Thor is arguably the toughest character and film to sell out of the upcoming slate of movies in development at Marvel Studios, but it is the one I’m most excited for.
Besides my interest in the character, what really grabs my interest is the man in charge: Kenneth Branagh.
The multi-talented Shakespearian actor/writer/director is an unbeatable choice to helm Thor and bring him to the silver screen and better yet, he loves the interconnectivity between the Marvel character, the universe and what they are attempting to do with the film.
There’s been nothing but praise for the man coming from Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada and president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, and now we have even more good stuff to say about the man.
In one of their meetings the other week, Branagh met with Quesada, Feige and others about the movie and he gave a performance to enact the film for those who were there. Quesada described it in his column as one of his best “highlights” working for Marvel:
“It was performance art… Kevin would give us the establishment of the shot and the situation: ‘Here we are. We’re in (take your pick of location). And here’s Odin and he’s coming up to (pick a character.)’ And then Kenneth would come in and give you the color commentary. ‘Odin has an air of majesty to him’ and he’d act out the Odin part or the Thor part. So we sat there and literally got a three-hour one-man show from Kenneth Branagh. It was fantastic.”
Quesada then went on to explain how Branagh is heavily focused on character development in the film and how that’s what will really stand out in his movie:
“It’s not just big hammers and capes and things like that. It’s about what makes the character tick. There’s definitely a reason for Thor, a reason for him being and a very deep family relationship and story in the movie that I think is going to be very cool.”
Adding to this, comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis spoke with Newsarama about Branagh’s Thor, the Iron Man 2 script and why fans of the comics should be excited for the upcoming movies…
Firstly, Bendis talked about what he’s currently writing for the Comics publisher (check out the Newsarama interview linked below if you’re interested) then went into his involvement with the films and how much fun it is. For the Iron Man fans out there, he’s said he read the script for it “30 times now” and that it’s very good.
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Bendis describes how he and other Marvel Comic writers had to read over the scripts for Iron Man 2, Captain America and Thor. When asked more about his role with the movies and it is his job to just read over scripts and make sure it’s okay, he responded:
“No, this is a little different than how Hollywood usually does it, which is a compliment to Kevin. Usually, Hollywood just does what it does. I know there are some comic book movies I hear that the people never even read a comic book based on the thing they’re working on.”
“They’ve asked me to be part of this team of guys who they pick their brains and take their advice. And for me it’s great to watch these writers deal with it and handle it. Watching them is a lot of fun.”
“And they fly us out. Like, when Kenneth Branagh was hired for Thor, they flew us out and we got to spend the day listening to a seven-hour performance of what he imagines the Thor movie would be.”
Wow, I wish I got to be a part of that. Was it really seven hours long, Brian?
“No, but it was Shakespearean, with flourishes. It was cool. It was a lot of fun. My wife goes, okay, that one I’m jealous of. She’s got a crush on him. And honestly, he’s not a let-down. I can see it. I can understand it. You’re spending enough time with someone that you know if they’re cool. And he’s cool.”
All great and positive news surround the very young Marvel Studios. As I said before, they’ve only really done two projects so the next few years will be a real test to measure how successful they can be developing their own projects for the big screen.
I find it funny that he points out that some other comic book films are made by folks who know nothing about the source material and we’ve seen how that usually ends out…
If it all works for Marvel and if these movies are financially successful (an easy expectation), then we’ll be seeing a big increase in production at Marve Studios and future financing to support up to four feature films a year in the not too distant future. That means all those multi-picture contracts we’re seeing for talent including Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson will be put to some good use – we’ve already heard talk of a new Nick Fury solo feature.
I love how Marvel is focused on working their movies correctly, using people who care about their goals and about the source material and having Marvel Comics involved for input and advice. It seems all is well and soon, we’ll start hearing updates for Captain America.
Which Marvel flick are you most excited for and are you confident each will reach the same success as last summer’s Iron Man?
Iron Man 2 hits theaters on May 7, 2010. The following summer, Thor opens May 20, 2011 and The First Avenger: Captain America opens July 22, 2011. Last but not least, we have the Avengers kicking off the following summer, May 4, 2012.