Kenneth Branagh: ‘Thor was critical to success of Marvel Cinematic Universe’

Kenneth Branagh believes Thor was critical to the success of future Marvel movies.The actor/director, who helmed the comic book adaptation back in 2011, has revealed that the fantasy blockbuster was essential to the next stage of movies in the Marvel C…

Kenneth Branagh believes Thor was critical to the success of future Marvel movies.

The actor/director, who helmed the comic book adaptation back in 2011, has revealed that the fantasy blockbuster was essential to the next stage of movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Speaking to Collider, Branagh explained that Thor’s fictional fantasy world, which featured the kingdom of Asgard located in the Nine Realms, was key to bridging the gap between the Earth-bound superheroes, such as Iron Man and Captain America, to the space-bound elements.

“There was no question that tonally Thor was critical after the massive success of the brilliant Iron Man from Mr. (Jon) Favreau and Robert (Downey Jr.), and then slightly less successful in their terms The Incredible Hulk,” he explained, referencing Edward Norton’s box office bomb back in 2008.

“Thor became critical to being the sort of tonal bridge – featuring literally a rainbow bridge as well – between as it were the Earthbound and space-bound and fantasy-bound parts of the Marvel universe,” Branagh continued, noting that there were “enormously important” elements of future movies, including The Avengers in 2012, that couldn’t be explained in other Marvel movies.

“So there was a kind of connective matrix that Thor, Asgard, the Nine Realms and everything that it involved could provide inside that large Marvel Cinematic Universe that was enormously important that couldn’t be done by the brilliant Captain America, because it wasn’t the same material,” the 59-year-old stated.

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Deadpool creator insists there’s ‘no movement’ on third movie in franchise

Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld has indicated there will be “no movement” on a third movie for at least five years.Ryan Reynolds, who plays the titular character in the Marvel Comics superhero franchise, revealed back in December that a third instalment i…

Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld has indicated there will be “no movement” on a third movie for at least five years.

Ryan Reynolds, who plays the titular character in the Marvel Comics superhero franchise, revealed back in December that a third instalment in the hugely successful R-rated franchise was on its way.

“We’re working on it right now with the whole team,” Reynolds confirmed, but did not reveal any further details about the follow-up.

However, the character’s comic book creator discussed the future of the anti-hero in a new interview with io9, and dashed the hopes of Deadpool fans when he admitted the movie won’t be happening anytime soon.

Liefeld claimed he had viewed the schedule for the Marvel Cinematic Universe up until 2025, and Deadpool 3 was nowhere to be seen.

“Until a movie is put on a schedule, it’s not taken seriously. And what people don’t like is that I have assessed the schedule for the next – give or take – five years and I don’t see Deadpool on it. I don’t see that it can arrive earlier than that,” Liefeld shared.

He also addressed comments he made during an interview with ComicBook.com earlier this month, in which he “blamed Marvel” for allowing the project to be delayed.

“Do I know that there is no movement on a Deadpool 3 right now? I know that, yes. Does that worry me? No, not at all,” he told io9. “What I did was I answered a question honestly, and what I learned this week is just lie.

“Just because some guy goes, ‘Yeah, we’re still moving along,’ that’s code for, ‘There’s nothing to see here.'”

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Anthony Russo: ‘Iron Man’s comeback has to be worth it’

Anthony Russo has insisted that bringing Iron Man back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) would only be worth it if the storytelling was good enough to justify his comeback.The beloved comic book character, played by Robert Downey Jr. since 2008,…

Anthony Russo has insisted that bringing Iron Man back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) would only be worth it if the storytelling was good enough to justify his comeback.

The beloved comic book character, played by Robert Downey Jr. since 2008, was killed off at the end of last year’s blockbuster Avengers: Endgame, which was directed by Anthony and his brother Joe Russo.

When asked how he felt about Iron Man, aka Tony Stark, returning to the MCU, Anthony insisted his comeback should only happen if it has been “earned” by good storytelling, as his reappearance would undo the stakes in Endgame.

“I mean look, certainly we’ve always said this and we believe this about stakes have to be real, and if they’re not real, like the audience’s emotional investment in the moment and in those characters in the narrative is only… is contingent upon them feeling like there’s potential. There’s something to be lost,” Anthony told the ReelBlend podcast.

He went on to add that while he and his brother were committed to having Iron Man sacrifice himself to save the world and defeat supervillain Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, they are aware that there’s always room for a comeback within the comic book universe.

“It depends on how he was brought back. It depends on the storytelling, but it is certainly something that has to be earned,” he continued. “It’s certainly something that would shock and surprise audiences, so you can’t simply just bring him back. There would have to be a really compelling, innovative, unpredictable narrative event to find your way there in order for it to be worth it.”

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Joe Russo praises Tom Holland’s ‘Oscar-worthy performance’ in Cherry

Joe Russo was blown away by Tom Holland’s “Oscar-worthy performance” in hard-hitting drama Cherry.The director/producer first worked with the British actor on Captain America: Civil War back in 2016, when he made his debut as the web-slinging superhero…

Joe Russo was blown away by Tom Holland’s “Oscar-worthy performance” in hard-hitting drama Cherry.

The director/producer first worked with the British actor on Captain America: Civil War back in 2016, when he made his debut as the web-slinging superhero Spider-Man.

Since then, Joe has teamed up with his brother Anthony Russo once again to helm the upcoming movie, which sees Tom play an Army medic suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who robs banks to fund his drug addiction.

The gritty character is a far cry from the young actor’s infamous portrayal of the sweet and nerdy Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the 48-year-old filmmaker teased the possibility of an Oscar nod for Tom next year.

“I think he’s exceptional in the movie, honestly. I think it’s an Oscar-worthy performance out of him. He is shredding himself, physically and emotionally,” Joe told Collider, noting that it is a “complicated role” that spans decades in the movie. “I just think he’s exquisite in the part. He’s so compulsively watchable onscreen.”

Joe also admitted it was a bonus that Tom is so well-liked because of his critically-acclaimed portrayal of Spider-Man, as audiences will find it hard to hate his character in Cherry.

“When you’re playing a character that goes to that level of depravity, to have someone as inherently likeable as Tom playing that character, so that you continue to root for them no matter what horrible choices they make, it’s invaluable,” the filmmaker continued. “I think it really changes the entire presentation of the movie for an audience. I can’t say enough about it. I’m just really blown away by him in the film.”

Cherry is slated for release later this year.

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Taika Waititi: ‘Thor: Love and Thunder isn’t a run-of-the-mill movie’

Taika Waititi teased details about his upcoming movie Thor: Love and Thunder during an Instagram Live screening party on Thursday.The actor and filmmaker took to the platform to provide some light relief for fans amid the coronavirus lockdown, and was …

Taika Waititi teased details about his upcoming movie Thor: Love and Thunder during an Instagram Live screening party on Thursday.

The actor and filmmaker took to the platform to provide some light relief for fans amid the coronavirus lockdown, and was joined by Valkyrie actress Tessa Thompson for a Thor: Ragnarok viewing session.

After the screening, the celebrated star hinted at some details about the sequel, Thor: Love and Thunder, telling fans they are about four or five drafts into the writing process and insisting the sequel isn’t going to be a “run-of-the-mill” movie.

He joked: “It’s like 10-year-olds told us what should be in a movie and we said yes to every single thing.”

Tessa, who previously said she wants Valkyrie to be one of the first LGBTQ+ characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), added that she’s also read the latest draft.

Elsewhere, Taika confirmed his character Korg won’t have a romantic interest in the sequel because he was “deeply in love and lost that love along the line”, adding, “He doesn’t feel brave enough to find love again”.

However, he did reveal that Krog’s Kronan culture will be revealed and suggested the Space Sharks, also known as Starsharks, which appear in the original comic book series, will feature.

Viewers also got a surprise during the party when actor Mark Ruffalo, who plays Hulk, joined the session for a brief chat with his pal.

Thor: Love and Thunder is currently scheduled to hit theatres on 18 February, 2022.

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Jessica Chastain turned down Doctor Strange to wait for bigger Marvel role

Jessica Chastain turned down a role in Doctor Strange because she had her sights set on a bigger role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.The two-time Oscar nominee was approached by Scott Derrickson, who directed the 2016 fantasy blockbuster starring Ben…

Jessica Chastain turned down a role in Doctor Strange because she had her sights set on a bigger role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The two-time Oscar nominee was approached by Scott Derrickson, who directed the 2016 fantasy blockbuster starring Benedict Cumberbatch, to play the role of Christine Palmer.

Palmer is a surgeon and the girlfriend of Stephen Strange, who helps him recover after his devastating car accident. However, she dumps him after an argument over their relationship, but the pair eventually reunite when Strange becomes a sorcerer. Palmer saves his life when he’s badly injured during a fight with villain Kaecilius.

Doctor Strange writer C. Robert Cargill revealed during an interview on the Junkfood Cinema podcast that he and Derrickson wanted Chastain for the role, but she candidly turned them down, leading them to cast Rachel McAdams instead.

“This is the interesting thing that Hollywood’s starting to find out, is that a lot of the actresses out there want to be superheroes as much as the actors do. I know this happened with Scott. He went to Jessica Chastain to get her on Doctor Strange, because we were considering her,” he explained.

“And she’s like, ‘Hey, look, this project sounds awesome, and I would love to do it. But I’m only going to get one shot at being in a Marvel film and becoming a Marvel character; and I trained in ballet, and I really want to wear a cape.’ And that was the coolest rejection ever.”

Chastain went on to star in last year’s X-Men spin-off Dark Phoenix, in which she played the leader of an alien shape-shifting race.

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Tom Holland confirms Sony had ‘wonderful plan’ to transition Spider-Man out of MCU

Tom Holland has insisted producers at Sony had a “wonderful” plan to write Spider-Man out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after talks broke down last summer.The web-slinging superhero was briefly ousted from the MCU after negotiations between heads at…

Tom Holland has insisted producers at Sony had a “wonderful” plan to write Spider-Man out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after talks broke down last summer.

The web-slinging superhero was briefly ousted from the MCU after negotiations between heads at Disney, who own Marvel Studios, and Sony Pictures, who own the screen rights to the comic book character, stalled.

A new deal was eventually announced in September, a month after talks had originally broken down, but in a new interview with MTV News, Holland revealed that Sony bosses already had a plan up their sleeves to help smoothly transition Spider-Man out of the MCU if a deal wasn’t reached.

“(The) future for Spider-Man was still very bright with Sony and we had a really, really wonderful idea how we could sort of transition into a Spider-Man without the MCU,” he said.

He also noted that Sony’s Tom Rothman and Amy Pascal were “really confident” they had the perfect idea to “make a film of the calibre that Spider-Man requires”.

Holland first played Spider-Man, and his high school student alter-ego Peter Parker, in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, and has since portrayed the beloved superhero in two standalone films – Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017, and last year’s Spider-Man: Far From Home.

A third movie will begin filming in July, and Holland told fans they shouldn’t be worried about the future of his character.

“I’m really glad to be back in the MCU and to have the team back together because I kind of feel like it’s where he belongs now,” the 23-year-old gushed, before heaping praise on Disney boss Bob Iger for bringing him onboard to help keep Spider-Man at Marvel. “It was a pretty cool experience and also the best bragging rights ever, I saved Spider-Man.”

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Mark Ruffalo: ‘Kevin Feige almost quit Marvel Studios over representation issues’

Mark Ruffalo has claimed Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige almost stepped down from his role in 2012 after quarrelling with Disney executives over a lack of diversity and representation.In a new interview with The Independent, the actor, who plays Bruce …

Mark Ruffalo has claimed Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige almost stepped down from his role in 2012 after quarrelling with Disney executives over a lack of diversity and representation.

In a new interview with The Independent, the actor, who plays Bruce Banner/The Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), recalled how Feige once told him that he had approached leaders at the company over concerns about the depiction of women in superhero movies and was so incensed by their reaction that he threatened to quit.

“When we did the first Avengers, Kevin Feige told me, ‘Listen, I might not be here tomorrow,'” Ruffalo shared. “And he’s like, ‘Ike (Isaac Perlmutter, Disney’s largest shareholder at the time) does not believe that anyone will go to a female-starring superhero movie. So, if I am still here tomorrow, you will know that I won that battle.'”

Feige’s passionate pitch eventually prompted a change in the studio, with Captain Marvel, the first female standalone movie in the MCU, fronted by Brie Larson, released last year.

And Ruffalo was full of praise for the Marvel boss, especially in relation to the way in which he is championing equality and diversity.

“Because Kevin wanted black superheroes, women superheroes, LGBT superheroes, he changed the whole Marvel universe,” the 52-year-old explained. “We now have a gay superhero on the way, we have black superheroes, we have female superheroes – Scarlett Johansson has her movie coming out, we have Captain Marvel, they are doing She-Hulk next. No other studio is being that inclusive on that level.

“They have to, though. This is the f**king world.”

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Haaz Sleiman cried after filming history-making gay kiss for Marvel’s Eternals

Haaz Sleiman has recalled how everyone cried on the set of new superhero film Eternals after he filmed a gay kiss scene.The upcoming blockbuster, which focuses on a race of immortal beings created by the Celestials, will not only feature the Marvel Cin…

Haaz Sleiman has recalled how everyone cried on the set of new superhero film Eternals after he filmed a gay kiss scene.

The upcoming blockbuster, which focuses on a race of immortal beings created by the Celestials, will not only feature the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first same-sex kiss, but two of the characters will be in an openly queer relationship.

Sleiman plays a supporting cast member in the movie, who is married to Brian Tyree Henry’s immortal hero Phastos, and the couple have a child together.

He discussed the groundbreaking move by Marvel producers in an interview with NewNowNext and noted he wants audiences to understand his character’s “beautiful and loving” relationship with the first-ever gay superhero.

“It’s a beautiful, very moving kiss. Everyone cried on set. For me, it’s very important to show how loving and beautiful a queer family can be,” the 43-year-old explained. “Brian Tyree Henry is such a tremendous actor and brought so much beauty into this part, and at one point I saw a child in his eyes, and I think it’s important for the world to be reminded that we, in the queer community, were all children at one point.

“We forget that because we’re always depicted as sexual or rebellious; we forget to connect on that human part.”

Eternals, which takes place after the devastating events of last year’s Avengers: Endgame, will see the immortal beings uniting to defend Earth from the Deviants.

The comic book flick, also starring Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani and Kit Harington, is scheduled to hit cinemas in November.

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Bob Iger fires back at criticism of Marvel movies

Disney boss Bob Iger has hit back at Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola over their criticism of Marvel movies.Iger, who serves as chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, which owns Marvel Studios, made an appearance at Th…

Disney boss Bob Iger has hit back at Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola over their criticism of Marvel movies.

Iger, who serves as chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, which owns Marvel Studios, made an appearance at The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference in California on Tuesday night, and during an interview, was asked what he thought of Scorsese’s view that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) flicks are “not cinema”, and Coppola’s opinion that such blockbusters are “despicable”.

“Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese are people I hold in the highest regard in terms of the films they’ve made, the films I’ve liked, the films we’ve all watched,” he stated, according to reporters at Fast Company. “But when Francis uses the words ‘those films are despicable,’ I’d reserve the word ‘despicable’ for someone who had committed mass murder.

“I don’t get what they’re criticising us for when we’re making films that people are obviously enjoying going to and they’re doing so by the millions.”

Iger then insisted that Marvel films actually support the wider movie industry because they draw in viewers and allow cinema executives to show more independent films. He also compared Ryan Coogler’s box office smash, Black Panther, to Scorsese and Coppola’s movies.

“Are you telling me that Ryan Coogler making Black Panther is doing something that somehow or another is less than anything Marty Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola have ever done on any one of their movies? Come on,” the 68-year-old asked.

Following Scorsese and Coppola’s criticism, the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, Robert Downey, Jr., Natalie Portman, and Sebastian Stan have all defended the MCU. However, Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch expressed support for both sides of the argument during a chat on SiriusXM’s The Jenny McCarthy Show on Tuesday.

“I know there’s been a lot of debate recently with some very fine filmmakers coming to the fore saying these film franchises are taking over everything,” he explained. “But, lucky us actors who get to do both kinds of variety, at either polarity (in terms) of budgeting.

“I agree, we don’t want one king to rule it all and have a monopoly and all that, and it’s hopefully not the case and we should really look into continuing to support auteur filmmakers at every level.”

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