By Tim Molloy
NEW YORK (TheWrap.com) - As you sat through "Thor," little did you know you were getting a dash of Shakespeare - courtesy of Tom Hiddleston.
The British actor stars in the new PBS series "The Hollow Crown," an adaptation of the Bard's Henriad: "King Richard II," "King Henry IV, Part 1," King Henry IV, Part 2," and "King Henry V." Hiddleston's Prince Hal becomes King Henry V over the course of the plays.
Hiddleston said in a Television Critics Association panel on Monday that he saw similarities between Hal and Loki, the Norse God of Mischief he played in "Thor" and "The Avengers." So did his "Thor" director, Shakespearean actor and director Kenneth Branagh.
"When I was building Loki as a character with Kenneth Branagh, all of my references - both of our references - were Shakespearean," said Hiddleston (pictured with "Crown" executive producer David Horn). "There's a version of Loki in Branagh's film that is sort of Prince Hal-like. He's a prince wrestling with the authority of his father.
"And I was borrowing from Julius Caesar: 'Cassius has a lean and hungry look.' I was stealing from Iago and his capacity for strategy and tact. He's an immaculate tactician who's acting out of self interest. ... I think he's quite a Shakespearean villain, in many regards."
"The Hollow Crown," which Sam Mendes produced for BBC2 last year, will begin airing on PBS's "Great Performances" beginning Friday, September 20.