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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

INTERVIEW WITH THE CAST OF THOR


One of the writers for The Movie Watch attended the press junket for up and coming release of Thor. We already reviewed the movie on Saturday but for your enjoyment, and ours, here is the interview with the cast of Thor, speaking about their experiences working on the movie. Present at the junket, was Chris Hemworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Anthony Hopkins (Odin), Idirs Elba (Heimdall), Jamie Alexander (Sif) and Kat Dennings (Darcy).

Thor Original Movie Poster Double Sided 27x40

Enjoy:
INTERVIEWER:  For Tom.  Apparently, we heard from the last panel that you thought you were the hero of the movie; and that you wanted to be Thor.  Could you talk a little about that?
TOM HIDDLESTON:  Well, I think there are no villains in this world - there are just misunderstood heroes.  And - Loki definitely - I think Loki thinks he is the hero.  There’s an aspect of Loki that is, essentially, that if you boil this film down to its barest elements, it’s about a father and two sons.  And both those sons are two brothers competing for the love and affection and pride of their father, Odin.  And I think there’s just sort of a deeply misguided intention within Loki.  He has a kind of a damage within him.
I didn’t actually want to be Thor, but my hair is in all sorts of trouble at the moment.  I was born with very blonde, curly hair - not unlike Gene Wilder in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. And so - and I’m 6’2”.  So like every other English speaking actor over 6 foot who’s got blonde hair, I went up for the part of Thor.  And - but I’m not built like a house, like the man to my right [Hemsworth].  And there’s no way in Odin’s Asgard I could have delivered what Chris has done.  It was always meant to be this way, I think.  And so yeah, I’m - I think we’re much happier as things are.

INTERVIEWER:  All right, Chris, well, this is a movie about a hero.  What kind of hero do you think we need today?  And also, if you have a favorite movie hero, I’d like to know.
CHRIS HEMSWORTH:  Good question.  You know, I mean, growing up, you know, my parents were my heroes, you know, and my dad, in the way they conducted their lives.
I, you know, in movies, I think the idea of a heightened reality and then the fantasy that we’re able to be swept up in, and then these larger than life heroes and the possibility of someone much more powerful than we are; and then - and greater, that can come and, you know, save the day, so to speak, is inspiring.  And it’s the people who put themselves on the line, you know, and sacrifice their own safety for the greater good and for others. I think anyone in any sort of profession who, their concern is the welfare of other people instead of individual, is inspiring and important.

INTERVIEWER:  Do you have any, like, favorite characters, like Thor?
CHRIS HEMSWORTH:  [LAUGHTER] Yeah.  I mean, growing up, I think Superman was probably the very first one I was aware of, you know, I would run around the house pretending to be him, at some stage when I was a kid. But I love Hans Solo, too.

INTERVIEWER:  Chris, could you talk about the most miserable things you did to actually get that kind of physique?
CHRIS HEMSWORTH: Yeah, the most uncomfortable thing was the eating.  I didn’t mind so much the working out; I’d never really lifted weights to that capacity beforehand, and - and it was certainly a whole new sort of education, for a good six months.  But then - I just don’t naturally sit at that weight, so I had to force feed myself with, 20 chicken breasts and rice and steak - and all very boring to the plain things.  And that was the most exhausting part, I think, out of the whole film, actually was the eating.  It wasn’t the fun stuff, either.  It wasn’t hamburgers and pizza and what have you.
INTERVIEWER:  For Sir Anthony Hopkins.  What drew you to be a part of this, essentially a comic book movie?  Was it working - given the chance to work with Kenneth Branagh, or was it the material itself?

ANTHONY HOPKINS:  Ken Branagh, basically. I live in a total state of non-expectation, and I don’t expect things; and I have - I keep my expectations very low about everything, as - especially the last few years.  And I came, had come back from a movie with Woody Allen, which was a big surprise - I enjoyed that.  And then I got a new agent and they - within two days they said, “Would you like to meet Ken Branagh?” and I said, “Yeah.  What about?”  He said, “Odin.”  I said, “Oh, that’s a god, isn’t it?”  He says, “Yeah.”
Funny thing was, I hadn’t seen Ken for some years, and I wasn’t sure how he would respond to me, because I was one of the bad boys who ran away from England many years ago, and I came out to Cuckoo Land, you know, out here, because I never fitted into British theater and all that.  So I wasn’t sure how he’d receive me.  But we met.  And he was very pleasant and friendly, and we had a chat about old times and all that.  And he said, “Would you like to play Odin?”  I said, “Yeah, okay.” 
It turned out that it was the most enjoyable film I’ve - I’ve been involved in for a long time, principally because of the cast here, and Chris and Tom and everyone.  And I thought this was a nice part.  Didn’t have to do too much. I let the armor do it for me, and the beard, and that was about it, you know.  And showed up and put on my voice and that was about it.  But I really enjoyed it.

INTERVIEWER:  For Chris - with the physical demands of the role aside, how did you as an actor approach the mighty role of Thor?  Did you look into the six hundred-plus issues of the comics, or did you pay more attention to the mythology, like the actual Norse mythology, or did you find a way to combine both?  What was important to you, when taking on this role?
CHRIS HEMSWORTH:  Yeah, I mean, I started with the comic books; and, you know, but I didn’t read all - however many of them - there are thousands of them, 40 or 50 years’ worth.  But I certainly read enough to get a sense of who he was and the world he was from.  And then I read some things on Norse mythology and this sort of fatalistic view they have that everything’s preordained and that leads the Vikings into this fearless sort of attitude in battle and with their lives.  And they certainly back their opinions, I think.  And they’re not swayed easy.  And - and Thor is - that spoke volumes to me about the character.  But then it was, you know, you sort of, you fill your head with whatever information and research you have.  But on set, it was just about making it truthful and finding a way, a simpler way that I could relate to it - instead of thinking, “How do I play a powerful god?” it became about, as Tom said, you know, scenes between fathers and sons and brothers.  And you personalize that, and that helps ground the story, I think, for an audience.  And then we can relate to it and hopefully an audience can, too.

INTERVIEWER:  For Kat. Your character held the largest comedic role throughout the film.  How was that, in such a serious - or how did you enjoy it in such a serious superhero film?
KAT DENNINGS:  Well, I didn’t really have - that’s the thing.  I saw the film like a week ago, and I hadn’t seen any of the Asgard stuff.  And I was - it’s - when - I know when you got to our parts in Santa Fe, it was just - you felt like you were on a different film. It’s a totally different thing.  So it didn’t feel like, “Oh, I feel like I don’t belong anywhere.”  It just, it kind of felt like he [Chirs Hemsworth] didn’t belong.

INTERVIEWER:  For the actors who played as Guardians - was it more challenging or more fun to wrap your mouth and your mind around the film’s mock heroic middle English?  And as a follow-up for Mr. Elba, how much of a pleasure was it to not have to do a fake American accent?
JAMIE ALEXANDER:  [LAUGHTER] Oh, my gosh.  I had a good time - it was fun learning the accent and training for the film and goofing off with these buttheads to my right.  Yeah, we all trained together, prior to shooting.  And you know, it made for a good time.
CHRIS HEMSWORTH:  Yeah, I think, you know, one of the challenges for the script and the story and now the audience is that, you know, you have these two huge worlds, but they’re equally as well thought out, well written.  And you know, we’re - Kenneth, he wanted us to all have a sort of uniform sound, if you like - you know what I mean?  And even though, you do say mock English, but it was - it was set in that world, but exactly not English, which is what I was told. 

INTERVIEWER:  Sir Anothony Hopkins had mentioned kind of facetiously that the costume really kind of, you know, does the work for you.  But I’m just wondering for the other actors that were in, you know, kind of elaborate costumes and the eye gear and things - and you’ve had - an incredible costume - what, how does that inform your character, in terms of creating and becoming that person?  Or is it just, you’re pretending?
TOM HIDDLESTON:  The costumes are - I mean, they are incredibly heavy, and I’ve got up in the morning and you wear a pair of shorts and a T-shirt and some flip-flops, it’s kind of a signal that you might be going to the beach.  And if you get up in the morning and you wear a breast plate and a back and a cape, and a pair of golden Satanic horns on your head, it’s - it’s quite clear that you’re doing something else.
TOM HIDDLESTON: The costumes make you stand straighter.  And when you’re in big - it’s like being in a neo-classical museum, and if you go up to the Getty, you have a sense of the size of the place, and that does - that just does stuff to the way you stand.
CHRIS HEMSWORTH:  Yeah.  I mean, with Kenneth, one of my biggest notes, was - just let the costume do it. I had this huge helmet on my head and I could hardly see. Kenneth would just say, “Don’t worry.  Just - just live in it, you know, and you know, just stay as still as you can and just, you know, let the costume and the opulence,” of where I was - my bridge, which is beautiful – “do the work”.  And the script of course.

INTERVIEWER:  Mr. Hopkins, in the back here, I so appreciate your candor.  When you were first asked about working with Mr. Branagh, you said, “I was lazy, and Ken pushed my buttons.”  What buttons did he push, and did he know you were lazy?
ANTHONY HOPKINS:  Well - maybe I’m overstating it.  But we’d come from the background.  I mean, I’m 20 years older than Ken, and I didn’t know him that well.  But we knew, we had all the same reference points of the theater.  We knew about the actors we’d been working with over the years.  And we were both pretty rebellious, and I know he was.  I was rebellious in the fact that I was a bad boy.  I escaped from England and the group theater, and came over to America to Disneyland, you know.  So I wasn’t sure how he’d respond to me.  But he - he’s just as bad as I am, you know.  He’s a rebel, and - but he - he’s challenged himself over the years.  And, you know, he did some extraordinary things 30 years ago when he was taking on people like Lawrence Olivier, you know, doing Hamlet and Henry the Fifth, Much Ado About Nothing - a colossal background.  And his education is pretty profound.  So I read a lot, but I hate taxing my mind with analysis.  I’m not a good analyst.  I cannot talk about acting.  I hate talking about it.  I hate talking about analyzing.  They always say, “Let’s talk about the…”  Why?  I mean, I’ve sat in conferences where you just fall asleep because it’s so boring.  I don’t know, you just get up and do it. 
Get up and do the damned thing, instead of talking about it.  And Ken is like that.  He just says, “Do it.”  And I like that. Just walk blindly on the set.  And I think what Ken does is just say, “Come on, you can do more than that,” because I’d like to just be a little restrained.  And he said, “No, let’s push it even more.”  And it was a welcome invitation.  So that’s - that’s basically my story.

INTERVIEWER:  Tom - Loki’s such a great villain because he is so relatable and dimensional, and you don’t really know if he’s right or if he’s wrong, or what he’s feeling or thinking.  So when you guys were crafting this, was it with a trajectory towards the Avengers, and are we gonna continue to see Loki as that kind of a character in the Avengers, or is it gonna be a little more diametrical?
TOM HIDDLESTON:  Well, really, I just  took the character for what I saw in the comics.  I mean, Loki is a master of magic.  And he is, in the Marvel universe, he is the agent of chaos.  And really, his superpower is his intelligence, if you like. So absolutely, Ken and Chris and Tony and I, all talked about having those layers in a way that he’s someone with a fierce intelligence, but also a very damaged heart.  And I would have to - I’m not sure - I think a red dot will form on my forehead if I give any more information about Loki and the Avengers.
[LAUGHTER]
All I can tell you is that Loki will be in the Avengers.  And it’ll take more than the man to my right to stop me this time. 

INTERVIEWER:  This is for Chris and for Tom, also, regarding the Avengers.  You guys play very larger than life roles in this film.  You’re going into a movie with four or five other larger than life characters.  So what’s the biggest challenge if you - that you guys see, in combining all these archetypal heroes and villains into this one film?
TOM HIDDLESTON:  I think the sort of the thing that looks like a challenge is actually the reason it’ll work, as in how, you know, how can one movie contain so many - so many different flavors and colors and characters.  And I think Joss Whedon has probably made that his strength.  And the conflict between each of them will be something that will be expanded on, I think.  Would you say?
CHRIS HEMSWORTH:  Yeah, sure.  Also, - we don’t balance all the other characters, I guess.  That’s Joss Whedon, - who’s the writer - director - his job is to sort of navigate that. But I definitely think it’ll be an interesting combination.  And as Tom said, why it will work is that conflict in those larger than life characters and egos clashing, I think it’ll - there’ll be some great tension there. 

INTERVIEWER:  For Chris and Tom, could you talk a little bit about the dynamic between yourselves as actors, vying for the attention of Sir Anthony Hopkins, as well as the brotherly dynamic that went from brotherhood to rivalry, and so much as to the bloody nose one of you received on set from said rivalry.
CHRIS HEMSWORTH:  I nearly caught Tom talking about having breakfast with Tony at one point.  And I said, “What?  He’s having breakfast and I’m not?” 
TOM HIDDLESTON:  It’s quite literally a bromance. Chris is absolutely right.  It’s much, I mean, I can’t imagine having to go to sort of the emotional extremity that we both have to go to if we actually didn’t like each other.  It’d be just horrendous to go to work.  And I think, you know, the fact that we get along makes it kind of like - we just egg each other on - between takes. We both spent two years of our lives working on this film, and it’s so nice that there’s somebody else who’s kind of alongside.  But in terms of vying for the attention of Tony, I - Tony was amazing.  And I haven’t actually said this on record, but when, whenever - our days working with Tony, he would just regale us with stories of when he was a young actor and starting out in “The Lion in Winter” with Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn.  I’ll never forget that story you told about Katherine Hepburn saying, “Stop acting, Tony.  You’ve got a good face; you’ve got a good voice.  You’ve got a good body.  Stop acting.”
ANTHONY HOPKINS:  Yeah. She said, “May I talk to your mama?”  And I said, “Yeah.”  She says, “Don’t act; you don’t need to act.  Watch Spencer Tracy.”  I said, “Oh, okay.”  It was good advice.  But she was a - she was good.

MODERATOR:  All right.  Thank you, everybody.




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