In the last month, we’ve seen some major movement on Marvel’s upcoming Thor movie. Major casting decisions were announced with Chris Hemsworth set to play Thor and Tom Hiddleston to play Loki, and we’ve heard director Kenneth Branagh talk about the cast and nailing down the shooting schedule.
With the big announcements made, we’re starting to finally see some more general news on the movie including these two interviews that I’ll discuss in this article.
CineFOOLS had the opportunity to speak with one of the writers of Thor movie, Ashley Miller (the other being Zack Stentz) and they had a lengthy interesting discussion about the film and their goals in writing it. Miller is a huge fan of the Thor comics (a big plus for the readers of the books) and he actually owns the complete Simonson run of the series among others. You’ll see that those comics in particular are helping inspire aspects of the screenplay.
I’ve selected some of the more interesting and relevant questions and responses for you to see.
To start, CineFOOLS asked how the writers make a character based in another world not only realistic for the viewers, but fit with the other characters in Marvel Studios’ other films.
“Thor’s powers are godly, yes. And his zip code is a little different. But at the end of the day, he’s a man. In the comics, Odin sends him to Earth because he’s not perfect. He’s brash, arrogant. Even over-confident. We all know that guy — some of us have even been that guy. Stan Lee’s genius was to give Thor-as-hero an emotional throughline we could all relate to, and knock him down a couple of pegs. So on that level, your question answers itself. The challenge is to dramatize that and make the audience see what the fans have known and believed about the character all along.
As for realism, I have to ask you back: what does that mean? If the standard is, does he throw his back out if he hurls the hammer a little too hard… probably not. He’s a god. He’s incredibly strong. He can fly. He tosses lightning bolts. There’s nothing realistic about any of that. But he also bleeds. He struggles. Life kicks him where it hurts the most. Dramatically speaking, the powers and Asgard are gravy. The meat — and what makes it a Marvel movie — is the character.”
Next, they asked if any particular storylines from the comics acted as an inspiration for the film and you can probably guess the answer:
“So many things. Certainly, Walt Simonson’s take on the character greatly informs what we brought to the script although I wouldn’t say we went to a specific story from his tenure on the book. We saw part of our job as taking all the many approaches to the character over the years (including the myths) and distilling them down into a form that worked for a two-hour movie. There’s a tremendous amount of ground to cover, so inspiration has to come from everywhere.”
The next part is exciting. CineFOOLS asked Ashley how he wants Thor should be portrayed what he’d like to bring to the character in his writing. His response:
“Grit. Not in the sense that you’d want to see a generic “dark” take on Thor, but in the sense that you want to feel Thor’s rage when he rages. You want to see him fight like hell, and take as much he dishes out — maybe more. You want to have a visceral reaction to the guy, and what happens to him. You don’t want his adventures to be clean and antiseptic. You want to see the dirt, and grime and blood. You want to feel every bone crunching moment of every fight. And when he unleashes the storm, you want to feel like you’re seeing the power of a GOD at work.
The best example I can give you is the end of Ultimates 2. When Thor shows up and kicks ass, he shows up and kicks ass. He isn’t screwing around. There’s a certain brutal, cock-eyed realism to Thor in that moment (and through that book in general) that I really resonate to and want to expand on.”
And that’s exactly how it should be done in my mind – Just thinking about this movie is getting me excited for it.
Continue to Page 2 for more from writer Ashley Miller and actor Tom Hiddleston…
Next, they asked about tying the film into the other Marvel movies and collaborating with other writers since all of their stories are converging to the Avengers team-up film and since we’ll no doubt be seeing a pile of characters crossing over and making cameos in each others’ solo movies.
“We definitely wrote with the bigger story in mind, or at least the bigger universe. Our script is very firmly rooted in the Marvel film world. We were constantly looking for ways to connect Thor to the other movies and heroes, even if they were simply in passing. Part of grounding Thor in the world is grounding him in the specific, fictional world he inhabits. How many of those references and connections make it to the final product are beyond our control, but they are everywhere.
I’ll also tell you the nicest thing about working for Marvel, as a fan. You never have to defend the character to the people who own him. You never have to explain to them why Thor is cool, or what he can do. They are as likely as you are to come up with some awesome bit of obscure continuity and pitch it as a story or character element. It’s a very writer friendly place.
The person we worked with most closely on a day-to-day basis was Craig Kyle. Craig has written for a number of Marvel titles, and his passion for the project and for comics is quite something. It was great to have an actual writer so intimately involved with the development of the script.”
Is it just me or are Miller’s answers are pretty darn perfect? This movie was already my most anticipated of the upcoming Marvel solo character films and now it just stepped up another notch… If that’s even possible.
To see the full interview, head on over to CineFOOLS. It really is a great conversation if you’re a fan of the comics or are interested in the prospect of this film.
That’s not all though! We have a tidbit of information from the recently cast Tom Hiddleston who originally was a candidate to play Thor but was instead given the opportunity to play the villain, Loki.
The Daily Mail had a chance to speak with the English actor, who can currently be seen alongside Thor director Kenneth Branagh in the British series, Wallander. Hiddleston had this to say about the character he’ll be playing when Thor starts principal photography in January:
“Loki’s like a comic book version of Edmund in King Lear, but nastier”.
He then went into a little more detail about the character:
“Well, Loki’s skilled in black magic and sorcery. He’s a shape-shifter and has all sorts of super powers from the dark arts. He can turn clouds into dragons, things like that.”
I wonder to what extent we’ll see Loki’s sorcery in the film. It’s certainly shaping up to be a visual spectacle. Combined with the very stylistic characters and dialogue, we’ll certainly be seeing Branagh’s Shakespearian background emphasized in this project. Since Tom Hiddleston will be playing the smaller magic-based character as opposed to the physically dominant Thor, he’ll definitely be working out on a different regiment:
“Ken wants Loki to have a lean and hungry look, like Cassius in Julius Caesar. Physically, he can’t be posing as Thor.”
Yet, another Shakespeare reference!
What do you think of what was said about the Thor movie?
Thor will be directed by the multi-talented Kenneth Branagh and is scheduled to hit theaters May 20, 2011.
Sources: Daily Mail, CineFOOLS