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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Kenneth Branagh ‘wasn’t ready’ to direct Thor: The Dark World

Kenneth Branagh declined the offer to direct the sequel Thor: The Dark World because he “wasn’t ready”.The British actor/director helmed the hugely successful Marvel blockbuster Thor, which marked the debut of Chris Hemsworth as the Norse god, back in …

Kenneth Branagh declined the offer to direct the sequel Thor: The Dark World because he “wasn’t ready”.

The British actor/director helmed the hugely successful Marvel blockbuster Thor, which marked the debut of Chris Hemsworth as the Norse god, back in 2011.

Even though the film was well-received by critics and grossed more than $449 million (£355 million) at the worldwide box office, Branagh decided to pass on directing duties for the sequel in 2013.

The 59-year-old told Collider that he had worked on Thor for more than three years and needed to “recharge” with a less strenuous project.

“When the first one was finished, essentially it had been three fantastic years of my life, but I needed to recharge on something else. I was too close to the glass on that one, so I would definitely never say never again because it changed my life and changed my career and I’m profoundly grateful for it,” he explained. “I wasn’t ready to go straight into another one, but I like the idea of… I’d love to be planning something that was a three-parter in movie terms. That hasn’t come along yet but maybe it will.”

He also suggested that he had originally planned to work on a Thor trilogy, but that wasn’t possible as the first movie had to perform well at the box office before any sequel was greenlit by Marvel.

“Sometimes with these stories I like to plan them as trilogies, but it’s much harder in this world for that to work out because the stakes are so high you’ve gotta really see how the first one does,” Branagh stated.

Directing duties on the Thor sequel were originally given to Patty Jenkins, now famous for directing Wonder Woman, but she left the project because she didn’t think she could make a good film from the script being used. It was eventually helmed by Alan Taylor.

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Kenneth Branagh will ‘never forget’ casting Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston in Thor

Kenneth Branagh will never forget the moment he cast Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston in Thor.The British actor and director helmed the 2011 movie, which introduced the Norse god to Marvel fans and raked in more than $449 million (£355 million) at t…

Kenneth Branagh will never forget the moment he cast Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston in Thor.

The British actor and director helmed the 2011 movie, which introduced the Norse god to Marvel fans and raked in more than $449 million (£355 million) at the worldwide box office.

The relationship between Hemsworth’s Thor and his brother Loki, played by Hiddleston, needed to be a success on-screen, as Marvel boss Kevin Feige planned to focus the ensemble superhero movie The Avengers on the siblings’ strained relationship.

And in a new interview with Collider, Branagh recalled the moment that he and Feige decided to offer the roles to the duo back in 2009.

“I’ll never forget the moment that we cast those two boys… It was like a sort of meditation or a sort of incantation. Kevin Feige must’ve walked around this long oval table a hundred times on that Saturday morning as I kept sort of saying, ‘I think we should call them.’ ‘Are you sure?’ ‘Yeah, I think we should call them.’… and I knew how profoundly serious that decision was,” the 59-year-old explained.

“Kevin said, ‘We’ll never make a more important decision in this company than what’s happening in this room, Saturday morning at 10.30, when you pick up the phone to Chris Hemsworth and then Tom Hiddleston. It’s either going to work or it’s not. Good luck,'” the Dunkirk star added.

Thor, which also starred Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, and Rene Russo, has gone on to spawn three sequels – Thor: The Dark World in 2013, Thor: Ragnarok in 2017, and Thor: Love and Thunder, which is scheduled to be released in 2022.

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Chris Hemsworth under fire for ‘free trial’ offer on fitness app

Bosses at Chris Hemsworth’s Centr fitness app have defended a free trial offer prompted by the Covid-19 crisis after users complained they were charged when trying to withdraw from a subscription.The Thor actor announced in March that people could have…

Bosses at Chris Hemsworth’s Centr fitness app have defended a free trial offer prompted by the Covid-19 crisis after users complained they were charged when trying to withdraw from a subscription.

The Thor actor announced in March that people could have free access to his health, fitness, and wellbeing programme for a six-week trial, with the terms and conditions stating that users would be charged for a subscription after the period expired.

But in reviews posted on Google Play, Apple’s App Store and social media, users have complained that they were charged $99 (£81) for a discounted yearly plan at the end of their trial, despite deleting the app and trying to cancel their subscription.

A representative of Centr defended the trial offer in a statement, telling WENN that while they “stand by” the conditions of the offer and that an “auto renew” function could be disabled, they would try and resolve the complaints of those who believe they deserve a refund.

“Centr’s extended free trial period was a genuine offer made with the intention of helping people to stay strong, healthy and calm during this challenging time,” they said, before stating that conditions “outlining that if the trial was not cancelled within the six-week period, the customer’s nominated plan would be charged” are “clearly displayed” when users sign up.

Offering to help those who feel ripped off, they added: “We want to be especially mindful of our original intention to help people during this time. Therefore, we are working diligently to resolve any concerns from the one per cent of customers who have reported issues relating to the free-trial offer.”

Users who were charged at the end of the trial complained that they couldn’t afford the fee due to the economic turmoil created by the coronavirus crisis. One raged in a review on Google Play that the policy was “unkind” as their salary had been cut, while others claimed they were unable to cancel, despite contacting customer services.

Hemsworth is yet to comment.

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Chris Hemsworth hopes Marvel blockbusters will bring audiences to reopened cinemas

Chris Hemsworth hopes that the upcoming Marvel blockbusters will bring audiences back to cinemas once the coronavirus pandemic is over.The 36-year-old, who has played the Norse god Thor since 2011, is gearing up to star in the fourth film, Thor: Love a…

Chris Hemsworth hopes that the upcoming Marvel blockbusters will bring audiences back to cinemas once the coronavirus pandemic is over.

The 36-year-old, who has played the Norse god Thor since 2011, is gearing up to star in the fourth film, Thor: Love and Thunder, which was due to being production this summer.

However, production on numerous films has been halted due to the pandemic, which has led to the closure of cinemas and the postponement of film releases, with Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbusters such as Black Widow and Eternals getting pushed back.

Hemsworth believes that these superhero movies are the key to reigniting the industry once the cinemas reopen.

“Films (like Marvel) that you can best appreciate on the big screen, those will draw people out of their homes again,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

He also said he understood the critics of Marvel movies, including Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese, who slammed the big-budget flicks for eradicating the competition.

“I hear those concerns, too. That (the MCU) takes up so much real estate, (and) is there enough room for the other things to exist, the art house films and the smaller films we love and admire equally,” Hemsworth explained.

Right now, the Thor star is enjoying a break from his intense Marvel schedule as he self-isolates in Australia with wife Elsa Pataky and their three children.

“I’ve wanted to just stop being controlled by a schedule,” he said. “So to be home now with the kids full time, and to be able to go ‘Wow, this is truly what’s important.’ It would be a real miss if I didn’t use this opportunity to soak up that time.”

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Elsa Pataky: ‘I could not imagine my life without exercise’

Elsa Pataky couldn’t imagine her life without exercise because it acts as the “glue” that holds everything together.The 43-year-old actress opened up about her approach to wellbeing and fitness in an interview with InStyle and confessed that her daily …

Elsa Pataky couldn’t imagine her life without exercise because it acts as the “glue” that holds everything together.

The 43-year-old actress opened up about her approach to wellbeing and fitness in an interview with InStyle and confessed that her daily workouts are something she couldn’t ever sacrifice.

“I could not imagine my life without exercise. For me it is the glue that holds everything together: my health, my happiness, my relationship,” she said, adding that she’s been interested in exercise since her teens.

“It was then that I started to learn everything I could about training and nutrition,” she explained. “Since then, I have trained consistently, though there have been times when I was less active – such as when I had my children. So I also know how hard it can be to start exercising again after you’ve had a break.”

The Fast and Furious star shares three children with husband Chris Hemsworth – seven-year-old daughter India and six-year-old twin boys Sasha and Tristan – and she said working out with the Thor hunk keeps their marriage alive.

“The best way to stick to training is to do something you love and, if you can, do it with someone you love. My husband Chris and I are always looking for opportunities to keep active together doing things we enjoy,” she shared. “Having three kids makes it a bit more complicated, but we always find a way. It enriches all of our lives.”

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Cate Blanchett kept hammer from Thor: Ragnarok

Cate Blanchett has revealed she has Thor’s hammer at home.In a recent video interview for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the Australian actress, who played villain Hela in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, said she had been cleaning her house during self-iso…

Cate Blanchett has revealed she has Thor’s hammer at home.

In a recent video interview for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the Australian actress, who played villain Hela in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, said she had been cleaning her house during self-isolation and proudly displayed the superhero’s hammer Mjolnir, which is usually seen in the hands of Thor actor Chris Hemsworth.

“You know how that Thor film that was shut down in Australia? It wasn’t anything to do with Covid-19. It was because I got the hammer,” she stated. “I have Mjölnir here. And, look at how easy I can lift it.”

Earlier in the interview, Blanchett disclosed she also has a collection of props from her time playing elf Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, including elf ears and hobbit feet that she “couldn’t find” in time to show Colbert.

“I know the kids have Hobbit feet somewhere and I thought, ‘Oh, I’d love to show them to you.’ Couldn’t find them. But I did find Tauriel’s fighting blades,” she said as she waved the blades in front of her webcam.

Colbert, amused, lightly accused Blanchett of stealing the blades from Evangeline Lilly, who played Tauriel in The Hobbit trilogy, and she replied, “Actually you did not see those. Don’t speak to Evangeline Lilly anytime soon.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Colbert asked Blanchett about schooling her children under lockdown in the U.K. and she expressed her admiration for teachers.

“I do have a profound respect – I always have – for teachers, but you know, I’m more like the homeroom teacher who has no particular skill, but I can corral people into doing things,” she said.

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Patty Jenkins reflects on decision to exit Thor: The Dark World

Patty Jenkins is “super grateful” she didn’t end up directing Thor: The Dark World.The Monster filmmaker was confirmed to helm the sequel to 2011 Marvel superhero movie Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, but just three months into deve…

Patty Jenkins is “super grateful” she didn’t end up directing Thor: The Dark World.

The Monster filmmaker was confirmed to helm the sequel to 2011 Marvel superhero movie Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, but just three months into development, she exited the project, citing “creative differences”.

Reflecting on the move in a new interview with Vanity Fair, Jenkins recalled how she was uncomfortable with the film’s proposed script and the scrutiny she felt as a woman.

“I did not believe that I could make a good movie out of the script that they were planning on doing,” she stated. “I think it would have been a huge deal – it would have looked like it was my fault. It would’ve looked like, ‘Oh my God, this woman directed it and she missed all these things.'”

Marvel producers subsequently handed directing duties on Thor 2 over to Alan Taylor. And Jenkins is adamant she made the right decision.

“That was the one time in my career where I really felt like, do this with (another director) and it’s not going to be a big deal. And maybe they’ll understand it and love it more than I do,” the 48-year-old shared. “You can’t do movies you don’t believe in. The only reason to do it would be to prove to people that I could. But it wouldn’t have proved anything if I didn’t succeed. I don’t think that I would have gotten another chance. And so, I’m super grateful.”

Jenkins went on to direct Wonder Woman for DC Comics in 2017. A sequel, also featuring Gal Gadot in the titular role, is set to be released in August.

Meanwhile, Taika Waititi was tapped to direct 2017 hit Thor: Ragnarok and is also making a new film, Thor: Love and Thunder, which is scheduled to hit cinemas in November 2021.

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Chris Hemsworth offering free workouts during coronavirus lockdown

Chris Hemsworth is offering fans a six-week free trial of his fitness app due to gyms closing around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic.The Hollywood actor has announced that those who sign up to become a new Centr member will get free access to h…

Chris Hemsworth is offering fans a six-week free trial of his fitness app due to gyms closing around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hollywood actor has announced that those who sign up to become a new Centr member will get free access to his health, fitness and wellbeing programme for six weeks, including at-home training, healthy recipes, meditations, and sleep visualisations.

“There’s a lot of fear, anxiety and uncertainty in the world at the moment. You’re probably stuck at home so I wanted to give everybody full access for free to my fitness app for the next six weeks,” he said in an Instagram video. “This app was designed to give people an opportunity to access the team that I’ve used over the years that have had a profoundly positive impact on my life.

“So, in times like this when there’s a lot of uncertainty running through your head, a lot of questions, I find it’s even more important than usual to concentrate on your movement, your physical activity, your exercise, your nutrition, what you put in your body, what we eat, and always our mental fitness, our mental game, staying positive.”

In the accompanying caption, Chris added, “Centr was founded to make health and happiness accessible to all, and I hope that this will make that access even easier during the current global health crisis.

“I think now more than ever is when we need to focus on what I believe to be the three key pillars to living healthier and happier – movement, nutrition, and mental fitness.”

Centr offers members personalised regimes to help them meet their fitness goals, with more than 1,000 workouts and 500 recipes. Members also have access into Centr’s private Facebook group, which provides a supportive space for users to share their experiences and celebrate their achievements.

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Tessa Thompson confirms Christian Bale will play villain in Thor: Love and Thunder

Tessa Thompson has confirmed that Christian Bale will play the villain in Thor: Love and Thunder.The 36-year-old let the news slip in an interview with Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet of the Westworld season three premiere, and revealed she can…

Tessa Thompson has confirmed that Christian Bale will play the villain in Thor: Love and Thunder.

The 36-year-old let the news slip in an interview with Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet of the Westworld season three premiere, and revealed she can’t wait to work with the Oscar-winning British star, who was rumoured to be joining the project back in January.

“Christian Bale is going to play our villain, which is going to be fantastic,” Tessa shared. “I’ve read the script (but) I can’t tell you much.”

And her co-star Natalie Portman, who returns as Jane Foster in the new movie, is also thrilled about the casting news.

“(There have been) lots of exciting text messages exchanged between Natalie and I. We’re going to have fun,” she added, before teasing more additions to director Taika Waititi’s star-studded cast. “Taika is writing (and) directing. Some familiar faces. Some new people coming into the mix.”

The Creed star, who made her debut as heroine Valkyrie in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok and reprised her role for last year’s Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Endgame, also revealed she’ll be playing King Valkyrie in the new movie.

“She’s king,” she said. “If she can’t find her queen, she’ll just be king and queen at the same time.”

Taika previously revealed that he shot a scene showing Valkyrie as bisexual for Thor: Ragnarok, but it was cut from the final edit, and he’s since hinted that the character may get a queer storyline in the upcoming film.

Thor: Love and Thunder, also starring Chris Hemsworth, is scheduled to hit theatres in November 2021.

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