‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ Stars and Creators Discuss Character Development, Balancing Comedy and Drama and More During Virtual Press Conference

The highly anticipated next installment of the Thor saga is almost here and fans are very excited. The stars and creators of the future Thor: Love and Thunder gathered for a virtual press conference today to discuss their character development, the balance between comedy and drama in the MCU and more.

The virtual press conference featured Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Christian Bale, Taika Waititi and Kevin Feige.

Hemsworth opened things up by talking a bit about the evolution of the qualities of Thor in him that he most relates to.

“Since Taika got involved, he’s brought out the immature, youthful, adolescent quality that I embody,” Hemsworth laughed. “The North Star is all about having fun, you know? To embody that space like a child would and enjoy it all and be caught up in the wonder and fascination of it all and not get bogged down in the serious nature that we can by making movies. Personally, with these kinds of films, I think they have to be fun.

Feige was asked why he thinks audiences have connected so much with Thor over the years and what makes the character so popular.

“I think they respond to Chris Hemsworth and I think they respond to anything he can do,” Feige said. “For so long we’ve said ‘well, he’s a Norse god, how can we make him accessible? “and spent so much time, I think, making sure the audience connected with him, that they are now.

There’s also a fun new dynamic in this movie with the return of Mjolnir that makes things a little awkward for Thor. And, after checking in with Feige first, Hemsworth touched on that dynamic a bit.

“It’s hard to see, the ex-girlfriend shows up dressed like him, it’s a shock. Suddenly, the weapon that was so dear to him and so on for so many years now belongs to someone another,” Hemsworth said. “And then he’s got Stormbreaker starting to feel a bit, there’s a bit of jealousy there.

One of the biggest draws of this film is the return of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and seeing her take up the mantle of Thor. She was asked what that experience was like for her.

“It was pretty crazy, of course, after seeing Chris wear the suit for so many years and then trying the version on myself,” Portman said. “Getting geared up for arm warmers and boots and everything was pretty surreal for the first time.”

Portman of course transformed her body a bit to take on the role of Thor in the film and was asked about her training process. Hemsworth and Waititi interrupted her by letting everyone know she was “leading the charge in the gym” and was always the first one there. Eventually, Portman was able to share some thoughts on the subject.

“It was a big challenge,” she said. “Tessa and Chris obviously have a lot of experience in this world, so I learned a lot from them.”

Portman was then asked about what it was like to shoot playing a superhero as opposed to just a supporting character.

“I feel like this opportunity, first of all, was such an amazing way to explore a superhero who could be quite vulnerable and find strength in it and be more like a human that I could relate to. personally identify,” Portman said. “And it’s also given me a renewed respect for what Chris has been doing for over a decade, Tessa has been doing, because I see how much work goes into it that I don’t think I was aware of when I was like the chick in the first one i didn’t get to see everything behind the scenes until i got a glimpse of all the choreography and practice and everything i was, wow, c It’s like a triple job compared to what I was doing at the time.

The newest cast member to the group was Bale, who takes on the role of the villainous Gorr the God Butcher. The actor shared his thoughts on how to bring this menacing character to life.

“There is great fun playing a villain. It’s a lot easier to play a villain than to play a hero,” Bale said. “The beauty of it is that Taika can make it hilarious and then really emotional in this story. And then, you know, I don’t know if it’s too much of a push to say sympathy, but you certainly kind of understand, maybe, why this guy is making such horrible decisions. And he’s a monster and he’s a butcher, but there’s a possibility of why he came to be like that.

Bale also shared a glimpse of what he went through to become Gorr for this movie.

“[I worked] with three absolutely brilliant special effects makeup artists,” Bale said. “We did it every morning for, it started in four hours, then three and a half hours and they are absolutely as responsible for Gorr’s performance as I am.”

Bale also mentioned a planned dance sequence which he discussed with Waititi which sadly never materialized.

“Maybe only whispered between Taika and me, would we ever find half a day to be able to do a Gorr dance,” laughed Bale. “We are both admirers of Kate Bush and we wondered how weird it was, it stuck in our heads.”

Thompson’s Valkyrie went from drunken scrapper to king of Asgard in just a few films. The actress was asked what this journey has been like for her and her character.

“It was really fun, I mean that’s the thing that I really enjoy about those movies and definitely something that Stan Lee talked about a lot, whether it’s a villain or a hero, the thing that connects them sometimes to their power, whether it’s used for good or bad, is actually their trauma,” Thompson said. “And so when we first met Valkyrie, she had a lot of it and she was coping with it by drinking a lot . And for Taika and I, we talked a lot about shaking up what a superhero looks like.

She continued on the details of what Valkyrie is facing now, in Thor: Love and Thunder.

“With this one, we also talked about the idea of ​​someone who has a job that he really loves, but he’s also a little unhappy,” Thompson said. “She, you know, was a professional soldier for thousands of years and now she kind of gets stuck in bureaucracy so she really misses being on the battlefield and missing her sisters and so c It’s great fun to have that again with Natalie especially as Mighty Thor.

Thompson was also asked about how this film balances comedy and drama, which wonder has so often done so well.

“I think that’s what’s so fun about these movies and this one in particular kind of holds that space between the ridiculous and the fun and the pathetic,” Thompson said. “And I think that’s something that Taika has always done very, very well in his films and in this one in particular, I feel like he was really excited to lean into the emotion of way that felt really, I don’t know, rich to us and I think really different from what we’ve seen, especially with themes like love and relationships in this one which was really exciting.

Waititi developed the idea of ​​finding that balance between comedy and drama for the film.

“A lot of that is in the post. On set we try to do as much as we can and you know it’s just about harvesting moments and then taking them back to the kitchen and trying to figure out what the actual dish is,” said Waititi. “You know, we’re planning on making a certain dish and they might be very different by the time we finish cooking it.”

One of the things that stands out from this movie is the soundtrack and Taika had something to say about that as well.

“We just wanted to spend as much money as possible,” the director joked. “The whole aesthetic around the movie was always that we wanted it to not be that explosive, loud, colorful palette that reflected like spray-painted vans in the 80s and rock album covers and even the treatment of the film’s title was the kind of thing I would have drawn on my school book in class when I wasn’t listening.

Waititi also wanted to inform potential audiences of the amount of work that went into this film.

“It’s been a long journey and we’ve worked very, very hard on this movie to make something that audiences will love,” he said. “And after a few years of being, you know, stuck at home or, you know, having to go through a lot of hardships, I think it’s really nice to be able to celebrate things like love and thunder, what what that means in your life, but also just being able to go back to the movies and being able to just laugh and feel like a kid again.

As for the future of the MCU, Feige let fans know that they won’t have to wait too long to find out what’s next.

“We will be at [San Diego] Comic-Con next month, which we’re excited about,” Feige said. “The first time since we were on stage three years ago talking about this film and many others and now I think almost, not everything, but almost everything we discussed three years ago is out now, so yeah, we’re excited to go talk about the future.

Thor: Love and Thunder hits theaters on July 8.