A few weeks ago I was delighted to be able to attend the Thor:Ragnarok pre-screening and press junket. I’ll tell you all about the film on Friday, but right now I want to share my take-away from the press junket.
Jon and I had seen the film the night before and couldn’t stop talking about it for days.
“That scene in Hulk’s room! LOL!”
“OMG! Jeff Goldblum!”
“Best Thor movie!”
“Best Marvel movie??!!”
And on and on we went until we had dissected the entire thing, both deciding that we really Could. Not. Wait. to see it again. Seriously.
On many of these press events, a single theme usually emerges. In this case, it was the genius creative energy of Director Taika Waititi. The movie is fabulous and hilariously funny due to his wonderful direction.
Also, please appreciate the phenomenal cast.
- Director Taika Waititi (also “Korg”)
- Tom Hiddleston (“Loki”)
- Cate Blanchett ( “Hella”)
- Mark Ruffalo (“Bruce Banner / Hulk”)
- Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”)
- Tessa Thompson (“Valkyrie”)
- Jeff Goldblum (“Grandmaster”)
- Rachel House (“Topaz”)
- Karl Urban (“Skurge”)
- Producer Kevin Feige
HOST: “Taika, you kind of brought an independent sensibility to this monstrous film, and gave it fun, and a little heart, too. What was the process like for you?”
TAIKA WAITITI: “Well, when they first asked me to come and talk to them about making this film, obviously I thought that Marvel had lost their minds. So they’re just hiring anyone now?”
[laughter from the audience]
And the hilarity just took off from there. Excellent directorial choice, Marvel. Kudos.
It was hard to focus with so many beautiful and talented humans up on that stage, but Chris Hemsworth, by his stature, and the fact that he’s the titular character in this movie, commanded most of the attention. He immediately reiterated that Director Taika Waititi was key in the admirable way the movie showcased the strengths of the acting ensemble.
HOST: “Chris, what makes this Thor different from the others?”
CHRIS HEMSWORTH: “Taika Waititi, basically. I think we all had a vision and an idea, and we wanted to do something vastly different from 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 the fun we had.”
TAIKA WAITITI: “I came in and I knew my strengths were tone, character, relationships and things, and I had to ignore the scale of this monster, this beast. 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 just trying to remember their lines.” [LAUGHTER]
“And so it doesn’t matter the scale of the film – that’s always the same. So I just focused down on what I was used to, which was what’s in front of the camera.”
Not to give anything away, but Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song helps sell the whole thing. Seriously. (I may or may not be playing the soundtrack pretty much non-stop, but that’s not important right now.)
Let’s just stop and watch the trailer and appreciate the awesome.
HOST: “Who decided on Led Zeppelin?”
KEVIN FEIGE: “Taika. The first meeting we had, Taika came in.”
KEVIN FEIGE: “He came in. Filmmakers sometimes will say, using clips of other movies, ‘Here’s what I have in mind.’ And sometimes they’re not good. Most of the times, they’re okay. His was amazing, and was scored to that Led Zeppelin song.”
“So from the beginning, that song kind of defined what Taika was going to do with this. That it’s in the trailer, that it’s in the film – all from that first meeting, and from one of his first instincts of this movie, is very impressive.”
As seen in the trailer above, the movie pits two Avengers, Thor (Chris Hemsworth and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) against each other. “He’s a friend from work!” Here’s their take on working together like that.
PRESS: “We see – we hear – a lot more dialogue now from the Hulk than we ever have before. What was that like for you – hearing that – because it’s almost kind of childlike. We don’t really hear him talk a lot in the other films.”
CHRIS HEMSWORTH: “I loved it. I think, this is my favorite version of the Hulk because we actually got to act together. We’d only really fought one another on screen in the previous films.”
“And this time around, we got to just sort of improvise our way through it, and sort of invent this chemistry that we hadn’t explored before, and – and sort of 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 embodies. I think it’s fantastic. I loved it.”
MARK RUFFALO: “I did, too.”
What I most appreciated about this particular group of actors talking about their movie was the camaraderie that was so evident. They seem to genuinely enjoy each other and very obviously had great respect for their director.
I loved that they were all so relaxed and having fun. This shines through in the film.
I’ll write more about Thor:Ragnarok in a few days and tell you all about the movie in juicy detail, but for right now let me just share a couple of personal moments. Here is the very obviously exhausted Chris Hemsworth taking (yet another) selfie with a very star-struck fan. (Ya tu sabes.)
But wait. Is that Karl Urban. I was trying so hard to act super cool, but being a LOTR über-fan, I was dying here.
And, of course, the inimitable Jeff Goldblum.
Like the cast, I felt like I got to have ALL the fun at this press junket.
See what I mean?
Thor:Ragnarok will open in theaters everywhere on Friday, November 3rd, 2017.