Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World is coming out on DVD, blu ray and 3D on March 5th and to celebrate we have a rather fanastic Q&A with Odin himself Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Q: What’s it like for you to be portraying Odin once again?
A: It’s quite fun. I enjoyed the first one with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, although I haven’t worked with Tom on this one. This is mostly Chris and myself, and later scenes with Natalie Portman; she’s beautiful and lovely.
Q: How do you connect with your character?
A: I’m not really well versed in the Marvel folklore mythology or in fact Nordic mythology. I just play him like a human being, with maybe a little bit more dimension. I grow a beard, look hopefully impressive and keep it as real as possible. I like to throw away lines and just make it sound a little bit more ironic. I think it sometimes works. Sometimes the director, Alan Taylor, wants me to put the pressure a bit on certain lines. He’s very good at that and Ken Branagh was also good at that. You can’t play it naturalistically; you have to play it with some sort of gravitas.
Q: Can you tell me about the father/son relationship between Thor and Odin in this film?
A: Thor, in the first one, was the bad boy, the rebellious boy, and I banish him. In this one we seem to be a little easier with each other. But he’s got this girl, Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, back in Asgard. Her presence threatens my kingdom and I want her to be sent back to Earth, which he won’t do.
Q: Thor obviously has more responsibilities and he has his relationship with Jane Foster to deal with too. Can you give some insight on that?
A: His father doesn’t trust that relationship. But Odin tells Thor at the end that she is quite exceptional. Odin thinks that Thor is smitten and blinded by passion, but he sees that Thor saw the truth about certain things and saved the kingdom.
Q: How have you seen Chris Hemsworth’s characterization of Thor evolve?
A: Chris is a terrific actor and on both “Thor” and “Thor 2” he was pretty impressive. We were doing a scene at night recently and there were four of us out on a balcony, including Chris. I went to check the playback on the monitor and I said to the director, ‘He really does look like a god. He looks like a Nordic god.’Chris’ physical workouts, apart from everything else, were pretty stunning. Many hours a day of weight training and special eating regimen. But, the great thing is that he doesn’t seem to have changed by the tremendous success he’s had in the last few years. That, I believe, is a guarantee of future success. No turning of the head or such stuff. He was terrific in the first “Thor,” and is quite spectacular in this second version. He’s quiet and always prepared and, obviously, hugely disciplined. He’s a big star and a very pleasant guy to work with.
Q: This is such a cosmic story. What is it that still grounds this story in reality?
A: In this particular version, if you look around the sets, these are very Asgardian sets. They are rather grand, but in a way it all looks much more worn, much grittier. I remember the first day we were filming here and I said to Chris Hemsworth that this looks much grittier and this kingdom looks as if it’s a bit shabby now and been broken down by war and battle. In fact I think it’s much more grounded in reality. For example, they’ve been filming in Greenwich and in various real locations. With the first “Thor” there was a lot of green screen and a lot of glossiness about it, but it worked. This probably has a deeper root in it, because Alan Taylor has directed quite a number of the “Game of Thrones,” and they’re pretty atmospheric, gritty and muscular, so that’s what he is bringing to this. This film is more earthbound. It’s like Asgard is actually on Earth. It rains and it’s gloomy like British weather. So it’s a good mix-match. This is much more real.
Q: What was it like working with director Alan Taylor?
A: Alan’s a very good director in how he uses the camera; it’s a different style to Ken Branagh, but they are both excellent, just different styles. Ken was very direct with the camera and very much in command of everything on set—a meticulously knowledgeable and thoughtful, great director. Alan tends to be, and this is a good thing I suppose, more interested in the form of the shot of the set. He’s quite precise about that, where you move. It doesn’t make him inflexible because I’ve suggested things that he will try, but nothing spectacularly out of the realm of his direction. For example, I never feel comfortable being up close with actors. I think you get more power when you are distant from them, on a big set like this. So my character had a confrontation with Thor a few weeks ago and I told Alan Taylor that I felt I’d rather be farther away from him so there’s more power between both of us. It’s a quarrel scene; it’s a defiant scene from Thor. I think being up close doesn’t work and the more distance you have the better. He was fine with it and it worked out well.