SAN DIEGO, CA - Saturday night was a big evening at Comic-Con for superheroes, superfans, and supergeeks alike. But few had it better than a certain Norse god who has graced the pages of Marvel Comics for nearly fifty years, and finally got to debut the trailer for his first feature film.
Due in theaters next May, Thor stars relative unknown Chris Hemsworth as the muscle-bound warrior cast out of Asgard and into a new gig as one of Earth’s most powerful defenders. Complicating matters is his mischievous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), his Earthbound love interest Jane (Natalie Portman), and a seriously-ticked-off father in Odin (Anthony Hopkins), all in the service of a big-budget directorial effort by Kenneth Branagh.
Still soaring from the rapturous applause of Hall H, the cast of Thor sat down with us to hammer out some revealing details about the flick. Read on for their thoughts on battling brothers, learning humility, and helping those beloved Avengers to assemble.
Q:This is the biggest movie you've ever made. What have you been able to do on this superhero epic that you couldn't do before?
Kenneth Branagh: Spend some money (laughs). Not carte blanche, but what's exciting is that when everyone is determined that we have to deliver - and increasingly deliver - spectacle with visual effects, then when you have inspiration it's possible for it to be expressed and encouraged.
Q: By now, everyone knows that these Marvel films are building up to The Avengers assembling. How does your film fit into the master plan, while retaining its own identity?
Branagh: Well, there is the integration of story elements. So, in the footage shown here tonight you saw some of how Thor interacts with S.H.I.E.L.D., parts of the Iron Man thing. I think you'll see in different parts that we have the chance to expand, and because of the nature of the places we go you'll see it add up to something that belongs but also has a very distinct flavor. People have asked me since way back: “How the hell does Thor fit into the Avengers thing?” Well, I think it can fit there, but there's also a very exotic thing that will be going on in our film.
Q: Chris, this is your first starring performance. Give us your breakdown of the Thor character.
Chris Hemsworth: At the beginning of this film he's a brash, cocky warrior who is about to inherit the keys to the kingdom. But his father realizes he's not ready, and it becomes the journey of him learning some humility throughout the film. His heart's in the right place - he does things for his family and to protect the kingdom - but he has a very aggressive way of doing it, which probably isn't the right way.
Q: Natalie, tell us about your character.
Natalie Portman: My character is working on this theory of connecting dimensions through these Einstein theories about uniting time and space. Thor comes from another dimension, so he is this missing piece to her scientific inquiry. Everyone thinks she's a kook, but here's her opportunity to prove herself.
Q: Chris, your younger brother Liam also auditioned for the role of Thor. Was that weird, competing against him?
Hemsworth: I’d auditioned, and it didn’t go any further. Then, next I heard, he was being flown over from Australia to test with Ken! I was as excited as I was secretly angry (laughs) - nah, we’re very close. When he was auditioning I supported him, and with me the same thing. We gave each other feedback, and helped wherever we could.
Q: And Clark, you return as fan favorite Agent Coulson, working with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury to bring The Avengers together. Has the plan for your character always been so ambitious?
Clark Gregg: No, it started out as nothing, just a couple scenes in Iron Man. Then it just became a better role - every time Marvel calls I'm like "Really? I get to do this guy again?” and every time I do, they pull back more layers and he's got more interesting stuff to do...Now I'm the Super-Glue of the series. Thor is an origin story - a hammer is found in New Mexico, surrounded by a giant crater - it's Agent Coulson's job to show up and investigate that, and this is very much the reason why S.H.I.E.L.D. is in existence.
Q: Tom, tell us about Thor’s anarchic evil brother, Loki.
Tom Hiddleston: Well, tonight’s footage was amazing; this was my first time seeing it, I hadn't seen a single frame...The relationship between Thor and Loki is as complex as any relationship between any two brothers. There is a huge trigger halfway through the film, a reveal about Loki and his true lineage, explaining that he's not as close to Thor as he may have once thought. And that news triggers the jealousy that had been hidden inside him, and it becomes a cancerous rage that makes him want to destroy his brother and usurp his power. So yeah, it's complicated!