In a new production of Shakespeare’s tragedy, Corionalus, directed by Josie Rourke, for the Donmar Warhouse, ELLE favourite Tom Hiddleston plays Caius Marcius Coriolanus. Here, he shares his insight into the play:
‘Coriolanus is really interesting because the arch is fully tragic. The character’s name is Caius Marcius and he is an extraordinary soldier. He is the guy that you want on your team. He is just a righteous badass. He exists and excels in a space where things are very black and white.
‘There’s a war against a mortal enemy and he takes a town called Coriolies single-handed. He’s not a skilled politician but he gives a big, rousing speech and the gate to the town opens and he says, ‘now put your shields before your hearts and fight with hearts more proof than shields’. And runs in and the gates close behind him and his entire army thinks, we’ve just lost our best man. He’s locked in this enemy town, he’s gone. What are we going to do? Half an hour later he’s on the battlements covered in blood, screaming hell fury and he’s taken the town single-handed.
‘The town’s name is Corialies. At the end of the battle the army are so proud of him. He won’t take any prizes so instead they call him Marcius Corialanus as he took Corialies on his own.
‘He has this backbone and he’s unflinching and he does not dilute his integrity at all to the point of being incredibly proud and some might say selfish. Basically his integrity and his virtue are his downfall. And in terms of the arch of a tragic hero it’s perfect. Amazing, amazing. Take a town, war hero, rebel, outcast, enemy – dead.’
Source: ELLE UK
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When Tom Hiddleston, Mark Gatiss, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen and the cast of the Donmar Warehouse’s production of Coriolanus came face to face with Shakespeare’s First Folio it was a day to remember.
Our gallery has been updated with new images of Tom rehearsing for the play “Coriolanus”.
Tom declared himself ‘battle-ready’ and eager to take up his sword as a mighty Roman general, for his first stage appearance in five years. He plays the title role in Josie Rourke’s production of Shakespeare’s tragedy Coriolanus, which begins performances at the Donmar Warehouse on December 6.
‘There’s going to be real blood and sweat,’ the actor said, only half joking. For several weeks, fight director Richard Ryan, has been putting Tom and Hadley Fraser, who plays Coriolanus’s Volscian enemy, Tullus Aufidius, through combat training. ‘He’s a war machine,’ Tom says of Coriolanus. ‘So I have to look as if I could lead an army. He’s at his most alive in battle, but he doesn’t know how to be in peacetime.
He returns from the battlefield a hero, and the people want to make him their political leader — but he’s a master of war, not politics. ‘The soldier side of him requires cut-and-dried discipline and the clarity of mind you need to win a battle. He’s battle ready — but you don’t draw your sword in the Senate!’ Tom told me that he and director Rourke have been exploring Coriolanus’s relationship with his mother. ‘He has no father, so he was raised by his patriotic mother. It’s odd that he’s so obsessively masculine — and this is 200 years before Freud,’ the actor noted.
Two new rehearsal images have been added to our gallery.
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