Marvel presents Thor 4: “It’s hard to find a good villain” – Actus Ciné

In 2017, he created a surprise with “Thor: Ragnarok”. Three years later, he won an Oscar thanks to “Jojo Rabbit”. Today, Taika Waititi returns to Marvel with “Love and Thunder”, and we discuss it with him.

The very general public had discovered it with the very funny and thunderous Thor: Ragnarokwhich offered a new direction to the adventures of the Norse god played by Chris Hemsworth. Taika Waititi then went on to win an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay thanks to jojo rabbit, and here it is again today in the Marvel universe. With an ambitious sequel.

Inspired by comic books published since 2014, Thor – Love and Thunder orchestrated the return of Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), sick but decked out with the same powers as the hero. While a big bad person embodied by Christian Bale seems determined to kill all the deities who stand in his way. Five years after the surprise of Ragnarok and his first steps in the MCU, it’s time to confirm for Taika Waititi, who comes back with us on the challenges of this opus.

AlloCiné: What led you to these comic books in particular, to form the basis of the film’s story?

Taika Waititi : These are not very good stories. And they are short. I don’t want to read 400 comic books to find an idea: a good story is enough for me. And that of Gorr, the Butcher of the Gods, offered me a sympathetic villain, which is rare. And that’s the hardest part with these films: finding a good villain, and figuring out what he wants.

They still want to control the universe, take over the Earth, and we still see that often. But I love a good revenge story, and that’s what led me to him. As for Jane Foster/Mighty Thor, there’s a great story in Jason Aaron’s series that confronts the character with a dilemma: pick up the hammer or fight his cancer. You want to give the heroes deeper stories. Especially when it comes to the fourth Thor. Otherwise you risk repeating yourself.

Was it easy for you to convince Natalie Portman to come back? Because you were probably not able to start writing before having his agreement.

It’s true. So I told her about the project very early on, and I think what attracted her was this idea of ​​not being Thor’s girlfriend anymore, but of playing a bigger role in the story. And to be able to lift that hammer and become a superhero.

You want to give the heroes deeper stories. Especially when it comes to the fourth Thor. Otherwise you risk repeating yourself.

“Thor – Love and Thunder” tackles heavy subject matter that is rarely seen in Marvel movies. Was it difficult for you to find the right balance between these serious moments and your characteristic humor?

Most of my films mix a lot of things: there is comedy to bring people into the story, before delivering a more meaningful message. But it remains a challenge, which takes place mainly in post-production, during the editing, which lasted between ten and eleven months here, to manage to determine what the story was and find the right tone.

We tested him a lot, and he was sometimes too funny, sometimes too serious. Sometimes there were too many jokes and you didn’t really know what the characters were doing. You had to try a lot of things to find the right balance.

Does that mean you had to cut a lot of scenes? Several actors, such as Peter Dinklage and Jeff Goldblum, were said to have been cut during editing.

That’s true, but that’s the case with all movies, big or small. There’s always going to be someone who gets cut, and on bigger movies like this, sometimes it’s celebrities (laughs) But that’s okay: you shouldn’t put a scene in a film because there’s a famous person in it. What matters is that it benefits the film, and we always shoot more scenes than we need.

You box everything in the script, and ours was about 145 pages, which is very long. But I knew that the result couldn’t be so bad, so we tried to shoot everything, knowing that, in the second stage, certain things would disappear.

Marvel presents thor 4: "it's hard to find a good villain" - actus ciné
The Walt Disney Company France

Taika Waititi also plays Korg in the film

As in your previous films, the notion of family occupies an important place, and you even direct the children of Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman as well as your own. Would you say ‘Love and Thunder’ is more of a Taika Waititi movie than ‘Ragnarok’ was?

I think so. Because of the family element and the children, of course. And when I was hired for Ragnarok, I didn’t think it would become a Taika Waititi film: I just expected to learn how to make a big film and work with a studio, to achieve a result that wouldn’t be not entirely personal. But at the end of the process, I had the feeling that it was indeed one of my films. And that’s even more the case with this one.

The film is about mythology, legends. And for me it’s no coincidence that the story is told by your character: it’s also a way of talking about you as a narrator, isn’t it?

Exactly, although I hadn’t really thought about it. After completing Ragnarok, after its first screening, Chris, Kevin Feige, the rest of Marvel Studios and I had dinner together to discuss whether or not we were going to make another movie. And the idea of ​​Korg telling the story had been brought up. So he had been there for five years, and throughout the writing of the screenplay, he was the narrator.

Interview by Maximilien Pierrette in Paris on July 3, 2022

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