Kenneth Branagh Finally Talks About Directing Marvel's Thor

December 13, 2008
Source: MTV

Kenneth Branagh

I'm going to make a confession. Back when the news first hit that Kenneth Branagh was going to direct Marvel's Thor, I pessimistically wrote that "Branagh seems like the worst choice to direct a comic book movie since Joel Schumacher." Now that I've seen Valkyrie, however, my opinion has changed. Watching Branagh act in that film has made me change my opinion about him. Maybe it was just the lingering sour taste of Sleuth that made me so opposed to Branagh, but for whatever reason, watching him in Valkyrie made me slightly more confident. Since the news first broke in September, Branagh has been keeping quiet about the project, but MTV finally got him to break down and talk about directing "The Mighty Thor."

No, the title hasn't changed, as Branagh clarifies, "I think it will be Thor." So why did he want to direct a high profile comic book movie? "To work on a story about one of the immortals, Gods, extraordinary beings, inter-dimensional creatures," he told MTV. "There's science fiction and science fact and fantasy all woven into one. It's based on Norse legends which Marvel sort of raided in a brilliant way." And for those, like me, who are skeptical about the scale of the project and Branagh being able to handle it, he emphasizes that, "it's a chance to tell a big story on a big scale. It's a human story right in the center of a big epic scenario." Sounds like he at least understands the monumental task that he is taking on.

As for who will play Norse God of Thunder, aka Thor, Branagh wouldn't even hint as to who it might be, but he did give us this tease: "There's been lots of talk [about casting]… but we are too early at this stage. We're getting the story and the visual effects together and all of that is very exciting. Someone sensational is going to play the part but it is early days." Either he's really good at keeping things under wraps or they really haven't chosen anyone yet. Considering Marvel has Thor set to hit theaters on July 16th, 2010, Branagh better get to work quickly on finalizing these sort of details, as they're probably planning to shoot early next year. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to see another great Marvel movie!

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  • -Peter-
    They better choose someone good for the lead. Not just some big name douche.
  • Ben
    How did his acting performance give you more hope for him as a director?
  • Good question... Put it this way. I thought I hated Branagh cause he did so bad on Sleuth. But then I saw Valkyrie and it reminded me that he's actually a good guy that understands quality filmmaking, whether it be acting or directing. And of course, directing is a lot of telling the actors what to do... I just felt like maybe he could pull of Thor after seeing that he's more than just the guy who ruined Sleuth... :)
  • DinoChow
    Have you ever seen his version of Hamlet? It's a huge, sweeping epic with visuals that surpass most films I've ever seen. Branagh gives one of the best performences in screen history in that movie, and as far as I'm concerned, if you can do an epic Shakespeare film, then you can do an epic comic book film. I mean, did Chrsitopher Nolan ever do anything that big before taking on Batman? No, but we all know that Nolan turned out to be the right man for the job---and I'd argue that Branagh's Hamlet is bigger than anything Nolan did before Batman. Obviously, we'll have to wait and see whether Branagh was the right choice, but he is a brilliant actor and director. However, I would not base my opinions on him as a director based on him as an actor--it just turns out that he has directed some great films, like Hamlet (and Henry V).
  • ralph
    he little do you know he has casted himself as thor, he's bulking up for the movie hahaha
  • Spider
    I have the utmost faith in Branagh--he sure does understand the huge task he signed on for. "Sleuth" was what it was, namely a flick based on a two character play---or something to that effect. I think that "Thor" will be just as great as "Iron Man". This reminds me of the shaky confidence that Jon Favreau provoked in us when he was first announced as IM's director. I'm sure Branagh, Raimi, as well as Favreau will bring their a game directorial chops to their respective projects after "The Dark Knight" raised the bar! It will be alright. "Thor" is in good hands.
  • darrin
    it doesn't matter, we all know the avenger film will hit big but the movie will suck, so as iron man 2, and the incredible hulk 2. And don't forget thor as well as captain america.
  • Vinnie
    I love how you Judge Branaghs directing abilities off one movie he acted in. Then You saw Valkyrie which sucked and you change you mind. Have you even seen any of the the other movies that he has starred in or directed? Can you name 5 without looking his name up on IMDB? I would put money on that you couldn't. "And I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to see another great Marvel movie!" From what I have seen on your site and the types of movies you like, I don't think you know what a great movie is.
  • BahHumbug
    I have a question for you Alex, why are you basing Branagh's directing capabilities on Sleuth and not his other works (which I for one think are brilliant)? That's like saying that Spielberg can't make Indiana Jones because he made the Terminal.
  • I'm sorry Vinnie, but I didn't think Valkyrie sucked, and I'm sad that you did. I do know what I think is a great movie and that counts more than anything - especially when you're reading this site for my opinion. No need to be so antsy about me and my writing when you can't even appreciate a damn good movie on your own.
  • finch
    i think alex just pwned vinnie. =)
  • Shige
    #10 you managed to make it down to the opinion difference. That is not what #8 was really saying. You judged Branagh entirely after your viewing of Valkyrie. Branagh has made so much more and better movies in the past that you judging him solely because of his latest work is completely ridiculous. Besides #8 makes a good point. This site is too obsessive with comic book flicks. Nothing can even touch your Iron Man or Batman worship.
  • Smiffy1
    One nil to Alex. A commanding and strong response.
  • moldybread
    I still dont see this working...Thor is just tooooo damned corny.... Ironman has the world of high tech...stuff that, if not here now is just around the corner...immortals, gods?? how absurd...sounds like straight-to-dvd....
  • Jaf
    I think he'll give it a poetic take The guy's a Shakespearean buff, from Hamlet to King Lear & Othello Question is, can Thor be seen as a tragedy?
  • George
    Well he's probably going to take it down the Greek tragedy route more so than apply his love for Shakespeare in terms of his knowledge in the theatrical arts. I have a feeling this is ONE comic to film adaptation that the Marvel guys will be VERY open to allowing a reinterpretation of his origin along with any major changes necessary--in order to excise all the corniness.
  • As someone who LOVES Branagh's Shakespeare movies, and who shares a birthday with him, I'm rooting for him and think he will do a wonderful job. I think that he will bring the reverence to the Norse legends and root of the heroic journey of Thor that he brought to the Bard's work. It seems that his focus is on accuracy, emotion, and juxtaposition of great characters. Which I really think Thor will need to make it into the mainstream like Batman, Iron Man, Superman, etc. I've always viewed Thor and his visibility in mainstream US on a level with Daredevil. aka: not much :) I also think it's a bit off to judge his *directing* ability based on his *acting* work.
  • If one more person tries to convince me that Branagh will do a good job on Thor because of what he did on Henry V or Hamlet, I will most likely vomit. I loved Henry V, I loved Hamlet, I loved Much Ado About Nothing. He does Shakespeare very very well. Just because he can do those well doesn't convince me that he is going to make Thor, a badass Norse god with an indestructible hammer and his Warrior Rage (I think thats what it is called in the comics). This isn't Shakespeare, this is Marvel. This isn't Hamlet, its fucking Thor. I am not saying he is destined to do bad, but I won't jump out there and say he is a great fit either. I am reserving my judgment for when I actually see something from this film, which is quite a ways out. Until then, I remain a skeptic.
  • dan
    sorry alex. i understand what you are saying but, don't get why KB bugs you so much as to single him out like that. you need to give the guy a chance first. by the way, while were on the topic, KB was brilliant in "shackleton", "peters friends", "hamlet" and "conspiracy". 4 very different roles but outstanding in both. i don't see why he can't do the same with different styles of movies in the directorial chair.
  • Fuelbot
    #18 - Those Shakesperian films ARE why Thor will make a great film, because those films are epic. Because of the care taken to the seriousness of the story and the dedication to getting everything just right. It's because he's a director of immutable force. No matter how hokey or pretentious those films seem, they are guided by the hand of a director who knows exactly what he wants. Seriously. You don't want some action director for this; you want someone who's gonna make Thor REAL.
  • Rabican
    In Branagh's defense, Sleuth wasn't so much a directorial catastrophe as it was a script blunder. All the elements of the movie were well-crafted except the most important part: the writing. That said, why Branagh would have thought Pinter's abysmal script 'good' is unclear.
  • Jimd
    Im more concerned that this is backed by MTV. Bleh.
  • adrian
    How on Earth is a great performance any indication of a directors talent? Quentin Tarantino is far from a talented actor but he's one of the greatest directors of our time. Being on either ends of the camera is vastly different. It takes a lot to do either profession well, and it takes very different skill sets. Branagh's a fine actor, no doubt... but that doesn't mean a whole lot. I think anyway you slice it Thor directed by anyone is going to be a bad movie and a box office flop. He's not relevant enough. Ironman was a hit because of it's ties to the modern world and it's funny, suave lead... Thor is about centuries too irrelevant to make a smash.
  • fanboy d
    i said that would happen when you broke the news alex!!!
  • #20 - Again, i have to disagree. Because the things that will need to be done in Thor (CGI and hi-tech graphics) are not Branagh's cup of tea. I agree that those films are good and the dialogue in Thor will be better because of Branagh, but we also need someone who is going to make Thor badass, because he has to be relevant when they make the Avengers movie. If Thor doesn't do well, its going to hurt the momentum for the Avengers movie.
  • sng. Sheep
    I think that Branagh is such a weird choice for a director it can either b glorious or mediocre! No deeper analisis needed, we'll just wait and see. Me personaly, well i think it's gonna rock!!! F*CK YEAH!! :))
  • BahHumbug
    Andy, who says anything about Shakespeare? I'm talking about his skills as a director which are evident from his previous films. Alex is basing his opinion off of Sleuth.
  • Fritz Blaze
    First, you guys have gotta see Dead Again, a Branagh film from long ago. It's not Shakespeare, but a damn fine drama which takes place in two separate eras. Second, even if a director doesn't use a lot of CGI they can certainly tap into the knowledge of others around them and get what they need. Remember, it is the tale, not he whom tells it. Finally, I gotta hand it to some of you: when is someone ever judged by only one film when they have a slew of credits to their name, both as an actor and director?
  • ballyhoo
    If the Avengers movie is about Loki using the Hulk I think it could all be very cool. It'd be fun to see the uber-realistic Iron Man and Cap juxtaposed against the more fantastical elements like Thor. Kinda like Reign if Fire in that regard. It'll be cool.
  • ballyhoo
    Reign OF Fire. sorry
  • D-9
    Kenny is the perfect choice.




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