Wednesday, December 26, 2018

2018: In Review

2018: A Year in Review

If I had a dollar for every time someone complained that Tom seemed different or distant or sad I'd have enough money to make Oprah feel poor but I like to think as 2018 as the year that Tom Hiddleston unapologetically embraced Being Tom Hiddleston. In 2018, Tom released two films, stepped up in his role as an ambassador for British talent, privately dedicated himself to charity work, and teased several upcoming projects. Let's look back at some of the top moments from the past 12 months and what we can look forward to in 2019! 

Honorable Mention: Early Man 

You'd be forgiven for forgetting about Early Man. I'm pretty sure that if I didn't run a Tom Hiddleston blog that I wouldn't even know that the film existed. The promotional tour (if we can even call it that) was sadly lacking all the HiddleMayne love we expected and here in the US Early Man had the unfortunate distinction of being released the same weekend as Black Panther... but it is such a fun film! Early Man is a stop-motion comedy from Aardman about a Stone Age tribe that challenges a team from the Bronze Age to a football/soccer match in order to save their home from industrialization. The main character, Dug, is just as adorkable as Eddie Redmayne appears to be in real life. Goona is just as badass as you'd expect any character played by Maisie Williams to be. Tom Hiddleston voices the villain Lord Nooth, but this villain is the polar opposite of any character Tom has played before. This is really his funniest role to date (Give Tom more comedy roles please!) Even Eddie Redmayne admits that Lord Nooth has all the best lines in the film. If you haven't seen it yet - please give Early Man a chance, especially if you have children. 

PS: There is also a really easy-to-play companion game called Early Man Run which is still available to download. Every time you lose Lord Nooth comes on screen to taunt you, sometimes in song form! 

Number Five: Ralph Lauren Tom 2.0

Gucci Out! With the exception of the Early Man premiere (Gucci) and Infinity War premiere in Los Angeles (Corneliani) Every. Single. New. Suit. that Tom Hiddleston wore in 2018 was from Ralph Lauren. Together they put on a masterclass in sartorial excellence.  Velvet? Check! Pastel colors? Check! Stripes? Check! Three-piece? Yes ma'am. TH x RL provided all you could ask for and more. 

Tom and Ralph Lauren previously had a working relationship in 2015-16 with RL dressing Tom for events and premieres. 

This relationship culminated with Tom being invited as a very special guest at Ralph Lauren's 50th Anniversary Show in 2018. 

Number Four: Hype Man Tom 

Is there an award for Best Supporting Co-star? If anyone needed a wingman in 2018 Tom Hiddleston was the guy to call. In July, Tom presented Benedict Cumberbatch with the Outstanding Achievement Award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards. He can do anything; he has done almost everything. He's one of the best we have. He's a great actor and a good man, and I'm proud to call him my friend. Later that month Tom joined Rodney Crowell on stage to perform Move It On Over which one fan in attendance refer to as "the icing on the pleasure pie". Rodney was the executive music producer on I Saw the Light. 

In September, the cast and crew of Unrelated had a poignant reunion at the Stolen Summers Film Session to celebrate Joanna Hogg. Unrelated was Tom's first film role and Joanna's directorial debut. They went on to make two more movies together and in 2018 Tom also named Joanna as his Leading Lady. Three days later, Tom Hiddleston and Jeff Goldblum had a fanfiction worthy night at the GQ Man of the Year Awards where Tom presented him with the Icon Award. 

Number Three: Tom Hiddleston Gives Himself to Charity 

This is actually the opening line from Tom Hiddleston's 2013 profile in Flaunt Magazine but as you can see - nothing has changed. Tom is most widely known for his work with Unicef UK but in 2018 he showed support for a wide range of issues and organizations.

Throughout the year, Tom's charity work showed a major focus on children. During the Infinity War press tour he met with children supported by the Starlight Children's Foundation wish granting programme. All the Marvel stars auctioned off original drawings on Charity Buzz which raised $67,937 for Starlight. In May, Tom hosted a screening of Avengers: Infinity War for children at Westminster and Chelsea Hospital. Followed by a Q&A that was all about his beard - the kids know what's important! Tom visited the Great Ormond Street Hospital to highlight their Christmas Stocking Appeal. Tom also met with children from Place2Be which focuses on childhood mental health. 

Time's Up, which highlights the issues of sexual harassment and gender inequality, was one of the biggest issues of the year. In February, the UK launched their own version of Time's UP called the Justice and Equality Fund. The fund has raised more that £2.7 million! Tom Hiddleston quietly donated £10,000 to the fund as soon as it was announced. (I say quietly because Tom never released any sort of statement about it. He just did it. Because that's how he does) Then in July, Tom joined forces with Gemma Arterton, Gemma Chan, Felicity Jones, and more for Leading Lady Parts. This short film was a humorous look at the real discrimination and harassment many actors face. 

Some other organizations Tom supported in 2018: 

Number Two: The Tom Hiddleston Speaker Tour 

If Tom Hiddleston wanted to give up acting and just appear as a speaker at events for the rest of his life I would be cool with that because I could listen to Tom Hiddleston talk forever. He always has the most interesting things to say and I learn so much. As a part of Tom's role as BFI and BAFTA Ambassador he appeared at several events to promote upcoming British actors, writers, and creatives, as well as to give insight into the world of acting. 

In October, Tom took part in the Intelligence Squared Dickens vs Tolstoy debate. Tom, Julia Sawalha, Timothy West, Zawe Ashton, and Kit Kingsley performed selected works by Charles Dickens and Leo Tolstoy, and the audience ultimately decided which author was better. Tolstoy won but I think it was an unfair matchup since Tom Hiddleston performed most of the Tolstoy pieces. And he managed to do the one thing I didn't know was humanly possible - make Tolstoy funny! 

Later in October, Tom sat down with Josie Rourke for the JW3-Alan Howard Speaker Series. This goes right next to Jenelle Riley's podcast as my favorite Tom Hiddleston interview of all time. These type of conversational interviews are always so much better than magazines because they're focused on the art rather than clickbait. Together they discuss their inspirations, training, Shakespeare, the importance of diversity, and so much more. There's a stretch (15:15-24:39) where Tom and Josie talk about talk about actors getting into the mind space to bare their soul to an audience and how we all collectively share in the experience that is the most incredible thing. If you only ever watch one Tom interview in your life - pick this one! 

Tom also took part in the Dead Poets Live: The Broken Word event but we are still waiting for pictures and video released. 

Number One: HiddlesCon

Ultimately, 2018 was all about the fans. This year, Tom Hiddleston appeared at THREE separate Comic Con events (Seattle, Chicago, Tokyo). Tom really went above and beyond. For each of the events Tom did three full days and had a schedule busier than anyone else so he could meet as many fans as possible. Based on the number of tickets available I estimate that Tom personally met over 30,000 fans! And each one of those fans had a story about how generous and good smelling (see details on the FAQ page) he was. During the panels and stage presentations Tom made sure to thank all of his fans for their support: I love coming to these events because I actually get to meet everybody, and it's a face-to-face connection as opposed to a remote one. 

HiddlesCon also brought us the pajama wearing, piggy back ride giving, panel crashing, and bro-bonding partnership that is TH2 (That's supposed to say TH Squared but I don't know how to make that symbol). 

As well as the pairing we never knew we needed of Tom and Ezra Miller. 

What's in store for 2019: 

It's only the first day of the year but Tom Hiddleston already has a full schedule for 2019. HiddlesCon will continue with at ACE Arizona on January 12-13. Unlike the 2018 Con events, Tom is only doing two days this time around and surprisingly almost every item is still available to purchase.

Tom will star in Betrayal at the Harold Pinter Theatre from March 5- June 1. Rehearsals should start around the time Tom returns from Arizona. So far very little has been revealed about the upcoming production and Tom is the only confirmed cast member. 

Sometime later this year, Tom will start filming the Loki television series for Disney's new streaming service, Disney+. Since production won't begin until at least June the series will most likely debut in 2020. Tom teased the series at Tokyo Comic Con: I know what's coming, but I can't tell you. It's very exciting. 

Also, hopefully at some point in 2019 Josh Wilson and Wilson Productions will finally reveal their super secret Tom Hiddleston and Helen Mirren project. 

Some other items to look out for in 2019: 

  • The South Sudan Documentary: Tom has been working on this since 2015. He spoke publicly about the documentary in 2016 and showed some early footage in 2017. I've checked with the producers and was advised that there is still no official release date. Unfortunately, South Sudan is the most dangerous country in the world for humanitarian workers which makes it very difficult to get the necessary access.  
  • The Night Manager 2: Susanne Bier confirmed recently that the project is moving forward but she will not be directing again. 
  • Hard Boiled with Ben Wheatley: Ben is already confirmed to direct this and Tom is rumored to play the lead role. It could be awhile before we see this since Ben already has another film on his schedule first. 
  • Richard II: Tom Hiddleston, Damian Lewis, and James Ivory have been trying to make this film for YEARS. James Ivory spoke about being unable to find funding back in April. Hopefully with the success of Call Me By Your Name and other period dramas in 2018 this film will finally get the financial support it needs.