The editor on the heavily-improvised action comedy Thor: Ragnarok says he worked with a lot less improv footage on director Taika Waititi’s film than most comedies he’s edited in the past. Without question, the new Marvel Cinematic Universe entry Thor: Ragnarok is a bona fide worldwide blockbuster, having earned more than $121 million domestically over the weekend on its way to increasing the film’s global take a robust $427 million in its first week of business alone.
Showered with praise from critics nearly across the board, Thor: Ragnarok is being praised for the film’s lighter tone, which includes a lot more comedy than we’ve seen in the previous two Thor films. The change in direction was evident from the film’s teaser trailer debut in April, where Waititi clearly injected a lot more humor, color and offbeat scenarios into the God of Thunder’s third solo adventure than audiences were expecting.
Related: Is Ragnarok Too Much Of A Comedy?
Perhaps the biggest difference in Waititi’s approach in directing Thor: Ragnarok was how encouraged more off-the-cuff humor, a move he said at San Diego Comic-Con that resulted in up to 80 percent of the dialogue in the film being improvised. Apparently the casts’ improvisational skills were pretty polished, given the praise of the film’s editor, Zene Baker. In an exclusive interview, Baker told Screen Rant that he had a lot less improvised footage to work with on Thor: Ragnarok, which turns out to be a good thing.:
“I’m used to a lot more heavier improv than the amount that he (Waititi) did, actually. I was talking earlier, typically on the previous comedies I’ve done, typically for a two-minute scene I could (cut it down from) ten to fifteen hours of footage, whereas for Thor maybe for a two-minute scene – this is hypothetically – I could (cut it down from) six hours of footage. So for me, honestly, it was kind of – I don’t mean this in a bragging sort of way – it was actually kind of easy. Oh, wow, six hours, that’s a piece of cake.”
While Baker didn’t boil down the number of improvised takes for each of Thor: Ragnarok’s cast members, clearly he has had the benefit of editing the master improv skills of Jeff Goldblum, who brings a wickedly funny edge to Grandmaster in the film. The great thing is, Goldblum isn’t the only one to show off his comedic gifts in Thor: Ragnarok, which featured ample moments of funny dialogue from Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, and Tom Hiddleston. While Cate Blanchett played a much darker character as Hela, the Goddess of Death in the movie, there’s no doubt she brought a bit of biting humor to her own role, too.
Ultimately, the Thor cast should be thrilled with the way they impressed Baker, especially given that he’s edited comedy material by several accomplished improved comedians on such films as Snatched, This in the End, Neighbors, and The Night Before. Perhaps after this, we’ll start seeing Hemsworth and his Thor castmates in a few more comedy roles?
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