- Category: Interviews
- Created: Tuesday, 24 October 2017 22:00
- Published: Wednesday, 25 October 2017 00:44
- Written by Lupe Rodriguez Haas
THOR: RAGNAROK is a stark departure from the previous two films. The cast, director and Marvel honcho Kevin Feige reveal some fun facts on how the movie came together and who almost missed out on being part of the Marvel film.
At the THOR: RAGNAROK Los Angeles press conference, Chris Hemsworth, (Thor), Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), Jeff Goldblum (Grandmaster), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Cate Blanchett (Hela), Karl Urban (Skurge), Rachel House (Topaz), director Taika Waititi and Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige revealed what went on behind the scenes. See what they had to say.
1. Changing The Tone
While there are hints of comedy in the two previous THOR movies, RAGNAROK goes full blown comical and quirky. The idea to change the tone wasn’t completely the new director’s idea. Chris Hemsworth was looking to reboot Thor as was Marvel.
CHRIS: I think we all had a, a vision, and an idea, and a want to do something vastly different than what we’d done before, and take it to a different place. And that meant kind of doing away with what we knew, and just reinventing it, and it all came from his crazy, wonderful brain, and his inspiration, and him pushing us every day on set, and constantly encouraging us to improvise, and explore, and take risks. And it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had on a set, and a film that I feel the most proud of, just because of this - this whole team, and the collaboration, and fun we had.
KEVIN: Well, I mean, Chris sort of said it. We wanted a new sensibility. We wanted to take Thor - and if you look at everything Chris has done as this character, there have been moments of humor - moments of humor throughout. [Um-hmm.] And we wanted to build on that. And if you look at the movie, it’s got the epic action. It’s got Thor arguably more powerful than he’s ever been in any of the films, with his powers going up against the Hulk, but at the same time embracing what Mr. Hemsworth does better than anyone up until now has ever been able to see, which is his acting chops expands to comedy in an amazing, in an amazing way. And Taika giving them the confidence to explore that, and to try things. And most of that is in the movie, because it was on story, and yet at the same time expanded each of their characters.
2. Director’s First Big Budget Film
Taika Waititi is an independent filmmaker, actor and stand-up performer from New Zealand. Marvel took a big gamble hiring a director with no experience on huge productions, but it paid off with the third film scoring a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics.
He didn’t let the scope of the big budget film distract him.
TAIKA: I knew my strengths were just like tone, character, and you know, relationships, and things, and I had to ignore the scale of this monster, this beast, you know it’s a - [Yeah.] It’s a huge, huge film. And what can be distracting on set is if you look over your shoulder, and you see 300 people standing there. [Yeah.] And you know, so you - I have to - I just had to keep reminding myself what’s more important is what’s inside the rectangle, and usually, it’s two or three people trying to remember their lines. [LAUGHTER] And so it doesn’t matter the scale of the film - that’s always the same, you know. So - so, I just focused down on what I was used to, which was what’s in front of the camera.
3. It Almost Didn’t Happen For Taika Waititi
THOR: RAGNAROK might not be so rockin’ if the director had missed the meeting with Kevin Feige. Feige reveals the pitch meeting almost didn’t happen because Taika lost his passport.
4. How Led Zeppelin Got The Director The Job
Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” is a big part in THOR: RAGNAROK and the trailers. The classic song from one of the greatest rock bands ever was how Waititi scored the job in his first pitch meeting.
KEVIN: Filmmakers sometimes will say, using clips of other movies, ‘Here’s what I have in mind.’ And sometimes they’re not good. Most of the times, they’re okay. His was amazing, and was scored to that Led Zeppelin song.
KEVIN FEIGE: So from the beginning, that song kind of defined what Taika was going to do with this. That it’s in the trailer, that it’s in the film - all from that first meeting, and from one of his first instincts of this movie, is very impressive.
5. Valkyrie Spin-off - Femengers?
Tessa Thompson steals the show as Valkyrie in RAGNAROK so of course we want to see more of her. Thompson also wants to expand her character in a spin-off that would include all the women of the MCU.
TESSA: Yeah - you heard, you heard that first. Recently, I marched up with a couple other women that work in Marvel, and we were like, to Kevin, ‘What about a movie with some female superheroes - just like, all of them.’
KEVIN: It was a pretty amazing moment to be somewhere and have your shoulder get tapped, and turn around, and every female hero we have was standing there going, ‘How about it?’
TESSA THOMPSON: Yeah.
KEVIN FEIGE: And I said, ‘Yes.’
MALE SPEAKER: The Femengers.
TESSA THOMPSON: The Femengers?
Thompson wasn’t a fan of that title.
6. Lady Sif (Spoiler Alert)
Thor’s Asgard team is minus one superhero with Lady Sif missing from the third movie in the THOR franchise. Feige sort of explains her absence.
KEVIN: If she had been on Asgard, she might not be alive, so that’s one of the advantages.
TAIKA: Lady Sif is an actor in New York, on a TV show at the moment.
KEVIN: Oh, that’s true.
TAIKA: She was busy.
CHRIS: That’s right.
KEVIN: I’ve been using ‘A Force Awakens’ quote today when people ask me that, and to say, ‘That’s a good question for another time.’
7. The Future of the Hulk
Marvel is unable to make a Hulk stand-alone movie because Universal Pictures still owns the rights to the property. However, at the press conference, Mark Ruffalo revealed he will have an arch that starts with RAGNAROK and will expand into the third and fourth Avengers movie.
MARK: I would love to do a Hulk movie, and I think we all would love to do one. But about a year ago, before I even had this part, or were talking about doing this - it was well over a year ago, Kevin had asked me to come over and have a script meeting. And basically he sat me down and he said, ‘What would you like to do if you had a stand-alone Hulk movie?’ And I said, ‘I’d like to do this, this, and this; and this and this - and then this. And then this, and this, and this, and then it would end like this.’ And he’s like, ‘I love that. Let’s do that over the next three movies, starting with THOR 3 and carry it on through AVENGERS 3 and AVENGERS 4.’ And so that’s my stand-alone Hulk movie. [LAUGHTER] And Taika is gonna take all three of those movies and cut it into one movie.
MARK: And that’ll be on the DVD. And me and Taika can own that, right? No.
KEVIN: No, that’s exactly what happened. And it’s - someday, a stand-alone I think would be great, but for the time being, Hulk’s presence in these movies, and certainly now, as Mark has talked about, what we’re going to be able to do with his character arc over these three movies is super exciting.
8. Cate Blanchett Wanted More Action
Cate Blanchett's Hela doesn't need to get her hands dirty as the villain. She fights using hand gestures so she doesn't have to pull any punches, but she wishes she had.
CATE: I didn’t do enough of it. I, I kept wanting to do more.
CHRIS: You wanted to hit me.
CATE: But no, I - look, it was, it was hugely enjoyable for me. And apart from working with these guys, obviously, the chance to finally, in my deep middle age, to get fit, and to wear that much lycra was really exciting for me. [LAUGHTER] But I worked with Chris’ trainer, Zahki for 20 minutes a day, which doesn’t sound like much, but my god, it was intense. And Zoey Bell who is, I mean, an extraordinary actress in her own right, and director in her own right, but she was my - blessed every day with the fact that she was my stunt double, because when I started, I had to manifest these weapons out of my - I’m not spoiling anything by saying that -
KEVIN FEIGE: Uh-uh.
CATE BLANCHETT: Have I just lost my chance to be in the sequel? [LAUGHTER] I had to - well, I manifest weapons, and I had to throw them, and I could see Taika’s disappointment as I threw it, I said, ‘Ha.’ And I had to stop making the noises, because I’d go, ‘Ha.’ And so I had to close my mouth. And so eventually Zoey suggested that I put some sugar, which was deeply humiliating - sugar packets in my hand so at least I could throw something and be real. And then - yeah, so Zoey helped me with little things like that. She was a great action director. So I moved from the humiliating to the exhilarating in a matter of five days.
MARK: I’m so glad you’re not the only person he looked at like that.
CATE: I know. It was the suit that you were wearing. It was really bad.
MARK: He looked disappointed in me a lot.
9. No Hammer Time
Chris Hemsworth shed his golden locks and hammer in RAGNAROK. The god of thunder doesn’t need his hammer as Thor comes into new powers in THOR: RAGNAROK. The Australian actor didn’t miss his prop, but Cate did want to know one thing.
CATE: Yeah, what do you do with your hands?
CHRIS HEMSWORTH: That’s right. Where to put them. No, I mean, it was sort of good. It just helped kind of shed anything too familiar. You know, I feel like, well, holding the hammer, or even the wig in the previous costume, certainly just put me in a place, and set me on a path of what I already knew. And I wanted it to be unfamiliar, and so everything from the hammer, to the costume, the hair - made me, and allowed me to move differently, and forced me to move differently, and so that was a great thing. And - I don’t really miss it, no. I’ve got one at home.
The audience won’t miss the hammer either when they’re treated to an extravaganza that is THOR: RAGNAROK. The Marvel film opens November 3.