‘I’ll never forget moment we cast Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston’: Thor director recalls Marvel’s most important decision
Filmmaker Kenneth Branagh, who directed the Marvel movie Thor, has highlighted the importance that the film has played in the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. In an interview to Collider, Branagh recalled the significance of casting Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, who were then relative unknowns, as Thor and Loki.
“I’ll never forget the moment that we cast those two boys,” he said. “It was like a sort of meditation or a sort of incantation… Kevin Feige must’ve walked around this long oval table a hundred times on that Saturday morning as I kept sort of saying, ‘I think we should call them.’ ‘Are you sure?’ ‘Yeah, I think we should call them.’… and I knew how profoundly serious that decision was. Kevin said, ‘We’ll never make a more important decision in this company than what’s happening in this room, Saturday morning at 10:30, when you pick up the phone to Chris Hemsworth and then Tom Hiddleston. It’s either going to work or it’s not. Good luck.’”
He said that as the third film in the series, there was immense pressure on Thor to bridge the gap between what fans saw in Iron Man, and what they would see in the more fantastical MCU films of the future. “There was no question that tonally Thor was critical after the massive success of the brilliant Iron Man from Mr Favreau and Robert, and then slightly less successful, in their terms, The Incredible Hulk,” Branagh said. “Thor became critical to being the sort of tonal bridge—featuring literally a rainbow bridge as well—between, as it were, the Earthbound and space-bound and fantasy-bound parts of the Marvel universe.”
The filmmaker, who recently saw the release of his new movie Artemis Fowl, continued, “So there was a kind of connective matrix that Thor, Asgard, the Nine Realms and everything that it involved could provide inside that large Marvel Cinematic Universe that was enormously important that couldn’t be done by the brilliant Captain America, because it wasn’t the same material. This was the one that said, ‘Is there a fantastical future?’”
Asked about why he didn’t return to direct Thor 2, Branagh said, “The way things work, there was a version of events where… sometimes with these stories I like to plan them as trilogies, but it’s much harder in this world for that to work out because the stakes are so high you’ve gotta really see how the first one does. When the first one was finished, essentially it had been three fantastic years of my life, but I needed to recharge on something else. I was too close to the glass on that one, so I would definitely never say never again because it changed my life and changed my career and I’m profoundly grateful for it. I wasn’t ready to go straight into another one, but I like the idea of… I’d love to be planning something that was a three-parter in movie terms. That hasn’t come along yet but maybe it will.”
Thor 2 was directed by Alan Taylor, and is generally considered to be one of the weakest entires in the series. Thor 3 proved to be a turning point for the character, under the direction of Taika Waititi, who will return to direct Thor 4.
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