Connect with us



A few days after delighting fans with behind-the-scenes pictures of his costume for Loki, Richard E Grant is sitting in front of me on a video call to tell me all about his cameo role – although this time there are sadly no green tights or “baggy, yellow Y-fronts”, as he puts it, in sight.

But first, it’s the day after the Euro 2020 final when we speak, and there’s only one thing anyone is talking about. “Heartbreaking,” says the actor, of England losing to Italy on penalties.

Grant, a West Ham fan, reflects on the cruel nature of spot kicks deciding the outcome. He thinks there must be a better way. “I would rather they played three more hours than resort to penalties,” he says. “What do you feel?”

Richard E Grant as Classic Loki in Marvel's Loki series, starring Tom Hiddleston. Pic: Marvel Studios/Disney+
Grant plays Classic Loki in Marvel’s Loki series, starring Tom Hiddleston. Pic: Marvel Studios/Disney+

Unfailingly friendly and polite, Richard E Grant likes to ask his own questions back. Whether it’s football, favourite Marvel characters (Spider-Man) or the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic (not impressed), the answer is usually followed by a variation of: “And what about you?”

We’re here to talk about Loki, the six-part TV series spin-off featuring the mercurial God of Mischief Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, with the character stepping out of his brother Thor’s shadow following the events of Avengers: Endgame.

Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Pic: Marvel Studios/ Disney+
Grant’s character is an older variant of Hiddleston’s Loki. Pic: Marvel Studios/ Disney+

Grant’s debut as Classic Loki, an older Loki variant, came in the penultimate episode of the series, which aired earlier in July. With so many Marvel films and spin-offs, did the British actor have to do much homework before signing up?

“Well, the advantage is that Tom Hiddleston is literally a walking, talking Wikipedia, Loki-centric guru, fundi, whatever you call it, of all things Loki and Norse legends,” says Grant. “So when in doubt, if there was anything that I was curious about or didn’t know about, you just ask Tom and he could explain everything with enormous eloquence and passion and detail.

More on Marvel

“And even though he’s played this role for over a decade, his commitment to it is absolutely off the chart. I’ve never, never come across anything like it. There’s certainly nothing exhausted about him or thinking, ‘oh I’m going to phone this in, I’m doing Loki again’. He is as enthusiastic and passionate about doing it as he was the first time he ever played the part.”

Grant says because of his “long face and V-shaped hairline” similar to Loki’s, he and Hiddleston had joked about him playing his father in the past.

“Not that you see it once I’m in the helmet and the headgear,” he says of his hair. “But every time I’d seen Tom socially down the last decade, we’d joked about playing father and son in something. So the fact that I ended up being an old, classic version of Loki to his Loki seemed serendipitous at some level. I was glad that’s how it worked out.”

One thing he was disappointed with was Classic Loki’s lack of muscles; Grant had been hoping to be transformed into a hulking superhero. “I was absolutely gutted that I didn’t have all the muscles that the [comic book artist] Jack Kirby drawings of Classi Loki had, and I absolutely assumed that… I would have a full Marvel muscle suit to step into, having been born without any.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Marvel Studios' Loki, exclusively on Disney+. Pic: Marvel Studios/Disney+
The series follows Loki after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Pic: Marvel Studios/Disney+

“And the costume designer and the director, Kate Herron, said, no, no, no, you’re just going to be as you are. And I said, but look, how can I possibly fight when I’m like an old string bean? And they said, no, no, don’t worry about that. So I had to in my head say, well, old, withered Loki is going to be trying to fight off all forces of evil. But I would love to have had the muscles.”

In June, the series made headlines when it was revealed that Loki is bisexual and gender-fluid, something of a first for Marvel. “From the moment I joined @LokiOfficial it was very important to me, and my goal, to acknowledge Loki was bisexual,” director Kate Herron tweeted at the time. “It is a part of who he is and who I am too. I know this is a small step but I’m happy, and heart is so full, to say that this is now Canon in #mcu #Loki.”

Grant says it was an important step. “I think that because there are so many Loki variants and at this particular moment in the zeitgeist of where we’re living, people feeling disenfranchised or marginalised being included and seen and acknowledged is something that is so… profoundly in all humans that I’ve ever come across, that Loki being gender-fluid, it fits the moment in which we’re living, if that makes sense.

“I think that anything that promotes tolerance, inclusivity, is something that is hugely worth championing and celebrating.”

The actor says he was struck by Loki not just being God of Mischief, but of outcasts, too. “I think that that keyed me into the loneliness of somebody that’s… as much as you’d like to think you could live forever and the fantasy that we would live eternally, the reality is that you would be very lonely, and the need for human connection is so strong in us that that’s… [Loki] longs to see a family member and as a result is caught by the TVA (Time Variance Authority), in the story, so I completely identify with that.”

Best actress winner Olivia Colman was given much praise for her 'real' acceptance speech by two British compatriots.
Grant was nominated for an Oscar in 2019, for his role in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Grant’s appearance in the Marvel series comes off the back of something of a late blooming for his acting career, with a role in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker in 2019 and his first Oscar nomination coming earlier that year, for his supporting role in Can You Ever Forgive Me? alongside Melissa McCarthy, after more than 30 years in showbiz. (None of this topped meeting his hero Barbra Streisand, though). Later this year, the 64-year-old will be seen playing drag queen Loco Chanelle in the film version of the award-winning musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

Grant, whose character in Can You Ever Forgive Me? was also gay, is aware of the current debate about whether straight actors should play gay roles, and says it is an issue he has discussed. “I’d just come off an award season for… God, what’s it called, the film with Melissa McCarthy that I did, called…” Just that film he was Oscar nominated for. “Can You Forgive Me? Yeah. In which there had been this ongoing conversation at that point two years ago about whether heterosexual actors could play… whether you were denying gay actors the opportunity to do that.

“So it was a thing that I brought up with [Everybody’s Talking About Jamie director] Jonathan Butterell time and again, and he said, I have chosen you, as a gay director and co-writer of the story, to play this part and you have to trust me that all of us are behind you doing this. So I thought, well, if they if they’re determined to do that, I’m not going to miss this opportunity to do it. And it was a very, very challenging and entertaining thing to do and I had an amazing team of people that helped me do all of it.”

Subscribe to the Backstage podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Grant goes on to compare his Loco Chanelle costume with his Classic Loki ensemble. “What nobody tells you is that when you are in full drag, you can’t go to the loo at all for about 12 hours, so you drink a tiny amount through a straw. Whereas on Loki at least those sort of baggy, yellow Y fronts could be removed fairly fast, with a couple of snaps underneath.”

And if Grant were able to take on the powers of God of Mischief in real life, what would he get up to?

“I think the first thing I would have done is, as we are an island, and when COVID was announced in March last year, I think that I would have closed the airports and the ports – just for starters – like Australia and Japan and Taiwan and all the other islands, New Zealand,” he says. “I think that would have been my first thing.”

It’s fair to say he’s not a fan of the way the pandemic has been handled then? “I think that’s very fair to say. What do you think?” I think closing the borders and trying to handle the pandemic better sounds like a very sensible use of his powers, but not very mischievous.

“Yes,” Grant replies. “But if I had to say who the mischief was going to be landed upon, I would be in political deep water instantaneously!”

Loki is out now on Disney+

Continue Reading


Tupac Shakur’s brother asks for ‘accountability’ ahead of court appearance for alleged killer




Tupac Shakur's brother asks for 'accountability' ahead of court appearance for alleged killer

On the junction of the Las Vegas strip where Tupac Shakur was shot dead in September 1996, only a graffiti-covered lamp post with some scrawls of “RIP Pac” and “Tupac Shakur, I love you,” hint at what unfolded here.  

Tupac was rap music’s brightest star when he was shot four times at point-blank range while being driven along one of the city’s busiest streets. He died a week later.

His fame has only increased in the years since and his death is the subject of dozens of books, films and songs.

Until this week, many people had given up believing that police would crack one of America’s great unsolved crimes. But today, in a courtroom just a few miles from where he was killed and 27 years later, a man will enter a plea, charged with Tupac’s murder.

Tupac during an interview in 1991. Pic: AP
Tupac during an interview in 1991. Pic: AP

It is a moment Tupac’s family feared they would never see. His brother, Mopreme Shakur, told Sky News: “I was shocked, surprised, and taken aback because it’s been so long.

“We haven’t heard anything in 27 years. My daughter is 27 years old, so any accountability is good at this point.”

The man arrested is Duane Davis, better known in rap circles by his street name Keefe D.

More on Tupac Shakur

He has long been known to investigators as one of four suspects identified early in the investigation. He isn’t the accused gunman but is described as the group’s ringleader by authorities.

In Nevada you can be charged with a crime, including murder, if you help someone commit the crime.

‘How far are they going to go?’

Mopreme believes others need to be held criminally accountable for his brother’s murder. “It would be a shame after all this time for them not to do this properly,” he says, “meaning that they look at all the connections to it and get the total justice that we want.

“There’s doubt in their sincerity. How far are they going to go? Are they going to go all the way and get all the accomplices? “

Read more:
The story of a rapper ‘meant for something great’

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Tupac suspect recalls night rapper died

Duane Davis is accused of being the “shot caller” by authorities and is alleged to have handed the gun used to kill Tupac to the shooter. As early as 1998, Davis bragged about being at the scene of the crime and wrote a memoir in which he stated he was in the car from where the bullets were fired.

Mopreme says he believes Tupac’s murder would not have gone unsolved for so long if he had been white. “Pac was a young black male,” he says, “and we have challenges in this country when it comes to equal justice.

“That’s just the nature of the beast, it’s just the nature of the beast in America. I’m realistic about that.”

Continue Reading


‘A lot of people were happy’: David Beckham defends Qatar ambassador role




David Beckham has insisted he was not upset by the criticism he received over his decision to accept millions of pounds from Qatar to serve as a football ambassador around last year’s World Cup, despite its stance on LGBTQ+ rights. 

Continue Reading


Pamela Anderson praised by Jamie Lee Curtis for makeup-free appearance at Paris Fashion Week




Pamela Anderson praised by Jamie Lee Curtis for makeup-free appearance at Paris Fashion Week

Jamie Lee Curtis has praised Pamela Anderson for showing up to Paris Fashion Week with no makeup on, crediting her with kicking off a “natural beauty revolution”.

The Oscar-winning actress shared two pictures of the Baywatch star looking fresh-faced on Instagram.

Pamela Anderson attends designer Andreas Kronthaler's Spring/Summer 2024 Women's ready-to-wear collection show for fashion house Vivienne Westwood, during Paris Fashion Week in Paris, France, September 30, 2023. REUTERS/Johanna Geron
Pic: REUTERS/Johanna Geron


“Pamela Anderson in the middle of fashion week with so many pressures and postures, and and and, this woman showed up and claimed her seat at the table with nothing on her face.

“I am so impressed and floored by this act of courage and rebellion.”

Actress Selma Blair commented “Love this. Beautiful self-assuredness,” while comedian Chelsea Handler wrote, “That’s pretty iconic”.

Michelle Visage added, “And she was GLOWING”.

More on Fashion

The images of Anderson were taken on Thursday at the Isabel Marant Womenswear Spring/Summer 2024 show at Place Colette during Paris Fashion Week.

She also attended the Victoria Beckham show the following day.

Anderson, 56, who in her youth embraced cosmetic enhancements to the extreme, has since adopted a more natural look.

She told Elle last year that started going makeup-free after her makeup artist Alexis Vogel sadly died from breast cancer.

Anderson said: “She was the best. And since then, I just felt, without Alexis, it’s just better for me not to wear makeup.”

Calling her low-maintenance approach “freeing, and fun, and a little rebellious,” she went on to joke about “the effects of time, which come to us all”.

She said: “I think we all start looking a little funny when we get older. And I’m kind of laughing at myself when I look at the mirror. I go: ‘Wow, this is really…what’s happening to me?’ It’s a journey’,” she said. “I feel rooted for. I feel good. I’m in a good place.”

Click to subscribe to Backstage wherever you get your podcasts.

Meanwhile Curtis has long been a fan of growing old gracefully.

During a conversation with Maria Shriver for the Radically Reframing Ageing Summit in March 2022, she said: “I am an advocate now for natural beauty because I do feel that there has been a genocide on natural beauty.

“This word ‘anti-ageing’ has to be struck, because what the f*** is ‘anti-ageing?’ I am pro-ageing. I want to age with intelligence and grace and dignity and verve and energy. I don’t want to hide from it.”

Continue Reading