"Thor" is swinging its mighty hammer into cinemas this weekend, and it may be a surprise to many moviegoers, proving to be a lighter, jauntier superhero film that the material might suggest. The cast and filmmakers did the press rounds, and as usual, bits and pieces about what might be in store for the future Marvel universe were hinted at, but also just as intriguingly, the process on making "Thor" was brought to the fore as well. Playlist writer Leah Zak spoke with Marvel guru Kevin Feige in an interview as well as participating in group conversations with the rest of the "Thor" team and here's what we learned.
Kevin Feige says Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner will be a throwback to the Bill Bixby days
Though Mark Ruffalo will be the third actor -- after Eric Bana and Edward Norton -- to go green in less than 10 years, Kevin Feige believes the character of Bill Bixby/The Hulk is open to different interpretations. "I think like James Bond changing actors many times or Batman changing actors many times, or Dr. Who changing actors, every actor brings something different to it and I think what we’re going to find [with Mark Ruffalo is] a pathos that I think we haven’t seen in Bruce Banner since Bill Bixby," Feige said. "Ruffalo is I think going to be matching that in terms of really sort of feeling for that character and caring for that character. I think one of the reasons Mark wanted to come on is that Banner becomes as interesting a character as the Hulk does. And all rooted in that pathos for this brilliant man who has this condition."
Kevin Feige confirms The Hulk and Jessica Jones are possible contenders for Marvel TV shows
As you might recall, last summer a new division called Marvel Television was formed as another outlet for the vast catalog of characters in the comic catalog. And while Kevin Feige is not directly involved with the development of projects under that banner, he did reiterate previous news that The Hulk and Jessica Jones are likely to get their own shows.
"I think they’ve talked about Hulk and a character named Jessica Jones who was in a comic series called Alias -- the TV show will not be called Alias -- but the comic series was. And they’ve certainly earmarked a lot of properties that they think has potential for various forms of TV," Feige told us. We all know who The Hulk is, but Jessica Jones is a bit more esoteric. She was a schoolmate of Peter Parker, whom she had a crush on, who gained superstrength, the ability to heal and fly after her family got in a car accident with a military convoy carrying radioactive materials. Being a young character we could definitely see the appeal of turning her into a TV series, as tonally, she would be going through the same stuff as Peter Parker who gained his powers at a young age while dealing with young love and death of parents.
The most uncomfortable part of Chris Hemsworth's prep for the film was eating
Whether in IMAX, 3D or plain white bread 2D, there is no denying that Chris Hemsworth is a big dude, and not surprisingly, he was on quite a regiment to get in shape though the easiest part of it was also the hardest. "Yeah, the most uncomfortable thing was the eating. I didn’t mind so much the working out; I’d never really lifted weights to that capacity beforehand, and it was certainly a whole new sort of education, for a good six months," he explained. "But I just don’t naturally sit at that weight, so I had to force feed myself with, you know, 20 chicken breasts and rice and steak -- and all very boring to the plain things. And that was the most exhausting part, I think, out of the whole film, actually was the eating. It wasn’t the fun stuff, either. It wasn’t hamburgers and pizza and what have you."
Anthony Hopkins admits his beard and armor did most of the acting
It's a bit of surprise to see a notable thesp like Anthony Hopkins walking around Asgard, but for the legendary actor it was a combination of cash and working with Kenneth Branagh that brought him on board. And once there, he let wacky clothing of Asgard do the talking for him.
"If they gave me enough money to read the phone book, I’d do it," Hopkins said half-jokingly and candidly adding. "[Kenneth Branagh is] one of the best directors I’ve worked with -- so that was the principle reason [for joining the film]. And hey, I wanted the work. Gotta pay the rent, you know."
"And I thought this was a nice part. Didn’t have to do too much.The only thing was, I wish I’d gone down to New Mexico, because I had such a good time in the studios. My time was so brief. I think I was only on it about three weeks, on those great sets and everything. And then, you know, no acting required. I wrote in my script, 'NAR' -- no acting required, let the armor act for me, you know, on the sets," he said. "So I let the armor do it for it, and the beard, and that was about it, you know. And showed up and put on my voice and that was about it. But I really enjoyed it."
Kat Dennings character was expanded during the rehearsal process
Though her role is pretty minor already in the film, as Darcy, Kat Dennings adds a much-needed light touch to the proceedings and as the film geared up to go in front of cameras, the filmmakers seemed to agree as her role got beefed up. "I got this role and then got to read the script. I didn’t read the script before I got this. So I didn’t now who Darcy was, and Darcy’s not in the comics, so she became bigger through the rehearsals. So I’m just thrilled that she’s still in it. I can’t believe I didn’t get cut."
Tom Hiddleston auditioned to play "Thor" and like his character Loki, really wanted to wield that hammer.
"For 'Thor'....he gained all sorts of weight and he did his audition and we went, 'You’re Loki,'" Feige recollected about how the actor came aboard for a different part entirely. "It might be online now, it’ll definitely be on the DVD, where Tom and Chris are in our big Asgardian ceremony set in their full costumes and Tom and Chris is holding his hammer as he did throughout the whole movie and Tom just comes by--this is behind the scenes footage--comes by and, 'Let me hold that, let me hold that for a minute.' And you see Tom holding it and dressed as Loki holding it swinging the hammer around and Chris is like, 'Hey, gimme that back.'"
All around, it seems like everyone had a blast working together, and if you enjoy the film, it won't be long before you see Thor and Loki once again in next year's star studded "The Avengers." But for now, check out "Thor" when it opens tomorrow. Check out more from our interview with Kevin Feige.