Loki star Sophia Di Martino on what makes Sylvie particularly 'dangerous'
Sophia Di Martino's Sylvie may not be Lady Loki, but she's definitely on a similar path as Tom Hiddleston's titular God of Mischief on Loki.
"One of the themes that we're exploring, is about what makes a person good or inherently bad and can a person be purely good or purely bad. Hopefully by the end of the series, we will have answered some of those questions a little bit more," Di Martino tells EW when asked what's to come for her wily character after episode 3.
Introduced in Loki's second episode, Sylvie is a Loki variant with a different backstory who is on the run from the Time Variance Authority and has some master plan that involved bombing the Sacred Timeline. After pulling off that explosive feat, she escaped through a time portal and Loki followed. The duo spent some quality time together in episode 3 because they were stranded on Lamentis-I, a doomed planet. As they made their way toward an ark, they matched wits and learned more about each other. Unfortunately, they didn't reach the ark in time and were left on the planet, which was about to be destroyed.
Below, EW chats with Di Martino about making Sylvie similar yet different from Loki, developing their fight styles, episode 3's climactic oner, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How much did they tell you when you auditioned and got the part?
SOPHIA DI MARTINO: Absolutely nothing. I knew nothing when I auditioned. I did a self-taped audition, so I didn't meet anyone. I already knew [director] Kate Herron, but I didn't know the project that she was working on. The scene I was sent was a very short scene, two people on a train, having a conversation and their names, I believe were Bob and Sarah. It was all like fake names, so I didn't have a clue what I was doing.
Was it the same conversation that Loki and Sylvie have on the train in episode 3?
I think that's the scene that ended up being in episode 3. I mean, it was pretty different by the time we shot it, and it had had lots of work done to it, and it was probably longer. Yeah, I believe that's the scene that ended up being the train scene.
What conversations did you have with Kate about making Sylvie both similar, because she's a variant, and different from Loki?
It was really important to Kate and to me and to everyone that Sylvie is her own character, and Kate was like, "You do what you want with her. Just go for it." I had free reign over Sylvie, which was amazing. I think it's clever because the scripts give us what's similar about her and Loki. And also she has the mischievousness, and she has the chaotic energy, and she has that relentless sort of hedonism that he has. That was all there. Then the rest of it, I could just play with really, which is such a gift. And it was a lot of fun finding who this person is.
In terms of making her unique, what did you gravitate toward as you were crafting your performance?
The fighting style was a big one for me. We started stunt training and fight training quite early on in the process. As soon as I got to Atlanta in like January 2020, I think it was. And we had a conversation and realized that Sylvie should be like a street fighter. Like she's a brawler and she loves fighting. Her fighting style is very untrained, not elegant like Loki, not balletic like Loki, but just sort of like brute force and just loves beating people. I think that was quite a helpful thing to know about Sylvie because it tells me a lot about her, and the fact that she enjoys it gives her that sort of mischievous edge, and that's probably one of the first things that I was drawn to.
Yeah, there's that moment on the train where she smiles while fighting the guards even though is this is the kind of confrontation they were trying to avoid. It's clear she's having a blast fighting.
Because she's on this mission and she's waited for a long time to be on this mission. I think she's just enjoying finally being there. Also, she probably knows that she's either going to win the fight or she's going to be okay if she doesn't. I think she's had a pretty hard time, and damaged people are dangerous because they know they can survive. I read that somewhere once.
As you mentioned, Loki and Sylvie do share that mischievousness. Did you rewatch any of Tom's films to borrow aspects from his performance in capturing that?
Yeah. I rewatched Tom's films and I found that super helpful. And then, in fact, when we were choreographing some of the fights scenes we chose to for Sylvie and Loki to mirror each other, so you will see occasionally us sort of pull the same pose as we're about to fight. Or I think early on, actually in episode 3, they get quite annoyed that they're both in the same pose, even though they don't want to be. And little things like that were really fun to play with.
Episode 3 is very much concerned with establishing Loki and Sylvie's dynamic and watching them match wits. What was your favorite moment or exchange to shoot?
It was really fun shooting the [last] scene, which is the one that's like one shot, but [has] invisible stitches when we're trying to get to the ark, the spaceship. That was amazing to film. It was all night shoots and really challenging for a number of reasons, but I loved it. It was so fun just the challenge of making it look like a oner, and finding out where those stitches were going to be, and trying to try to block it. There was a lot of rehearsing to be done. We didn't do that many takes because it took so long to rehearse, but when we did it, it didn't take that many takes because we knew what we were doing by that point. That was really fun. Just the energy on set was great. Tom got in different food trucks every night to sort of treat us all to keep morale high. One night we'd have truffle fries or whatever, and the next night we'd be in donuts. I mean, I love food, so I was in my element. Midnight snacks every night. It was great.
How much of the set in that last scene was built versus green screen?
That particular set was an entire set build, and it was really a beautiful set. It was all built outside in the parking lot of the studio and painted in these incredible sort of glow in the dark paints. I don't know the correct term for them. In the daytime it looked like a sort of town made out of polystyrene and paint. Then at night when the lights were on it, it looked like you see it. Just this stunning other-worldly town. It was sort of built in a horseshoe shape so we could run around and then run into a restaurant, run out again and run around a bit more. They really wanted it to be continuous so the camera could move around and follow us and then we could swap around. It was really clever and a lot of work went into the planning stages of that scene, I'm sure. Kate had a really strong vision for it and I think it's great.
Loki is very forthcoming about his backstory whereas Sylvie isn't. How much of what Loki shares was new information to Sylvie and do you think she's quite envious of his Asgardian upbringing?
I think she didn't know too much about Loki beforehand, but I don't think she really cares. [Laughs] I think that's really harsh. I think Loki is so sort of shocked and appalled that there are other versions of him, and Sylvie's just sort of like, "Yeah duh, I've been around for a while. Like I knew this was going to happen at some point." I think she's a little bit bitter about his upbringing, and the fact that he's had what looks like an easy time of it compared to her. That he grew up a prince, I think she's probably a little bit like, "Pfft, You're a posh boy." She doesn't know the half of what you've been through.
When they first start talking about the love metaphor, she smiles a bit and it appears as though she's at least somewhat charmed by him.
I think by that point in episode 3, they have started to sort of find a mutual respect for one another. I think at that point, Sylvie finds Loki absolutely ridiculous, but quite funny. Yeah. And she's definitely softening in general. That's the first time you see her vulnerable, I think, in that scene.
New episodes of Loki drop every Wednesday on Disney+.