The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: Thor Ragnarok Press Conference! #thorragnarok

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Thor Ragnarok Press Conference! #thorragnarok

Disclosure: I attended the #ThorRagnarokevent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.


Photo Credit - Drew Bennett / BenSpark Family Adventures - http://www.benspark.com/

Instead of the intimate interviews with the stars of Thor Ragnarok, we were invited to go to the big press conference with other media. I had never been to one of these big press conferences. I liked it. It was a little chaotic because you have all the stars talking over each other and press asking questions. But that made it more fun because the stars were relaxed and easy. Here are some snippets of the press conference and lots of pictures.

I also have some video of Tom Hiddleston and Cate Blanchett talking about their characters!

Photo Credit: Tessa Smith / Mama's Geeky MamasGeeky.com

HOST: I want to start with Chris. Chris, what makes this Thor different from the others?

CHRIS HEMSWORTH: Taika Waititi, basically. I think we all had a, a vision, and an idea, and a want to do something vastly different than what we’d done before, and take it to a different place. And that meant 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. 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 fun we had.

HOST: And 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 to them about making this film, obviously I thought that Marvel had lost their minds, so they’re just hiring anyone now.

I came in, and I knew my strengths were just like 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 trying to remember their lines. It doesn’t matter the scale of the film - that’s always the same, you know. So, I just focused down on what I was used to, which was what’s in front of the camera.

Photo Credit: Tessa Smith / Mama's Geeky MamasGeeky.com

HOST: I’ll ask Kevin. People are invested in these franchises, and they love these characters. So what made Taika and everybody else here the right fit?

KEVIN FEIGE: Chris sort of said it. We wanted a new sensibility. We wanted to take Thor - and if you look at everything Chris has done as this character, there have been moments of humor - moments of humor throughout. And we wanted to build on that. And if you look at the movie, it’s got the epic action. It’s got Thor arguably more powerful than he’s ever been in any of the films, with his powers going up against the Hulk, but at the same time embracing what Mr. Hemsworth does better than anyone up until now has ever been able to see, which is his acting chops expands to comedy in an amazing way. And Taika giving them the confidence to explore that, and to try things. And most of that is in the movie, because it was on story, and yet at the same time expanded each of their characters.

Photo Credit - Drew Bennett / BenSpark Family Adventures - http://www.benspark.com/

HOST: You’ve worked with Taika before, Rachel, right?

RACHEL HOUSE: Yeah.

HOST: So what’s the difference between ‘big movie’ and ‘little movie’ like?

RACHEL HOUSE: Well, he’s a lot better dressed because usually we’re running around in the mud, and the snow, and the rain. It was wonderful to come in each day and see Taika in a suit, and Italian leather shoes. It’s been wonderful to see Taika so calmly and easily step into the helm of such a big, awesome film.


PRESS: Are you interested in all in doing a full Hulk movie? This is the first time we’ve seen the Hulk this much. And if so, what aspect of the character would be most interested in exploring?

MARK RUFFALO: I would love to do a Hulk movie, and I think we all would love to do one. But about a year ago, before I even had this part, or were talking about doing this - it was well over a year ago, Kevin had asked me to come over and have a script meeting. And basically he sat me down and he said, ‘What would you like to do if you had a stand-alone Hulk movie?’ And I said, ‘I’d like to do this, this, and this; and this and this - and then this. And then this, and this, and this, and then it would end like this.’ And he’s like, ‘I love that. Let’s do that over the next there movies, starting with Thor 3 and carry it on through Avengers 3 and Avengers 4.’ And so that’s my stand-alone Hulk movie.

KEVIN FEIGE: No, that’s exactly what happened. And it’s - someday, a stand-alone I think would be great, but for the time being, Hulk’s presence in these movies, and certainly now, as Mark has talked about, what we’re going to be able to do with his character arc over these three movies is super exciting.

Photo Credit - Drew Bennett / BenSpark Family Adventures - http://www.benspark.com/

PRESS: My question is for Tessa. First - how did it feel playing a character - did you have any pressure playing a character that was white in the comics, and bringing that character to life? Like, how did you feel about that?

TESSA THOMPSON: No, I didn’t feel any pressure with that specifically. You know, the things that I thought about the particulars of Valkyrie had more to do with, like mass and size. For example, I thought, like ‘Oh, I’m - I’m short,’ you know. Or like, ‘I’m not buff enough.’ Or how - you know, she’s arguably as strong as Thor. How do I stand, you know, next to a person like Chris Hemsworth and feel, and feel like that’s true. I didn’t think so much - I mean, satisfying Norse mythology, it’s mystifying, and fantastical, and glorious, and also very confusing and doesn’t make a lot of sense, you know.

And I remember someone online saying like, ‘You know, Tessa Thompson playing Valkyrie is white genocide. Which is just as mystifying as Norse mythology. I just figured like, you know, this thing that I’m tasked to do with any character that has its own iconography is to capture the spirit of the character, and I think the spirit of all of us, at the risk of sounding, you know, cheesy, has very little to do with what color we are. So I just didn’t really invest in that.

Photo Credit: Tessa Smith / Mama's Geeky MamasGeeky.com

PRESS: This question is for Jeff. You’ve been in so many iconic films - what was it like to come into the Marvel universe?

JEFF GOLDBLUM: Fantastic. I like the character, of course, and the opportunities in the character. Joining a group like this, a cast like this is a dream come true. Taika - working with Taika, that was my first, you know, connection point to the movie. We had a meeting, and hit it off, and he said what we were going to do, and improvise, and have fun. But then, you know, Kevin Feige and Louis D’Espesito, and Victoria Alonso, and Brad Winderbaum - the whole upper tier of creative leaders, do something unique. They know how to make these epic productions, and popular movies, but they want to make good movies. And they somehow uniquely know how to do them, that feels to me like an actorly, workshop-y, character-y, improvisatory, delightful experience - and make a movie that I think skins the cat like this is just - I’m grateful, overwhelmingly grateful.


PRESS: So how was it fighting with Chris?

CATE BLANCHETT: I didn’t do enough of it. I, I kept wanting to do more.

CHRIS HEMSWORTH: You wanted to hit me.

CATE BLANCHETT: It was hugely enjoyable for me. And apart from working with these guys, obviously, the chance to finally, in my deep middle age, to get fit, and to wear that much lycra was really exciting for me.

But I worked with Chris’ trainer, Zahki for 20 minutes a day, which doesn’t sound like much, but my god, it was intense. And Zoey Bell who is, I mean, an extraordinary actress in her own right, and director in her own right, but she was my - blessed every day with the fact that she was my stunt double, because when I started, I had to manifest these weapons out of my - I’m not spoiling anything by saying that. I had to - well, I manifest weapons, and I had to throw them, and I could see Taika’s disappointment as I threw it, I said, ‘Ha.’ And I had to stop making the noises, because I’d go, ‘Ha.’ And so I had to close my mouth. And so eventually Zoey suggested that I put some sugar, which was deeply humiliating - sugar packets in my hand so at least I could throw something and be real. And then - yeah, so Zoey helped me with little things like that. She was a great action director. So I moved from the humiliating to the exhilarating in a matter of five days.

Photo Credit: Tessa Smith / Mama's Geeky MamasGeeky.com

PRESS: This question is for Chris, and Tom, and anyone else who wants to answer, regarding the Hulk and his dialogue. We hear a lot more dialogue now than we ever have before. Was is that like for you, like, hearing that, because it’s kind of like, childlike, almost in a way. We don’t really hear him talk a lot in other films.

CHRIS HEMSWORTH: I loved it. I think, this is my favorite version of the Hulk - is it two - ‘cause we actually got to act together, you know. 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, and fun that the character then embodies, that - I think it’s fantastic. I loved it.

MARK RUFFALO: I did, too.

TAIKA WAITITI: And that’s the kind of thing - like those relationships. And we’re also - I’m really happy about it in the film - is you know, I have the scene on the bed when you guys are making up after the argument.

CHRIS HEMSWORTH: Yeah.

TAIKA WAITITI: That - that shouldn’t exist, but it does, and it works. And that’s, you know, from - well, where I come from, that’s probably from where we all come from - that’s what, I think, grounds the film a little bit more for the audience, is going, ‘Yeah, that’s right. Superheroes do have to, you know, make up after arguments, as well, you know.’

Photo Credit: Play Party Plan

PRESS: Tessa, my question is for you. First of all, you did an amazing job in the film. Is there any chance that we could see maybe you doing a Valkyrie solo movie, where you’re maybe rebuilding the Valkyries, and starting from such scratch there? That was amazing.

KEVIN FEIGE: Pretty - pretty good idea.

TESSA THOMPSON: It’s a really good idea.

CHRIS HEMSWORTH: Very good idea.

TESSA THOMPSON: Yeah - you heard, you heard that first. Recently, I marched up with a couple other women that work in Marvel, and we were like, to Kevin, ‘What about a movie with some female superheroes - just like, all of them.’

KEVIN FEIGE: It was a pretty amazing moment to be somewhere and have your shoulder get tapped, and turn around, and every female hero we have was standing there going, ‘How about it?’

TESSA THOMPSON: But there’s a precedent for it in the comics, right, because there are teams like the Lady Liberators.

A post shared by Carolyn Gonzalez (@carogonza1) on

HOST: I want to ask Karl real quick about coming into this universe, and also - did you feel like - Cate talked about working out 20 minutes a day. Did you go ahead, and were you working out, and getting ready to stand up to that guy right there?

KARL URBAN: Yeah. The working out schedule was rather intense. In fact, Taika came to me and he said, ‘Listen, you need to tone it down. You can’t be bigger than Chris, okay?

I just had the most amazing time working on this film. And you know, building upon what Jeff said, I feel very blessed to be a part of this family, and to have had the opportunity to work with Taika, and for him to be so well supported by the team at Marvel, and for them to have the courage and the bravery to allow him to just do his thing.

And it was a real rarity. And you know, I really appreciated the environment that Taika created on the set. It was fun; it was focused. He would often play music. And there was nothing sacrilegious about a take. You know, he - quite often, you’d be in the middle of a take and he’d go, ‘Oh, try this, or try that.’ And it was just wonderful to - felt like everybody had your back, and we had - we had fun.

A post shared by Carolyn Gonzalez (@carogonza1) on


PRESS: What was the most difficult part of making this film for you? Like, was there anything that you struggled with?

TAIKA WAITITI: Well - were you going to ask what the most difficult part of making this film was?

PRESS: Well, compared to like, you know -

TAIKA WAITITI: My small films.

PRESS: Yeah.

TAIKA WAITITI: Yeah. It was really just like what to choose for lunch.

The main thing - so many options. It’s actually - it’s actually, like, actually keeping your energy up, creatively. Like, my shoots are very short, and I like to work super-fast. All my shoots, about 25 to eight days, and by - by day 30 on this, I was like, ‘Well, no more ideas. I’m done.’

And you know, you’ve got 55 more days. And so - so I had to like do some meditation, and like try and chill out, and just - just to kind of keep my - yeah, my creative energy - yeah, just keep it going throughout that whole length of time, ‘cause the - the amount of stress, or the exhaustion really does take its toll, and you don’t realize it’s happening until it’s too late, and then you can’t feel your legs.
Yeah, my favorite thing is shooting. I love being on set with people, and laughing, and having a great time, and being creative. Then you’re stuck in a dark room with one person, trying to, you know, make sense of this whole thing, you know, for almost a year. And - and then - so that’s a whole new journey of exhaustion. And then you can’t feel your arms after that.




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THOR: RAGNAROK opens in theaters everywhere November 3rd! 


1 comment:

  1. You got to see Jeff. Sorry, now I have to hate you because I'm jealous.

    ReplyDelete