Press Conference: The Cast & Crew Of ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ Discuss The MCU’s Latest Cinematic Entry
Thor: Love and Thunder is the latest action-packed installment within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Bringing back the titular character post-Avengers: Endgame, we see Thor embark on a self-discovery journey leading him back to New Asgard. When a new threat appears, Thor returns to the battlefield with King Valkyrie, Korg, and the Mighty Thor herself, Dr. Jane Foster.
Geeks of Color attended a virtual press conference featuring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi, Christian Bale, and Kevin Feige. The cast and crew dished on the newest MCU film.
Chris Hemsworth discussed growing with the character Thor and what it has brought out of him.
Hemsworth: Yeah, no, definitely, especially since Taika got involved. He brought out the immature, young, adolescent quality that I embody. And so does Thor now, which he didn’t in the original films, which was exciting and new and fresh.
And that’s, you know, always the sort of North Star is about having fun, you know. Embodying this space as a child would and enjoying all of it and being caught up in the wonder and the fascination of all of it. And not getting bogged down in the serious sort of nature that we can when making films, you know. Personally, with these kinds of films, it’s got to be fun, and that’s what we’ve done. That’s what I’ve related to. That’s what Taika kind of insisted upon, and it’s been fun.
Now, as the Mighty Thor, Natalie Portman explored what it was like to become the iconic character.
Portman: Yeah, it was pretty wild, of course. After seeing Chris wear the costume for so many years, and then to try the version on myself and getting fitted for all the arm cuffs and the boots and everything was pretty surreal for the first time.
I was especially grateful to everyone’s imagination to cast a five-three actress in a six-foot role. I think that takes a real leap of possibility in your mind and probably not something I will, you know, get the opportunity to do, to be imagined as, by any other group.
So, it was a great challenge. Tessa and Chris obviously had a lot of experience in that world, so I got to learn a lot from them.
Known for his extensive transformation, Christian Bale discussed portraying Gorr the God Butcher.
Bale: I think in Gorr, they look for an actor polar opposite [of Thor]. Someone not relatable, a bit of a loner, creepy, someone no one wants to be around, and nobody wants to see his ass. And so, I think they went, “Yeah, we found it in Bale.”
Of course, there’s a great pleasure in playing a villain. It’s a lot easier to play a villain than it is to play a hero. Chris had a much tougher job, you know. Everyone is fascinated with bad guys immediately. And then, the beauty of it is that Taika can make it bloody hilarious and then really moving in this story.
And then, you know, I don’t know if it’s pushing it too much to say sympathy, but certainly, you sort of understand maybe why this guy is making awful decisions, you know. And he is a monster, and he is a butcher, but yeah.
As newly minted King Valkyrie, Tessa Thompson elaborated her journey with the character.
Thompson: It’s been really fun. I mean, the thing that I’ve really enjoyed about these films, and certainly I think something that Stan Lee talked a lot about, whether it’s a villain or a hero, the thing sometimes that connects them to their power, whether it’s used for good or bad, is actually their trauma. And so, when we first met Valkyrie, she had a tremendous amount of it, and she was dealing with that by drinking a lot.
And for Taika and I, we talked a lot about, like, upending what a female superhero looks like. That you sort of have this moment where she comes out, and you think it’s going to be sort of that badass thing. And then, she immediately falls over [in Thor: Ragnarok].
And that was really fun to both try to inhabit the spirit and the kind of physicality that it takes to be a hero, which is its own skill. Chris is so tremendous at it. It’s not an easy thing to do. And that also, to allow her to be fun and sort of goofy.
With this one, we also talked about the idea of someone that has a job that they really love, but they’re also kind of disgruntled. She, you know, was a professional soldier for thousands of years and now finds herself kind of stuck in bureaucracy. So, she’s really missing being on the battlefield and missing her sisters. And so, it’s been great fun to get to have that again, with Natalie in particular as Mighty Thor.
Taika Waititi reflected on how the music choices for the film were a dream come true to select.
Waititi: We just wanted to spend as much money as we possibly could on some songs. It’s always been a dream of mine. The whole aesthetic around the film, we wanted it to be this bombastic, loud, colorful palette, which kind of reflected, like, spray-painted panel vans in the eighties and rock album covers. And, even the title treatment, you know, for the film, it’s the kind of thing I would’ve drawn on my school book in class when I wasn’t listening.
Guns N’ Roses was one of my all-time favorite bands. And to be able to use that stuff to reflect the sort of crazy adventure that we’re presenting visually was another one of my dreams that came true.
With four solo films, Kevin Feige discussed what drew audiences to Thor in the first place.
Feige: I think they respond to Chris Hemsworth, and I think they respond to everything that he can do. And Taika certainly brought another dimension that was always there within Chris. There were moments, even going back to interviews between the two of them on our New Mexico set, I was like, “Is he trying to be funny? Or is it? No, he is being funny.” He’s, like, hilarious.
And Taika was like, “What are you guys doing with him just, you know, holding a hammer up with lightning? Let’s do that and tap into everything Chris can do.” So, I think the audience responds to that.
And for so long, we said, “Well, he’s a Norse god. How do we make him relatable?” and spent so much time, I think, making sure that the audience connected with him, that they are so with him now that yes, we could go to a part four.
Hemsworth discussed what it was like working with Waititi.
Hemsworth: It’s a journey of self-discovery and exploration and fun and wackiness. There’s music playing, and he’s standing behind the camera kinda giggling and ruining most of the takes.
Waititi: That sounds horrible.
Hemsworth: No, it’s the best. It’s a freeform, a lot of improvisation, but just a passion that’s unrivalled. There was an enthusiasm that is infectious among everybody, and he loves it. He loves these stories. He loves these characters. He’s sitting there as a fan telling you what he’d want to see, what a family would want to see. “Try this or try this,” no matter how ridiculous it is. And everyone’s on board for it. And this is why you get this spontaneity and unpredictable nature in any of Taika’s films.
Waititi: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Thompson and Waititi chatted about how Thor: Love and Thunder strikes a balance between drama and comedy.
Thompson: Oh, I think that’s what’s so fun about these movies, and this one, in particular, is kind of holding that space between sort of the ridiculousness and the fun and the pathos. And I think that’s something that Taika has always done really, really well in his films. And in this one especially, I feel like he really was excited to lean into the emotion in a way that felt really, I don’t know, rich for us.
Waititi: It’s just harvesting moments and then taking it back to the kitchen and trying to figure out what the actual dish is. You know, we’ve got a plan of making a certain, you know, a certain dish, and it could be very different by the time we’ve finished cooking it. And a lot of times testing the film and seeing what audiences respond to, and sometimes you gotta get rid of jokes or get rid of moments, and you know, other moments, it’s just a balancing act. That’s why it takes a year to finish these films.
Feige rounded out the conversation with some good news on what to expect from Marvel.
Feige: Yeah, we’ll be at Comic-Con next month, which we’re excited about. First time since we were on stage there three years ago talking about this movie and many others. And now I think almost… not everything, but almost everything we discussed three years ago has now been released. So yes, we’re excited to go and talk about the future. We always look five, 10 years ahead, and the changes and twists and turns, but that’s usually, you know, as far out as we go and then start to build it.