There’s an scene at the beginning of Thor: Ragnorok where the titular God of Thunder returns to his home realm of Asgard after his latest adventure to find his usually stoic father Odin throwing a hilariously out of character bacchanalia, complete with togas, people eating grapes, and a play that suspiciously depicts his shifty brother Loki in a pretty favorable light. It doesn’t take Thor long to figure out that Odin is actually Loki in disguise.
Watching Loki pretend to be Odin is one of the highlights of the movie. In fact, it’s such a fun scene that it’s easy to forget that you’re not actually watching Loki pretending to be Odin, you’re watching Anthony Hopkins pretending to be Tom Hiddleston pretending to be Loki pretending to be Odin. It’s a testament to both actors. In his three appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tom Hiddleston has turned Loki into a unique, fully-realized character, giving Hopkins so much to work with when he steps into the role.
So in honor of Thor: Ragnorok’s release on Blu-ray, let’s take a good hard look at some of cinema and television’s most multilayered performances, where actors played other actors who played characters who were impersonating and/or inhabiting the body of the original actor’s character.