When Kate Herron went in for a meeting with Marvel executives about directing “Loki,” she brought a PowerPoint presentation with her ideas, but this was no brief deck — it was 280 slides full of detailed notes of everything ranging from style and music to casting Gugu Mbatha Raw, which came true.
“The whole pitch was everything — style, casting ideas, Gugu was in my pitch, music, I had a playlist for them,” Herron tells Gold Derby (watch above). “I think I had 280 slides. It was a lot and I remember just talking really quickly and just going through hundreds of pictures, but it had everything in it, like retro futuristic technology, the ‘Brazil’ aspect of the TVA, brutalist architecture mixed in with the Midwest kind of ‘Mad Men’-style [and] the look of the Void. I wanted it to look like an overgrown garden and a forgotten place.”
Herron, whose previous credits include “Sex Education,” didn’t want to leave a single stone unturned in her pitch. “It was like a big download of my brain,” she says. And it was important for her to go in with world-building ideas to show what she could do as a director as her background has been in comedy and drama. “The key thing for me, though, was I was not going to second-guess what they’re after because I’m never going to know that because the secrecy at Marvel is so real, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ve got these really good scripts, I’m just going to take my interpretation of them to them and say if you hire me, this is what you’ll get,'” Herron explains. “And I think that’s really key as well for a director because I … think there can be a feeling of ‘Oh no, I need to kind of just do what they want and I’m sort of lucky to be here.’ Don’t get me wrong, I’m very lucky to be here, but more in the sense of ‘OK, well, I’m just gonna tell them my interpretation of it.’ And I remember Kevin Feige saying that was a big part of what got me the job.”
One of Herron’s proposals that deviated from the script and ended up in the series was her vision for the Time Theater. In the pilot, Mobius (Owen Wilson) brings Loki (Tom Hiddleston) into the spacious room to interrogate him before showing the trickster moments of his life from the Sacred Timeline. The script originally had the scene cutting to footage of the memory.
“I was really inspired by ‘Minority Report’ and in that Tom Cruise sees a projection of his wife and she’s basically a life-sized 3D projection. And I was like, ‘This is what we should do with the Time Theater because then we can stay in the room with Loki as he sees these memories play out,’” Heron shares. “And because we have an amazing actor like Tom Hiddleston, you want to put the camera up close and see our Loki’s reaction because on the one hand as an MCU fan who’s seen what he’s seeing already, it’s so fascinating seeing a character react to what you’ve seen and have similar reactions to you. But also even if you aren’t as familiar with the films, I just think there was something so emotional that connected you to him in that moment when he does see those memories play out.”
While “Loki” has been renewed, Herron is not returning to direct as the plan was always one season for her. But she does know what she’d like to see as a fan in the second season. “I’d love to know more about B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) because I feel like we’ve set that up really nicely,” she says. “That’s the thing I love about Loki — he’s unpredictable — and I think even if I could try and guess what happens in the second season, I think that’s kind of what I hope for honestly: The things that I think it will be, it will absolutely not be. And I think that’s what drew me in when I got the script for the first episode. We all had our ideas of where did he go with the Tesseract? But I could not have predicted it would be an exploration of self and self-love. For me, I hope that continues in the next season.”
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