‘Thor’s’ Kenneth Branagh: We Are ‘Challenged to Be Absolutely Cosmic
Days of Thunder: We’re counting down to the May 6 release of “Thor” with a month of on-the-set reports, exclusive photos and interviews with the cast and crew of the first truly cosmic Marvel Studios film. Today: Exploring the film’s rainbow bridge
The Los Angeles Times, 29 April 2011
To reach the gleaming, mystical realm of Asgard from Earth, there’s a rainbow bridge that, looking back through the pages of Marvel Comics in the 1960s, now looks a bit quaint — with its wide, arcing ribbons of color. In the new film “Thor,” however, the mythical thoroughfare pulses and roils with fearsome energy and metallic ripples.
It’s just one of production designer Bo Welch’s otherworldly visions for the first Marvel Studios film that finds itself “charged and challenged to be absolutely cosmic,” as director Kenneth Branagh said of the film that tells the tale of the Norse god Thor and his fall to Earth. The release stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Oscar winner Natalie Portman as his love interest and Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Thor’s father and the king of Asgard.
Branagh adored the early Thor comics that took the characters from the relentlessly grim Norse mythology and weaved them into an unlikely cosmic tapestry in which the thunder god fought aliens and killer robots one month and might tussle with Hercules the next. “There’s a lot to be enjoyed in the possibilities of the clash of ancient and modern, and sophisticated and primitive,” Branagh said. “We’ve focused on what’s fun beneath all of it, it all begins with putting a god next to a gal.”
Worshiped as gods in Norse mythology, the Asgard warriors here are presented as cosmic citizens with science so advanced it appears to be an especially thunderous brand of magic. Hemsworth calls the film, which sees the gods swoop in on a dusty desert town, a “special mix of out-there adventure with a story about family, love and redemption.” Yes, but there are also frost giants, huge killer automatons, spies, a magic mallet and a one-eyed king of the gods.
“We tried to evoke the Hopper-esque, Route 66, kind of Americana,” Branagh said, “but also that sort of heightened comic-book sensibility. There’s a natural bridge to cinema that comics seem to beg. And we are crossing that bridge.”