The Avengers Stars Robert Downey Jr., Tom Hiddleston Have Their Own Heroes

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The Avengers is raking it in at the box office this weekend — it already has the highest midnight opening of a comic-book movie — and even though it’s probably not going to break that many records, we’re pretty sure Robert Downey Jr. and company are at the top of Marvel’s list of real-life heroes. At the red-carpet premiere of the movie last week, we decided to let the stars get a little sappy and share who their heroes are. Get ready to “awwww.”

“My mum and my dad,” Tom Hiddleston, who plays villain Loki, told VH1 News without hesitation. “Just because they’ve taught me everything I know really about life. They haven’t consciously taught it to me, they, they’ve just, uh, lead by example. They’re intensely good people, with a great deal of kindness and humility. It’s only now that I’m older that I can appreciate it.”

Clark Gregg also praised his Stanford professor father, “who’s dedicated his life to exploring different religions in a way that breaks down the imagined barriers,” along with President Obama. “I’m gonna come out and say that I’m a big fan of Barack Obama,” he said. “I don’t think he had a perfect first term but I believe, I like the things he believes in.”

After praising his wife and parents, Mark Ruffalo got a bit political too (not surprisingly), saying that the oil and gas industry are his nemeses.

Leave it to Mr. Downey to give us a much more philosophical answer: “Avengers is just a metaphor for the heroism that dwells within each of us.”

But our favorite answer came from Christine Lahti, who isn’t even in The Avengers but took a trip down the carpet just for fun. “Well, I liked Annette [Funicello] in the Mouseketeers. Honestly, there were so few strong women role models on television when I was growing up … I thought she was sassy and, and kind of independent, so I’d have to say she was a hero.”

Related: Cobie Smulders Talks About Those Wild Nights With The Avengers Cast
What Makes Avengers Villain Tom Hiddleston Geek Out?