlestoner should see after they watch his most popular movies. The bonus with Hiddleston being so popular is that when Netflix fails you, you can find many of these lesser known films online for free. (But don't tell the piracy police that.)
Here are seven suggestions of Hiddleston films and TV shows you should check out to see he's more that just the God of Mischief.
SUBURBAN SHOOTOUT — 2006
I spent a summer determined to watch every single thing Hiddleston had ever been in, and I can honestly say that I would love this television series even if he didn't play a part. It's about two dueling gangs of middle aged mothers, each determined to crack down on crime like graffiti and excessive drinking to keep their town neat and tidy. Hiddleston plays one of the new gang member's naive, but adorable son. It's baby Tom Hiddleston at his finest. Go watch it right now, because I can't describe it in a way that does it justice.
UNRELATED — 2007
Full disclosure: Hiddleston strips down in this movie for some skinny dipping. But the plot is so much more than that, I promise. Director Joanna Hogg is an expert at capturing family drama and angst in a quiet, real way. This Italian-set film is about a middle aged woman feeling lost in her relationship. She visits some family friends for a holiday and meets Hiddleston who is a young, slightly ostentatious fellow with some overzealous dancing skills. You might come for the naked Hiddleston, but you'll stay for the authentic story.
WALLANDER — 2008
A Swedish crime drama, it's sort of a Sherlock meets CSI with Kenneth Branagh at the helm. It does address some tough subjects like sexually abused children. But Hiddleston is phenomenal as Magnus, the overworked junior investigator. It would be worth watching if just for his performance, but Kenneth Branagh is also excellent.
RETURN TO CRANFORD — 2009
This British miniseries is actually split into two parts, Cranford and Return to Cranford. Hiddleston appears in the second half as a dashing blonde gentleman whose attitude is as sweet as his face. Also he dances in this film and chases a dog around, so basically you have to see it. You could just watch the second half, if you're only there for Tom, but I actually recommend the entire series. The plot revolves around a town run by some very gossipy and delightfully sassy older women. It also has a pretty star studded cast with Judi Dench, Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery, Harry Potter's Imelda Staunton and Michael Gambon, and more.
ARCHIPELAGO — 2010
To be honest, this is my favorite Hiddleston film. Some people hate it because it's awkward and slow-paced, but his acting is impeccable. Another Joanna Hogg film, the story is based on a family on vacation trying to keep up appearances but who so obviously have a lot of problems they're refusing to deal with. Hiddleston plays Edward, the soft-spoken younger brother who just wants to please his family. I'm convinced he's just playing a version of himself in he film with his polite nature and tendency to over-apologize.
FRIEND REQUEST PENDING — 2012
This 12-minute short film is just fun and quirky. It stars Judi Dench as a woman trying to understand relationships in the digital age. Hiddleston only has a small part, but it's still a cute film and worth your time. You can watch it here:
CORIOLANUS — 2014
This is a newer production, but still deserves recognition. Hiddleston stars as the titular character from this underrated Shakespeare play and does a stunning job. He performed the show for the National Theater Live so if you do get to watch it, keep in mind that he did the whole thing live from beginning to end for the entire three-hour show. It's possibly one of the best examples of his range and skill as he showcases a variety of emotions from despair to bitter hatred with his fullest exertion. The play makes me really emotional, but probably because when Tom cries, I cry.
I'm so glad Hiddleston has such a wide library of work. It makes being his fan a lot more fun when there's lots of different and interesting films to watch while we wait for his next projects to come out. He's such a thoughtful actor.