‘Loki’: Sophia Di Martino on Fighting and Falling in Love
Sylvie and Loki are like “two teenagers who have never had these feelings before.”
Have you ever met a female Loki? When Loki asks that of the group of Lokis he comes across in the Void, they all turn their nose up at the idea — Boastful Loki even goes so far as to say that a female Loki sounds terrifying. And honestly, for those who are unaware of who Sylvie is and what she’s capable of should be scared. Considering she grew up at the “ends of a thousand words,” she’s not afraid of anything...well, except maybe falling in love with Loki.
Introduced at the start of Marvel Studios’ Loki, viewers don’t realize it’s Sylvie — another Loki variant — under the hood who’s been traveling around on the timeline targeting the Time Variance Authority (TVA) and killing Minutemen. After the TVA enlists Loki to try and help stop the dangerous Loki Variant, Loki himself gets caught up in her mission and her personality. Sure, she might be difficult, irritating, and tries to hit him all the time, but she does start to grow on Loki.
Stepping into the role is Sophia Di Martino, a brand-new player for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a daunting task, but so far Martino has completely won over viewers with her brash, punch-now-ask-questions-later Sylvie. And just like Loki, she certainly has some tricks up her sleeve.
To get ready for the role, Martino first looked to the source material for the character: Tom Hiddleston’s performance as Loki.
“I watched all of Tom's stuff and I got to know as much about Loki as I could,” Martino tells Marvel.com. “Then I forgot all about that and tried to create something unique. Kate Herron, the director, was, ‘Soph, do whatever you want with it. Just play. Just have fun with it.’”
Viewers meet Sylvie mid-mission on her quest to take down the TVA. “She's so angry, she's so focused,” explains Di Martino. But there are more layers to her than just that, as she quickly gives Loki a run for his money.
“She's sarcastic,” Di Martino adds. “She's sort of cutting to Loki, which is so fun to play. And she's got this fighting style, which is rough around the edges. She's not an elegant fighter.”
Sylvie is not scared to throw punches or wield her machete; her fighting style on full display throughout Episodes 3, 4, and 5. First, she’s going to try and disarm Loki with her bare hands, next she’s going to decapitate the Time Keepers with her blade, and then she’s going to try to fight off the TVA on her own.
“She's not trained like Loki is,” Di Martino continues. “She can't do some of the flourishes that he would, but she's figured out how to brawl. She's a street fighter and she loves it. That was a really great key to unlocking part of Sylvie for me, was how much she just loves a fight. She knows that she's either going to win, or if she isn't going to win, she'll survive. She's that damaged character who's dangerous because she knows she can survive.”
One moment that speaks to Sylvie’s mindset more than anything else is in Episode 5 when she finds herself in the Void, too. Waking up in a deserted school bus, instead of opening the door and exiting, Sylvie breaks the windshield.
“There's literally a door that's open right there, but she'd rather kick the window out because why not?” Di Martino says with a laugh. “It's definitely a Sylvie trait, isn't it? That she just wants to kick stuff and break stuff.”
This mindset comes from the fact that Sylvie was plucked from her timeline as a child and brought before the TVA. But, she managed to avoid a pruning by stealing Judge Renslayer’s TemPad and disappears — and then spends the next few decades evading the TVA at every turn.
“[Her life] was taken away from her,” she reflects. “It really explains why Sylvie's so bitter and jealous of Loki and his charmed life, when she's been on the run from the TVA for as long as she can remember. She's this wild cat who's just on a survival mission.”
The only thing — or, well person – who gives Sylvie pause is Loki himself. After the two share a moment on Lamentis-1 that’s so powerful it causes a straight up and down spike on the timeline, it’s clear that there’s something more brewing between them. Di Martino herself likens the pair to “two teenagers who have never had these feelings before.”
“Obviously, Tom’s a super charming, very easy to fall-in-love-with guy. With Sylvie, I was really aware that she's never had feelings like this about anybody. This is a hugely vulnerable position for her to be in. I really wanted it to be not too easy for her to just sort of go there. It’s that moment where it's so awkward. They just don't know how to put it into words. They don't know how to behave around each other. It's all a bit too intense and a bit much.”
After the two wind up in the Void (wrapped up under a blanket together, no less), they try to discuss what’s going on between them. Mobius has informed them both about their connection, which caused the Nexus spike, so the only thing left to do is talk it out. But even knowing what’s going on, and trying to articulate it, is a brand new, difficult thing for Sylvie to handle.
“Sylvie still feels extremely uncomfortable showing that vulnerability and admitting that she likes someone in that way, or that she has feelings for someone in that way,” Di Martino says. “It's something that she's just never been able to do. Never have the opportunity, never met anyone that she's ever liked, let alone cared about. She's got a wall built up. She's not going to just let that down for anybody, and even if she wants to, it's difficult to get rid of.
Though the two try to chat about it, they don’t get far. “You know those people that are really awkward at hugging? I imagine it's almost like that [for Loki and Sylvie]. [The kind of] people that need a hug the most but kind of just don't know how to do it. It's a little bit like that. I just want to hug both of them and say, ‘It's all right, guys. It's all right. Let's have a group hug.’”
While we see the duo hold hands, will they actually get that calming hug? With only one episode left before the end of the season, anything could still happen on Loki.
Marvel Studios' Loki is now streaming exclusively on Disney+.
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