Cover Media Drafts

Gugu Mbatha-Raw turned down ‘violent’ comic book roles before Loki turn

2019 Evening Standard Theatre Awards
Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Loki star Gugu Mbatha-Raw turned down previous comic book roles due to concerns about the depictions of violence and representation of women in superhero films.

The Morning Show actress has landed the lead role of Ravonna Renslayer in the Disney+ series opposite Tom Hiddleston, which is based on his character, Loki, from the Thor and Avengers movies.

In an interview with Porter, she admitted to previously walking away from superhero roles due to creative concerns and the restrictive contracts that are often involved.

“There have been a few I’ve auditioned for and not got,” the 38-year-old told the publication. “And one or two (that) I got and turned down.”

“Sometimes (the role) was so secretive, I was like, I’m not signing up to something where I don’t know what it is. Sometimes I wasn’t sure the character was going to have enough layers. Sometimes the tone of the piece just wasn’t to my taste: how the violence is depicted, how the women are represented. Those things are important to me.”

The Beyond the Lights star finally made the leap to take a role in the Marvel series, and it was the presence of a female director and past acquaintance with Hiddleston that changed her mind.

She explained: “For a start, it was exciting that Kate Herron was directing all six episodes,” Mbatha-Raw said of its director.

“Also, having been to drama school with Tom Hiddleston, there was a lovely circle of life about working on something together at this point.”

Both studied at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, though the Belle actress explains she was in the year above Hiddleston, 40, so they didn’t share any classes. However, she admitted he did make an impression.

“He was blond. Sort of angelic,” the Belle actress revealed. “He seemed very…centered is probably the best word.”

Another draw was her character’s backstory, as she explained, “That was exciting, to be able to take ownership of a character pre the comics. She’s an authoritative character. Morally ambiguous. “She has to make some difficult choices. I loved that there is a complexity to her that I hadn’t seen in any of the (superhero) roles that had come my way before.”

– Cover Media