Film Title: THOR
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Natalie Portman as Jane Foster
Anthony Hopkins as Odin
Jaimie Alexander as Sif
Colm Feore as King of the Frost Giants
Stellan Skarsgard as Erik Selvig
Tadanobu Asano as Hogun
Ray Stevenson as Volstagg
Idris Elba as Heimdall
Rene Russo as Frigga
Kat Dennings as Darcy
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
DIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh (also directed "Sleuth" and "Hamlet")
WRITERS: J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Protosevich
The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.
Thor is a forthcoming 2011 American superhero film based on the comic book character of the same name published by Marvel Comics. It is the fourth film to be released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is scheduled to be released on April 27, 2011 in Belgium, Egypt, France, and Switzerland and on May 6, 2011 in the United States. The film will star Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Jaimie Alexander, and Anthony Hopkins with Kenneth Branagh directing a script by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, and Don Payne. The project of a film adaptation of Thor was in development hell for several years before Marvel Studios signed Protosevich to write its script in 2006. Matthew Vaughn was to direct the film in late 2008 for a release in 2010. Branagh replaced Vaughn in late 2008, and the film's release was rescheduled into 2011. The main characters were cast in 2009, and principal photography took place from January to May 2010. Thor is also scheduled to be released in 3-D.
(click the character poster to view details...)
- Sam Raimi originally envisioned the idea for Thor after Darkman (1990), meeting Stan Lee and pitching the concept to 20th Century Fox, but they did not understand it. Thor was abandoned until April 1997, when Marvel Studios was beginning to rapidly expand. The film first gained momentum after the successful release of the film X-Men. The plan was for the film to be made for TV. UPN was in talks for airing it; excited by the prospect, they pushed for a script and approached Tyler Mane to lead as Thor. In May 2000, Marvel Studios brought Artisan Entertainment to help finance it as a film, but Thor was still laboring in development hell by April 2002, and in June 2004 the project still had yet to be optioned by a studio. However, Sony Pictures Entertainment purchased the film rights, and in December 2004 David S. Goyer was in negotiations to write and direct. In 2005, though there were talks between Goyer and Marvel, it was revealed that Goyer was no longer attached, though at this point the film was still set to be distributed through Sony Pictures.
- Mark Protosevich, a fan of the Thor comic book, signed to write the script in April 2006, during which time Paramount Pictures acquired the rights from Sony. That year the film was also announced to be a Marvel Studios production. In December 2007, Protosevich described his plans for it "to be like a superhero origin story, but not one about a human gaining super powers, but of a god realizing his true potential. It's the story of an Old Testament god who becomes a New Testament god". In August 2007 Marvel Studios signed Matthew Vaughn to direct the film. Vaughn then rewrote Protosevich's script in order to bring down the budget to $150 million, as Protosevich's first draft would have cost $300 million to produce. He intended to start filming in late 2008 and after the success of Iron Man, Marvel Studios announced that they intended to release Thor on June 4, 2010, with Iron Man 2 being used to introduce the character of Thor.
Vaughn was released when his holding deal expired in May 2008, at which point Marvel set Protosevich to work on a new draft and began searching for a new director. By September 2008 D. J. Caruso had been discussing taking on the project, though he did not read the script. Later that month, it was revealed that Kenneth Branagh had entered into negotiations to direct, and in December 2008, Branagh confirmed that he has been hired. He described it as "a human story right in the center of a big epic scenario.” Branagh stated that he hoped to begin filming in January 2010 and Marvel Studios set back the release date of the film from its scheduled July 16, 2010 date to June 17, 2011, almost a full year later. They later moved the release date to May 20, 2011, to distance the film's release from that of Captain America: The First Avenger, another Marvel Studios film which was scheduled to be released on July 22, 2011. In February 2009, Samuel L. Jackson, who had briefly portrayed Nick Fury at the end of the film Iron Man, signed on to reprise the role in the film as part of an unprecedented nine-picture deal with Marvel Studios. However, in an April 2010 interview, Jackson stated that he will not be appearing in Thor. When asked why not Jackson explained, "I have no idea. I'm not in charge of making those kinds of decisions. I thought I was; they said I was in the trades, and I was like, 'Ooh! I got a job!' I called my agent he said, 'Naw, you're not in it.' I was like, 'Well shit, they need to pay me if they're gonna put my name in it.'" Later in a February 2011 appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Jackson revealed that he would be filming a scene for Thor to serve as "connective tissue" for The Avengers.
In February 2009, a casting call went out looking for actors with certain physical attributes to audition for the role of Thor. In May 2009 it was reported that Chris Hemsworth was in negotiations to portray the title role after something of a back-and-forth process in which the 25-year-old actor was nixed early on, then given a second chance to read for the part. The next day Marvel announced that Tom Hiddleston, who had worked with Branagh before and had initially been considered to portray the lead role, had been cast as Loki. Kevin Feige of Marvel Studios confirmed in June of that year that both Hemsworth and Hiddleston had signed on. Feige also mentioned that the film would take place on both modern day Earth and Asgard but Thor's human host, Dr. Donald Blake will not be included.
With Hemsworth and Hiddleston in place, the rest of the cast began to fill out. In July, Marvel announced that Natalie Portman would portray Jane Foster. Jaimie Alexander and Colm Feore were reported to have joined the cast in September, with Alexander portraying Sif and Feore's role unrevealed, though it is thought to be a villain. In an interview with Swedish news site Ystads Allehanda, Stellan Skarsgård stated that he had joined the cast, though he did not specify his role. In late October it was reported that Anthony Hopkins had been cast as Odin in the film. Several weeks later Marvel announced that they had cast the Warriors Three; Fandral was to be played by Stuart Townsend, Hogun was to be played by Tadanobu Asano and Volstagg was to be played by Ray Stevenson. A few days later it was announced that Idris Elba had also joined the cast, portraying Heimdall.
In an interview, Natalie Portman revealed that actress Kat Dennings would be involved in the project. According to Variety, Dennings will play Darcy, a coworker of Portman’s Jane Foster. In December Rene Russo was cast as Frigga, Thor's adoptive mother and Odin's wife. Later that month it was reported that actors Joseph Gatt, Troy Brenna, and Joshua Cox had been cast in the film, though none of their roles were revealed. In January 2010 it was reported that Adriana Barraza had also joined the film's cast, in a supporting capacity. Her role was not revealed, but it was said to be a human. Only days before filming began, Stuart Townsend was replaced by Joshua Dallas as Fandral, citing "creative differences". When Spider-Man 4's production stalled, Paramount and Marvel Entertainment decided to push up the release of Thor by two weeks to the then vacated date of May 6, 2011
CASTS AND CHARACTERS:
Chris Hemsworth as Thor:
The god of thunder based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name. Director Kenneth Branagh and Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige chose Hemsworth after a back-and-forth process in which the 27-year-old actor was initially dropped from consideration and then given a second chance to read for the part. Hemsworth said the film stays true to the comics, stating, there are "so many different versions of the comic books, they've sort of bonded quite a few of them to form this particular story, but it's all very true to the original stuff". On his take of the character, Hemsworth said, "We just kept trying to humanize it all, and keep it very real. Look into all the research about the comic books that we could, but also bring it back to 'Who is this guy as a person, and what's his relationship with people in the individual scenes?'" About approaching Thor's fighting style, he remarked, "First, we looked at the comic books and the posturing, the way [Thor] moves and fights, and a lot of his power seems to be drawn up through the ground. We talked about boxers, you know, Mike Tyson, very low to the ground and big open chest and big shoulder swings and very sort of brutal but graceful at the same time, and then as we shot stuff things became easier".
Tom Hiddleston as Loki:
Thor's adoptive brother and nemesis based on the deity of the same name. Hiddleston was chosen after previously working with Branagh on Ivanov and Wallander. Initially Hiddleston auditioned to play Thor but Branagh decided his talent would be better harnessed playing Loki. About the character Hiddleston stated that "Loki's like a comic book version of Edmund in King Lear, but nastier". Hiddleston also stated that he had to keep a strict diet before the start of filming because "Ken [Branagh] wants Loki to have a lean and hungry look, like Cassius in Julius Caesar. Physically, he can't be posing as Thor". Hiddleston looked at Peter O'Toole as inspiration for Loki as well explaining, "Interestingly enough, he [Kenneth Branagh] said to look at Peter O'Toole in two specific films, The Lion in Winter and Lawrence of Arabia. What’s interesting about The Lion in Winter is, [O'Toole] plays Prince Henry, and what’s beautiful about his performance is you see how damaged he is. There's a rawness [to his performance], it's almost as if he's living with a layer of skin peeled away. He's grandiose and teary and, in a moment, by turns hilarious and then terrifying. What we wanted was that emotional volatility. It’s a different acting style, it's not quite the same thing, but it’s fascinating to go back and watch an actor as great as O'Toole head for those great high hills".
Natalie Portman as Jane Foster:
A scientist and Thor's love interest. Marvel Studios stated in an announcement that the character will be updated from the comics' initial portrayal for the feature adaptation. When asked why she took the role, Portman replied, "I just thought it sounded like a weird idea because Kenneth Branagh's directing it, so I was just like, 'Kenneth Branagh doing Thor is super-weird, I've gotta do it.'" Portman also stated that she really wanted to do a big effects movie that emphasized character, and getting to do it with Branagh was a new way of approaching it, relative to Star Wars. Regarding her preparation for the role Portman remarked, "I signed on to do it before there was a script. And Ken, who's amazing, who is so incredible, was like, 'You can really help create this character'. I got to read all of these biographies of female scientists like Rosalind Franklin who actually discovered the DNA double helix but didn't get the credit for it. The struggles they had and the way that they thought – I was like, ‘What a great opportunity, in a very big movie that is going to be seen by a lot of people, to have a woman as a scientist'". About the character Portman stated, "She’s a very serious scientist. Because in the comic she’s a nurse and now they made her an astrophysicist. Really, I know it sounds silly, but it is those little things that makes girls think it’s possible. It doesn’t give them a [role] model of 'Oh, I just have to dress cute in movies'".
Anthony Hopkins as Odin:
The ruler of Asgard, father of Thor, and adoptive father of Loki, based on the mythological deity of the same name. In an interview Hopkins stated he knew nothing of the comic. About the film he said, "It's a superhero movie, but with a bit of Shakespeare thrown in". He also revealed that the film uses all modern language. Hopkins stated, "I'm very interested in that relationship between fathers and sons", and that, "My father's relationship with me was cold. He was a hot-blood character but to me, cold. When I was young, he expressed his disappointment because I was bad in school and all of that. He didn't mean any harm, but I felt I could never meet up to his expectations." Hopkins also expressed that he finds a personal resonance in the Odin role, saying, "He's a stern man. He's a man with purpose. I play the god who banishes his son from the kingdom of Asgard because he screwed up. He's a hot-headed, temperamental young man... probably a chip off of the old block but I decide he's not really ready to rule the future kingdom, so I banish him. I'm harsh and my wife complains and I say, 'That is why I'm king.' He's ruthless, take-it-or-leave-it. Women are much more forgiving; men are not so forgiving. I know in my life, my karma is, 'If you don't like it, tough, move on.' And I move on. I'm a little like Odin myself".
Jaimie Alexander as Sif:
A warrior and Thor's childhood friend based on the mythological deity of the same name. Alexander is best known for her portrayal of Jessi XX on the ABC Family series Kyle XY. Alexander admitted that shes was already very familiar with Marvel Comics before taking the part having grown up with four brothers. Alexander said the part required hours a day in the gym, though training is not unfamiliar to her, explaining she was one of few girls on her Colleyville, Texas, high-school wrestling team. Alexander described her character as "one of the guys" and that, "She's a very talented, skilled warrior and can stand on her own against any villain in the film". About her relationship with Thor she stated, "She is very loyal to Thor and cares a lot about protecting him and protecting Asgard.".
Colm Feore as king of the Frost Giants:
Feore stated it took five hours for his makeup to be applied. About his character Feore remarked, "I am the King of Frost Giants. And if you’ve seen any of the Frost Giants, you know that I am, of course, the Napoleon of Frost Giants. We’ve got some massive, fabulous guys who dwarf me and come in at around eight-and-a-half feet, nine feet. But, no. Can’t you tell by the commanding presence? I am the boss".
Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig:
A scientist doing research in New Mexico who encounters Thor. Skarsgård stated that he was not initially familiar with Thor. As to why he took the part, Skarsgård remarked, I "chose Thor because of [director] Kenneth Branagh. The script was nice and we got to rehearse and talk to the writers and do some collaborating in the process to make it fit us. So I had a very happy time on it. What I always try to do is immediately do something I just haven’t done so I get variation in my life. I’ve made about 90 films and if I did the same thing over and over again I would be bored by now. I try to pick different films, I go and do those big ones and having done that I can usually afford to go and do some really small obscure films and experiment a little".
Joshua Dallas as Fandral:
The leader of the Warriors Three, a group of three Asgardian adventurers who are among Thor's closest comrades. Stuart Townsend was initially cast after Zachary Levi was forced to vacate the role due to a scheduling conflict. However, days before filming began, Townsend was replaced by Dallas citing "creative differences". About the character Dallas stated, "Fandral. Fandral the Dashing, I think he would like to think of himself a philanderer. He would like to think of himself, I was saying, as the R. Kelly of Asgard. He’s a lover, not a fighter". Dallas also mentioned that Errol Flynn was an inspiration for the character stating, "He was a big inspiration for the character and for me. I watched a lot of his movies and kind of got that into my bones. I tried to bring out that little bit of Flynn-ness in it. Flynn had a lot of that boyish charm that Fandril’s got all that in him".
Tadanobu Asano as Hogun:
One of the Warriors Three, primarily characterized by his grim demeanor and the only member who is not an Æsir. Ray Stevenson said of Asano's character, "He doesn’t speak much but when he does, everybody shuts up. But also in the healing room where everyone licks their wounds, he’s the guy who just goes about his business".
Ray Stevenson as Volstagg:
The comic relief of the Warriors Three known for both his hearty appetite and wide girth. Stevenson previously worked with Kenneth Branagh in the 1998 film The Theory of Flight, and with Marvel Studios as the titular character in Punisher: War Zone. Stevenson will wear a fat suit for the role, stating, "I've tried the suit on, and what they've done is kind of sex him up: he's sort of slimmer but rounder.". About the character, Stevenson said, "He's got every bit of that Falstaffian verve and vigor, and a bit of a beer gut to suggest that enormous appetite, but he's not the sort of Weeble-shaped figure he is in the comics. He's Falstaff with muscles. I've got this amazing foam-injected undersuit that flexes with me.".
Idris Elba as Heimdall:
The all-seeing, all-hearing Asgardian sentry of the bifröst bridge, based on the mythological deity of the same name. News of Elba's casting was met by online complaints from some comic book fans who saw it as inappropriate for a Norse deity to be played by a black actor. The casting also prompted a boycott of the film by white supremacists. In response to the boycott Elba said, “Thor’s mythical, right? Thor has a hammer that flies to him when he clicks his fingers. That’s OK, but the color of my skin is wrong?” About his casting, Elba remarked, "Casting now is taking definitely a more open-eyed approach to it. I was cast in Thor and I'm cast as a Nordic god. If you know anything about the Nords, they don’t look like me but there you go. I think that's a sign of the times for the future. I think we will see multi-level casting ... and I think that's good". Elba also stated that he was inspired by the source material: "I looked at the comic books actually because Heimdall, he’s a very central character and I wanted to reflect him as he is in the comic books".
Rene Russo as Frigga:
The wife of Odin, queen of Asgard, stepmother of Thor and adoptive mother of Loki, based on the mythological deity of the same name.
Kat Dennings as Darcy:
A co-worker of Jane Foster. Dennings described her character as Foster's "little helper gnome".
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury:
A super-spy and director of S.H.I.E.L.D. who as revealed in Iron Man is coordinating the "Avenger Initiative". Jackson was cast after signing an unprecedented nine picture deal with Marvel Studios.
Adriana Barraza has been cast in an unknown role though is said to be a human. Clark Gregg will reprise his role as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson from Iron Man and Iron Man 2. Actors Joseph Gatt, Joshua Cox, and Troy Brenna have also been cast in unspecified roles. Gatt said he will be playing a villain "with a lot of action". Stan Lee and J. Michael Straczynski will have cameo appearances.