Thanks to Marvel Studios, one of the highlights of my recent trip to LA was the press conference to interview the cast of Thor: Ragnarok. So much was discussed but below you can read my favorite parts!
First, words cannot explain the chemistry that radiated from this cast when they were together on stage. I wish each of you could have witnessed this press conference with me. Going back over my notes and the transcript from the event, makes me laugh remembering it. With each question asked of one actor, the others would chime in by teasing one another and making jokes. It felt as if they all had been best friends their entire lives.
Although Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, and Mark Ruffalo have worked together on previous Avenger films, the majority of the cast are new additions to the Marvel Cineverse. With Cate Blanchett coming in as Hela and Tessa Thompson joining as Valkyrie, then you have Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster and Rachel House and Karl Urban. Plus, an all-new director to Marvel – Taika Waititi – to say I was impressed with their mannerisms towards one another is an understatement. The energy was beaming off of them and it made everyone in the room ask ‘how do I get their job?’.
Chris, what makes this Thor different from the others?
Taika Waititi, basically. I think we all had a vision, and an idea, and a want to do something vastly different than what we’d done before, and take it to a different place. And that meant kind of doing away with what we knew, and just reinventing it, and it all came from his crazy, wonderful brain, and his inspiration, and him pushing us every day on set, and constantly encouraging us to improvise, and explore, and take risks. And it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had on a set, and a film that I feel the most proud of, just because of this – this whole team, and the collaboration, and fun we had.
~ Chris Hemsworth
Taika, you brought an independent sensibility to this monstrous film and gave it fun, and a little heart, too. What was the process like for you?
Well, when they first asked me to come to them about making this film, obviously I thought that Marvel had lost their minds, so they’re just hiring anyone now.
But I came in, and I guess I thought that – I knew my strengths were just like tone, character, and you know, relationships, and things, and I had to ignore the scale of this monster, this beast, you know it’s a huge, huge film. And what can be distracting on set is if you look over your shoulder, and you see 300 people standing there. I just had to keep reminding myself what’s more important is what’s inside the rectangle, and usually, it’s two or three people trying to remember their lines.
And so it doesn’t matter the scale of the film – that’s always the same, you know. So, I just focused down on what I was used to, which was what’s in front of the camera.
~ Taika Waititi
Rachel, what’s the difference between ‘big movie’ and ‘little movie’ Taika?
Well, he’s a lot better dressed – because usually we’re running around in the mud, and the snow, and the rain. So it was wonderful to come in each day and see Taika in a suit, and Italian leather shoes.
No, it’s been wonderful to see Taika so calmly and easily step into the helm of such a big, awesome film.
~ Rachel House
Mark, are you interested in doing a full Hulk movie? This is the first time we’ve seen the Hulk this much.
I would love to do a Hulk movie, and I think we all would love to do one. But over a year ago, before I even had this part or were talking about doing this, Kevin had asked me to come over and have a script meeting. And basically he sat me down and he said, ‘What would you like to do if you had a stand-alone Hulk movie?’ And I said, ‘I’d like to do this, this, and this; and this and this – and then this. And then this, and this, and this, and then it would end like this.’ And he’s like, ‘I love that. Let’s do that over the next three movies, starting with Thor 3 and carry it on through Avengers 3 and Avengers 4.’ And so that’s my stand-alone Hulk movie.
~ Mark Ruffalo
Chris, regarding the Hulk and his dialogue. We hear a lot more dialogue now than we ever have before. What was that like for you?
I loved it. This is my favorite version of the Hulk – ‘cause we actually got to act together. We’d only really fought together on screen in the previous films. And this time around, we got to just sort of improvise our way through it, and invent this chemistry that we hadn’t explored before, and build this new version of the Hulk, which was a little bit more articulate and vocal than he had been prior. And there’s just so much more room for the humor, and fun that the character then embodies, that – I think it’s fantastic. I loved it.
~ Chris Hemsworth
Chris, did you miss having your hammer as a prop – because I know actors love props.
No, I mean, it was sort of good. It helped kind of shed anything too familiar. You know, I feel like, holding the hammer, or even the wig in the previous costume, certainly just put me in a place, and set me on a path of what I already knew. And I wanted it to be unfamiliar, and so everything from the hammer, to the costume, the hair – made me, and allowed me to move differently, and forced me to move differently, and so that was a great thing. And – I don’t really miss it, no. I’ve got one at home.
~ Chris Hemsworth
Cate, your character is bad ass, how was it fighting with Chris?
I didn’t do enough of it. I kept wanting to do more.
It was hugely enjoyable for me. And apart from working with these guys, obviously, the chance to finally, in my deep middle age, to get fit, and to wear that much lycra was really exciting for me.
But I worked with Chris’ trainer, for 20 minutes a day, which doesn’t sound like much, but my god, it was intense. And Zoey Bell who is, I mean, an extraordinary actress in her own right, and director in her own right, but she was my – blessed every day with the fact that she was my stunt double, because when I started, I had to manifest weapons, and I had to throw them, and I could see Taika’s disappointment as I threw it, I said, ‘Ah!’
And I had to stop making the noises, because I’d go, ‘Ah.’ And so I had to close my mouth. And so eventually Zoey suggested that I put some sugar, which was deeply humiliating – sugar packets in my hand so at least I could throw something and be real. And then – yeah, so Zoey helped me with little things like that. She was a great action director. So I moved from the humiliating to the exhilarating in a matter of five days.
~ Cate Blanchett
Tom, there is a change in Thor, could there be a change in Loki, also?
I did ask Taika if I could get a haircut, as well. But his answer was a quick, ‘No.’ It’s interesting. I mean, in a way, in this film, it is about, I think – I’m not spoiling anything, but the development of the relationship between Thor and Loki, as brothers, is – Thor has evolved, and grown, and matured; and Loki in a way is stuck in his struggles of the past. In a way, that’s the challenge for Loki in this, is that he’s got to confront the fact that time is moving on, and people change, and – so I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see. We’ll see. There’s room to grow, and I’m still here. And we’ll see where he goes next. I’m not going to spoil anything.
~ Tom Hiddleston
Jeff, you’ve been in so many iconic films – what was it like to come into the Marvel universe?
Fantastic. I like the character, of course, and the opportunities in the character. Joining a group like this, a cast like this is a dream come true. Taika – working with Taika, that was my first, connection point to the movie. We had a meeting, and hit it off, and he said what we were gonna do, and improvise, and have fun. But then, you know, Kevin Feige and Louis D’Espesito, and Victoria Alonso, and Brad Winderbaum – the whole upper tier of creative leaders, do something unique. They know how to make these epic productions, and popular movies, but they want to make good movies. And they somehow uniquely know how to do them, that feels to me like an actorly, workshop-y, character-y, improvisatory, delightful experience – and make a movie that I think skins the cat like this is just – I’m grateful, overwhelmingly grateful.
~ Jeff Goldblum
To be honest, being in the same room as them, hearing their enthusiasm over the new Thor: Ragnarok film and working together, made me excited for the movie to release on November 3rd and I’ve already seen it! The excitement was contagious and I’m counting down the days until this weekend when I take my kids to see the movie.
Which character are you most looking forward to seeing on the big screen?
Not sure if you should see Thor: Ragnarok in the theaters or wait for it to release on DVD? Check out my spoiler-free movie review.