Thor: Love and Thunder, a film directed by Marvel Studios and filmmaker Taika Waititi, is set on a personal journey of self-discovery. The film focuses on life, love, and family, wrapped in a rock and roll mayhem and with a couple of screaming goats accompanying the ride, and explores the paths that go to before proceeding to protect what we have and seek revenge for what we have lost.
The star of Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, and Christian Bale, along with President Feige of Marvel Studios, discussed why Thor has been able to have four solo films now, how they relate to their characters, how music choices, improvising on set, how Waititi stacks up against other villains in the MCU, how Gorr the God Butcher stacks up against other villains in the MCU, how the drama and comedy differ, and how far ahead Marvel is
Kevin, what are you considering that Thor is the only character to have four solo films on his journey? What do you believe is that audiences will actually respond to, with that character?
KEVIN FEIGE: I think they respond to Chris Hemsworth and everything he can do. And Taika certainly brought another dimension that was always there within Chris. On our New Mexico set, I saw a clip of Ultron, where he was attempting to get [Mark] Ruffalo feeling better about smashing a bunch of people, and it was so funny. Its expert timing. Taika was like, "We make him relatable," and that he is now capable of going to
Chris, what are the qualities in Thor you relate to most and that have guided you, over the years?
CHRIS HEMSWORTH: Especially since Taika [Waititi] was involved, he brought out the immature, young, adolescent qualities that I embody, so now Thor does. That wasnt in the original films, and it was exciting and fresh. Thats always the North Star. Its about having fun in ecting this space as a child would, being caught up in the wonder and fascination of all of it, and not getting caught down in the seriousness that
Taika, what made you realize what this character could be?
TAIKA WAITITI: When you meet Chris, it''s very difficult to figure out how to make him relatable. That was the big challenge. I''ve become friends with Chris, and his personality, his energy, and who he is, and he is the kind of person that I would want to be on an adventure with. He''s someone who you can trust to care for you, like a real-life hero. I just wanted to tap into those abilities and make Thor more Chris. He''s
HEMSWORTH: This is actually a documentary.
Natalie and Doctor Jane Foster are returning for this installment of Mighty Thor. Do you remember the moment when you put on the suit and felt like Thor?
NATALIE PORTMAN: Yeah, it was quite wild, of course. For the first time, Chris was able to wear the costume for so many years and then to try the version on myself, and getting fitted for all his arm cuffs and boots and everything.
Do you have a few weightlifting to increase muscle in the film?
HEMSWORTH: Is there any weightlifting? Natalie is the coach of the gym. We all went to the gym every morning, but she was there first. We just wanted to keep up with her.
PORTMAN: It''s quite sweet, but I was particularly grateful to everybody''s imagination to portray a five-foot-three actress in a six-foot role. I think it takes a real leap of possibility in your mind, and it is probably not something I will ever do or be imagined as, by any other group. It was a huge challenge. Tessa [Thompson] and Chris certainly had a lot of experience in the world, so I got to learn a lot from them.
Christian, what was your point of view when you saw the art and what Gorr wanted to look like, and then to do your part of it, physically and emotionally?
BALE: After hearing you describe what people were looking for in Chris, I believe Gorr was like, "he''s someone who is a bit of a loner, creepy, and nobody wants to be around." I think they went, and then Taika made it very funny and really moving. I think he was able to see his ass and see him again. But I think it is worth it to say that Taika is adept at portraying a villain. He''s a monster and a but
Tessa, what''s the joy of going on this wild journey with Valkyrie?
TESSA THOMPSON: It''s been really fun to see these films again, because I think that if she''s a villain or a hero, it''s possible to identify someone who has a different ability to do it, too. When we first met Valkyrie, we thought she was going to be that badass thing, and then she immediately falls over. It was really fun to see that she was not only ashamed, but also to be fun and gentle. It''s been really fun
Taika, what did you make some of the most inspired music choices?
WAITITI: We just wanted to spend as much as we could on some songs. That''s always a dream of mine. The whole concept of the film, though, was always designed to be a bombastic, loud, colorful palette, which reflected spray-painted panel vans in the eighties and rock album covers. Even the title design for the film is the kind of thing I would have drawn in class when I wasn''t listening. I remember spending months and months perfecting the Metallica logo. This was another one
Chris, what is the practice of having Taika Waititi as your director? Whats the joy of having him on the go?
HEMSWORTH: It''s different. It''s chaotic. It''s beautiful. It''s swatheful chaos.
WAITITI: I''m in a state of sex.
HEMSWORTH: It''s a journey of self-discovery, exploration, and pleasure and wackiness. There''s music playing, and he''s behind the camera giggling and ruining most of the scenes.
WAITITI: That''s what''s really sad.
HEMSWORTH: No, it''s a freeform, with a lot of improvisation, and a desire that''s unrivaled. Everyone was amazed by this enthusiasm. He is always interested in telling you what hed wants to see. He is well-known for these characters. He is very helpful in telling you what hed wants to see. Everyone is on board for this spontaneity and unpredictable nature in any of Taikas films.
Christian, did you get a chance to improvise?
BALE: I''ve worked with a slew of talented directors who appreciate improvisation. First, you do the script, and then you see what else you can do beyond that. However, he does play music on the set, and that was fantastic.
Natalie, how has your vision of what a superhero changed over the years?
PORTMAN: It just gave me renewed respect for what Chris has been doing for over a decade, and for what Tessas was doing. I see how much work goes into it, and how much I didn''t realize when I was just the chick in the first one. I now get choreography and training, and everything. Wow, this is triple the job of what I was doing back then.
Chris, what is your opinion that Gorr is more likely to be a villain to Thor?
HEMSWORTH: He''s been my favorite villain in the Marvels Cinematic Universe. I enjoy everyone Ive worked with, but this was a special thing, and there''s a lot to do with that empathic charm and vulnerability. Every time you work with someone other, different characters bring different things out of you, and that''s the case here. He did an incredible job.
Taika, how was production in the volume studio, and what was it like to adapt to that?
WAITITI: The volume is a large circular wall of LED screens. Imagine a large, long TV that is circular, and you basically place the environments on the screen. Instead of a green screen, it is like the previous filmmaking of the 20s and 30s with rear projection. Most of it is in camera, and the actors can see the environment. Also, it is just a different technique of working.
Chris, what are you looking for doing as well?
HEMSWORTH: Its like youre intercedes with the environment. So much of what we''ve done in these films has been a green screen and blue screen. It''s not easy to know what the monster is, or whatever it is youre looking at until you see the film. What I also thought was the skin coloring and skin tones changed due to the sunset youre looking at. It''s a lot more immersive.
Thor is keen to keep the Mjolnir. What did you like most about exploring the God of Thunders complicated relationship with his two hammers?
HEMSWORTH: It was one of the most fun things we got to do in the film. I cant talk about it too much. It''s difficult to see the ex-girlfriend turn up dressed as him. It''s a shock. And then, he has Stormbreaker, who starts to sense jealously there. It changed through the film. I don''t believe it was in the original script, but it was a joy.
WAITITI: Sure, anyone else thought about it, but youve have to remember that Stormbreaker is made out of Groot''s arm, or the handle is. So, we felt like Stormbreaker was just fifteen years old when he was born, five or six years ago. It needed to feel a little bit like an adolescent who was experiencing changes and mood swings.
Natalie, how would you describe the difference between your Thor and Chris Thor?
PORTMAN: There''s always a possibility that her last moment might be to experience that. He''s certainly powerful and humble in her ability to figure out how things work out. She is constantly learning about it and keeping returning to human form.
Along with being a fun, cosmic, Viking thrill ride, these characters are dealing with a lot of loss and tragedy. What was it like to find a balance between comedy and tragedy?
THOMPSON: These films are so fun, because this one, in particular, is holding the space between the ridiculousness and the adventures and pathos. Thats something Taika has always done really, really well in his films, and in this one, I feel like he really was extremely eager to manifest the emotion in a way that was really enriching for us and really different than in this one. It just felt really exciting.
How did Gorr the God Butcher''s prosthetics and appearance work?
BALE: Every morning, we made it for four hours and then reduced it down to three and a half hours. They are absolutely as responsible for Sir Gorr''s actions.
Chris, do you remember a lot of the same feeling as yourself when you first encountered Thor?
HEMSWORTH: Yes, there is a sense of humor with the obvious points, but he has so much changed in the past. As the character evolves, weve reacted, crossed paths. The origin story is not the easiest, but it is the most obvious one. It is, however, how do you recreate the character? It''s possible to make sure that everyone is familiar and relatable. After that, you have to stick to it.
Christian, after your career, you have given your body a roller coaster ride in terms of look and shape. How does Gorr fit into that spectrum? What was your first impression of the appearance?
BALE: I loved it. Because you don''t know exactly what youre doing with a character like that until you see it completely, then you put it on in your imagination, and it worked out all right. We talked about it during quarantine, in an abstract way. But then, you put it on, and it worked out all right. Thats when you really get to start playing with it and experimenting, as you go.
Taika, how long did it take to get the sound of the goats?
WAITITITI: The goats were born from a song. These screams are in a dance song, and an EDM song. We were listening to it and thought, Oh, let''s just put them in.
HEMSWORTH: I''ve been telling people it was you. I''ve heard that scream.
WAITITI: That scream? Youve heard me scream like that.
Love and Thunder establishes a connection between drama and comedy. How do you identify this balance?
WAITITI: A lot of it is found in the post. We try to do as much as possible, but it''s only harvesting moments, then returning it to the kitchen, and looking for what the actual dish is. A lot of times, testing the film, and seeing what audiences respond, you realize that you have to eliminate jokes or moments. This is why these films take a year to finish.
Taika, what do you hope you see from the audience?
WAITITI: This film has taken a long journey, and we want to be creative and compassionate in order to make something that audiences will love. After a couple of years of being stuck at home and having to face a lot of difficulties, it''s really nice to be able to remember things like love and thunder, and so forth. Moreover, it''s also possible to return to the movies and laugh and feel like a kid again.
Kevin, where will Thor go in the future? What can we imagine about Thor doing, past Love and Thunder?
FEIGE: There are several things called comic books, and they have a lot of stories in them. The answer in no. Ive always said that our intention to develop additional stories is mostly about continuing the actor''s journey, not as their individual characters, but as the Marvel players who can grow and evolve. There are also a number of other incarnations of Thor that we have yet to see.
Is there any possibility of more big news this time around, following Marvel''s big announcement about Natalie at the San Diego Comic-Con?
Yes, you may attend Comic-Con [in July], which we were extremely excited about. It will be the first time since we were on stage at this site three years ago, talking about this film and many more. Not everything, but almost everything we discussed then has now been released. So, we were excited to go and talk about the future.
How far are you planning to go right now?
FEIGE: We always look 5 to10 years ahead, with the changes and twists and turns, but thats usually as far out as we go. And then, we start to build it.
Thor: Love and Thunder is set to release in theaters on July 8th.