Kenneth Branagh Speaks Eloquently on His Approach to Thor
by Ethan Anderton
April 1, 2010
About a year and a half ago, I didn't have much interest in Marvel's Thor aside from my hope that his inclusion into Marvel's line-up of adaptations might eventually lead to The Avengers. But when Kenneth Branagh was brought on board to direct in September of 2008, my interest went from almost zero to full tilt, and when you combine his involvement with a promising cast, it's one of my most highly anticipated films in the near future. If it's even possible, my excitement has built even more as Hero Complex caught up with Branagh and spoke very articulately and eloquently on his adaptation of the thundering hero Thor.
Of course Branagh is very well known for his brilliant adaptations of Shakespeare's plays like Hamlet and Henry V, so why the hell is this guy the right one to bring Thor to the big screen? We'll let Branagh explain: "Growing up, my single comic book passion was Thor. From my time in Belfast as a kid, that's the first time I came across that comic, really, exclusively, I don't know why, but it struck a chord. I was drawn to it. I liked all the dynastic drama." I'll bet that's the first time anyone has referred to a comic book as containing "dynastic drama," but Branagh has even more intellectual praise and revelations to share about his approach to Thor. You've never heard someone break down the big screen adaptation of a comic book like Branagh:
"Inspired by the comic book world both pictorially and compositionally at once, we've tried to find a way to make a virtue and a celebration of the distinction between the worlds that exist in the film but absolutely make them live in the same world. It's about finding the framing style, the color palette, finding the texture and the amount of camera movement that helps celebrate and express the differences and the distinctions in those worlds. If it succeeds, it will mark this film as different… The combination of the primitive and the sophisticated, the ancient and the modern, I think that potentially is the exciting fusion, the exciting tension in the film. It doesn't take itself too seriously, it doesn't try to be too solemn."
It's like if Shakespeare wrote his own comic book and he's talking about his own adaptation - it's beautiful. But what about the rumors regarding Branagh's clash with Anthony Hopkins and others on set over his vision? Straight from the horse's mouth it appears to be bantha fodder. Hopkins says, "I am having the time of my life making Thor with Ken and Chris. They have made every day immensely fun and collaborative, and we're all puzzled that someone would fabricate a story suggesting otherwise. I'm proud to say that Thor has been one of the great experiences of my career." Damn, even Hopkins is having a fantastic time on set!
Even Branagh sings praises for Hopkins as, "an extraordinary actor with his Celtic passion and incredible technique," and goes on to credit the rest of the various Asgardian royals as "people who can embody larger-than-life characters but retain at the center a natural, recognizable, human dynamic… and these people run the universe." Well I can't wait to see how this cast comes together with a director who not only has passion for the character, but an invaluable set of different film experiences and projects that will allow for a unique vision in Marvel's universe. This is definitely going to be a highlight of 2011, that is for sure! Thoughts?