C2E2 has descended on Chicago once again – and one of the convention’s most anticipated events this year was a Q&A with Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth. He fielded questions about the making of that film, his preparation for The Avengers, and also spoke briefly about his involvement with the upcoming Red Dawn remake and Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods.
Hemsworth began by explaining what the audition process for Thor was like and revealed that it actually took three or four months of callbacks before he landed the part. As it turns out, Joss Whedon had a hand in helping him get cast.
While shooting Cabin in the Woods, Whedon asked Hemsworth if he was being considered for Thor. Hemsworth mentioned that there had been some discussions early on, but that he hadn’t heard much after that. According to Hemsworth, Whedon called up Thor director Kenneth Branagh and encouraged him to give the young actor another look.
After he signed onto the film, Hemsworth began devouring comic books and reading up on Norse mythology in order to do the character justice, but learned fairly quickly that looking for validation from the fans was a tricky business:
“It was one of those things where you start to read things and you see things you shouldn’t see … but you know, you try to stay away from blogs and things. It’s a little distracting.”
Hemsworth referred to Branagh as “a genius with story and characters” and expressed a great deal of admiration for the first rate cast that was assembled for the film. When asked about the inevitable differences between the movie and the source material, Hemsworth insisted that Thor will actually stay incredibly true to the comics:
“I think it follows it pretty closely. It’s an origin story, It’s Thor sort of beginning of this quest, about to take on the throne. You know, the comics have been going on for forty of fifty years or something so there’s many different directions we could have gone in, but as far as the character is concerned we did as much research as we could and spoke to as many people like Stan Lee and what have you. You know, got their opinions and it was a very collaborative sort of process. I think it definitely hits it on the head with what people want to see.”
He was also asked how much humor there would be in the film and admitted that quite a bit more had crept it than they originally envisioned:
“There’s actually quite a bit. A lot more than was probably first anticipated. The story has a fantastical element to it with obviously other universes and worlds and we’re playing gods, but at the center of it there’s a very human story and relatable. And then when Thor comes to Earth he’s this entitled prince of the realm and has the world at this fingertips … and he tries to pull that on Earth with Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings and there’s a real element of that fish out of water – and some great comic moments to be had there.”
Thor fans have been scrutinizing the costume that Hemsworth wears in the film ever since the first images debuted, but he had nothing but praise for the end result and revealed that it helped complete his transformation into the iconic character:
“Yeah, it was awesome. I remember being a kid and sort of dressing up as some kind of superhero and running around the house and it looked nowhere near as cool as what we have. It was just incredible. I walked on set with Anthony Hopkins and we were both dressed up in full gear and we looked at each other and shook our heads and he said ‘There’s no acting required here is there? We’ll let these do the work!’”
Hemsworth was then asked if signing a multi-picture deal that included Thor, The Avengers, and potential sequels to both of those films was a difficult decision due to the extensive commitment that it would require. Hemsworth grinned from ear to ear and replied:
“Uh… nope! Where do I sign? I’ve been talking to Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans and they’re just super excited about it. I think the excitement overshadows the nerves.”
Naturally, he was pressed for details on the plot of The Avengers and after joking that he had the script with him and that we could all read it when we were done, he insisted that he’d be kicked out of the film if he revealed anything. All he could say was that it was exciting, epic, and huge. A member from the audience then asked him about The Skrulls, who were recently rumored to be the villains in the film. To me, Hemsworth seemed genuinely confused by who or what they were and even turned to the moderator for an explanation. We know that he’s read Whedon’s script, so take his confusion for what you will.
Hemsworth has the unique distinction of being in both films that MGM delayed in the midst of their bankruptcy – but he’s been told that Cabin in the Woods and Red Dawn will both be released at some point this year. He says the former is a mix of The Truman Show and Night of the Living Dead and promises that it’s very intelligent, very humorous, and a lot of fun. As for the Red Dawn remake, he claims that it’s more character-driven than the original – and that he did not solicit Charlie Sheen for advice on his role.
When asked what other comic book characters he’d want to play if given the chance, he admitted that Robin was who he used to dress up as when he was a kid so that became his default answer. Someone else yelled out He-Man to which Hemsworth laughed, “He-Man, there you go! Yeah, why not?” Then someone else chimed in and suggested Aquaman – which made the majority of the audience boo. No love for the King of Atlantis at C2E2 I guess.
He wrapped things up by indicating that he’d seen a recent cut of Thor and that he was incredibly pleased with how it had turned out. Someone asked if he felt any pressure for the film to do well critically and commercially, but Hemsworth acknowledged that at this point all of that is completely out of his control:
“For me, the hard work is done. We all put in 110% shooting the film and I think that’s all you can really do. I really am proud of it and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Unfortunately, there were no major revelations regarding Thor or The Avengers - but Hemsworth’s enthusiasm for both projects was obvious and definitely very encouraging.
Here’s the full video of the entire Thor panel:
Thor hits theaters on May 6th, 2011. The Avengers is scheduled for May 4th, 2012.