In Part II of our exclusive secrets with a Marvel Insider, we find out other things like what really went down with Stuart Townsend, some other cool S.H.I.E.LD and Stark Industries tidbits.
Was Samuel L. Jackson telling the truth when he said that he doesn't appear in Thor?
Yes. In the official script version, he is not. That could change in time though. He wasn't in the original script of Iron Man either but they changed it late in the game. The same can be said for Robert Downey Jr. In fact the only cameo of great significance is from Stan Lee.
Besides Thor what other Asgardians from the comics are a part of the story.
Idris Elba, who did some great work on HBO's The Wire plays Heimdall the keeper of the Rainbow Bridge that connects Asagard to Earth. He basically controls who crosses that bridge and comes in and out of Asgard. Basically, there are nine realms. Earth is one of the realms and Asgard is another. Heimdall watches over the nine realms from his observatory. What’s great is, the Asgardians are supposed to be Norse gods, but a black actor was chosen to be one of them. Someone like Idris Elba is a leading man type of guy and is nice to have. Some people may think “Oh, he shouldn’t be black,” but Elba has a strong presence and it’s really good casting.
The same could be said for Hogun, who’s also a Norse god, but in the comics actually looks Mongolian. In the film he's played by a Japanese actor. That's what's so great about Branagh, this is a multi-cultural cast and he doesn't care because wants the best people. There's even a Hispanic actor playing a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Branagh doesn't care what an actor's nationality he, he just wants the best performers and treats everyone, big and small like they're important. The film has a pretty relaxed set too, because everyone here are professionals and know what jobs they have to do. And then there's Stuart Townsend.
What's the real story about Townsend's abrupt exit from the production?
It appears he wasn't happy with the limited screen-time of his character Fandral. There was friction with him from the very beginning as far back as his screen test which he basically blew off. He wasn't the first choice of either Marvel or the film's producers to begin with, but when they brought him in they liked him. They thought he did a good job. It looks like the fact that his character doesn't have a pivotal role in the movie made him sort of slack off and say, “Well, f**k this movie. I’m not the lead, so who f*cking cares?” They say he had a similar attitude when he made The Lord of the Rings ten years ago and look how that turned out. They replaced him with Viggo Mortensen and the rest is history. He failed to realize the movie is not called Fandral, it's called Thor. The movie’s not about him. Its surprising, because he was one of the longest working actors on the project yet he still acts like a diva. There was an incident where he had a costume test and blew that off. The studio had people working under deadlines fly in to meet him and he showed up six hours late. When they complained, his response was something like “Oh, well could we just do it now?” Talk about arrogance. Townsend's been replaced by another actor named Joshua Dallas and he's just come from doing Red Tails near San Francisco where the rumors of George Lucas directing re-shoots on the film are not rumors, they're true.
George Lucas is actually directing Red Tails?
Lucas is directing the re-shoots for the film's director Anthony Hemingway. This is his first feature since has only really directed TV including episodes of The Wire. They've already completed a great deal of shooting in Prague. Most of the CGI work was all done at Industrial Light and Magic, but Lucas doesn't appear too happy with some of the footage. He’s directing the re-shoots so I don’t think that bodes well for the director of the movie. But it’s George Lucas, he's not really that happy unless he’s doing it himself. He’s just that guy who feels, “You know what? I could do better”, and always likes to jump in. Not always to great results, but he likes to have the weight on his shoulders and be like, “All right. I’m gonna show you guys how to do it.”
Have they completed any visual f/x work on Thor like Red Tails?
Some. All the work they are doing now is the difficult stuff like the Asgard sequences. The sound stages for that have already been completed and they are beautiful. They’re shooting it out at Raleigh Studios in Manhattan Beach and the sets they've built are six stories high. You’re inside a gigantic building and you’re like, “This is unbelievable. I can’t believe that people physically built this.” It looks like something that’s ancient and from another world. They really did a great job. Natalie Portman should be heading there soon, she just finished Black Swan and has just started shooting her scenes in New Mexico.
What about Tom Hiddleston as Loki the film's main villain?
He's great and what's funny is that Tom had actually come in to audition for Thor but he’s very tall and very thin. Kind of lanky. Marvel said, “No”, but then it came up that maybe he should audition for Loki and he apparently put himself on tape and was amazing. He had also worked with Kenneth Branagh already in London. This movie is as much an origin story for Loki as it is for Thor and he's not only the hero's nemesis but his brother. How do you deal with a situation like that where the very person who is trying to destroy you is your adopted brother? In the script, Thor is basically banished to Earth because he’s arrogant and proud and must learn what it is to live among mortals. And while the cat’s away, the mouse will play. While he's gone, Loki starts discovering things about himself, including his desire to be all powerful. He wants to be as well loved as Thor and that jealousy starts creating these complications. “Why can’t I be the ruler? Why am I always in his shadow?” So he starts developing those feelings while Thor's gone. It’s a very good script with pretty much half of the movie in Asgard and the other half on Earth. I think people will be pleased with the way it unfolds.
When might we finally see a teaser trailer?
Probably at Comic Con. The scheduled release is date is May 6, 2011. I think that’s the actual release date, handed down from Marvel. They could put it in front of the new Iron Man 2 movie, but that's this May and a little too soon. Marvel wants to release the film exactly a year after Iron Man 2. The release is almost 365 days later. And then Captain America in July 2011 and The Avengers will be the following year, 2012. That’s what they’re trying to do, line them up like that. May of every year, there will be a new Marvel movie out.
Are there any Easter eggs or hidden clues in Thor?
No, in terms of the script, it’s pretty straight forward. It’s more through the dialogue, here and there that they’ll say something. Everything’s obviously connected, like every piece of S.H.I.E.L.D. tech has the Stark Industries logo on it. Even on a pen or computer screens in the movie. You’ll notice it on the computer screen’s upper left-hand corner, everything says Stark Industries. You already know that we have a deal with Tony Stark, which you kind of got from the first Iron Man's conclusion. Now you know S.H.I.E.L.D. is officially in league with him. And you’ll probably see stuff like that in Captain America or The Avengers on a S.H.I.E.L.D. heli-carrier.