meeting with the director of the new Marvel, Taika Waititi

On Wednesday 13 July, the long-awaited new Marvel success will hit theaters, Thor: Love and Thunder. Carried by the muscular interpretations of Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale and Natalie Portman, the film offers two hours of high-flying entertainment, between crazy jokes, Guns N ‘Roses hits, epic battles and a mix of delusional genres (serious topics along with schoolboy replicas) . Taika Waititi, the bubbly director of the movie Hollywood is tearing up, tells us more about the thunder god’s new com (s) adventure.

You may not know his last name (funny), but Taika Waititi is one of the names that matters in Hollywood so much that the prestigious New York Times has just painted his portrait. The 46-year-old New Zealander who instructed the new Thor is both a crazy filmmaker (Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok), an Oscar-winning screenwriter and magnetic actor (The suicide group, Free guy, Avengers: Endgame) and he should still be talked about a lot in the coming years. In fact, the one who shares her life with singer Rita Ora has been entrusted with the reins for the next Star wars but also an Apple TV + series and two Netflix projects around Roald Dahl. Not to mention his adaptation of a graphic novel by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius and a football comedy. Between two pharaonic concepts, the sought-after director told us during a French press conference behind the scenes about what looks to be one of the summer’s biggest film successes: Thor: Love and Thunder. A new Marvel movie where the god of thunder detects a galactic killer and falls in love and reveals his fragility under the muscle.

Number: You had already realized that Thor: Ragnarok in 2017. Would you go in the same direction – very humorous and silly – with this new one Thor ?
Taika Waititi : Yes, I wanted to keep the same tone that made the film so successful in 2017, but also back to what made the comic’s DNA, which is a very rich fairy tale. I wanted as many things in as possible Thor: Ragnarok because I did not know if I would instruct someone else. So when I knew I was going to make a new Thor, I needed new ideas. Then I immersed myself again, with the film crew, in comics, and I discovered the character of “The Butcher of the Gods”, Gorr, played by Christian Bale as well as the story of Jane Foster’s (Natalie Portman) return, ingenious scientist and former girlfriend of Thor.

There are many influences in this film that draw as much on silly comedy as on expressionism with the character of the villain: Gorr … But it is also a tribute to old films using black and white …
In fact, the black and white sequences are inspired by Truffaut. I wished the viewers in the middle of the movie, after seeing lots of colors, would be amazed by the black-and-white scenes. Some comics like City of Sins sublime use of black and white. It was a way to bring something new and very graphic to the saga.

And where does the “romantic comedy” aspect of the film come from?

Of my desire to bring a very human aspect, with which one could identify, to Thor’s character. He is a god who has lived for many years, who has a lot of experience and is therefore far from ordinary mortals. It’s hard to identify with him. That’s why I brought this concept of the midlife crisis he’s going through into the film. He feels lost and no longer has a goal at the beginning of the film. These are states of mind that we do not imagine, a priori, in such a strong superhero. The idea was to test his muscles and his heart. We asked ourselves:If love came, what would happen to him?“As for the comedy register, I would like to point out that we often underestimate this genre, which we sometimes see as a diminished kind of cinema. But making a comedy is harder than making a drama. Harder to make people laugh and test the jokes and tone of a comedy than to know if a drama will work.

How did Chris Hemsworth physically prepare to take on the role of Thor?
He spent over six months getting as powerful as possible for this film. It is also the feature film he played in where he is strongest. There is nothing “digital” added to his body. And it was worth it, as a certain scene in the film shows (Chris Hemsworth appears naked in the feature film, ed.).

How did you come up with the character Gorr, “The Butcher of the Gods”, played by Christian Bale?
We were inspired by the comics Thorbut also clips from Chris Cunningham, including the video made for the single Come to Dad by Aphex Twin (1997), to elaborate on the character of the butcher of the gods. We wanted to make it very scary. But while we were making the movie, we sometimes thought it might be too scary for kids. He is a real monster, but Christian Bale manages through his talent to give him humanity. We do not agree on what he does, but we manage to understand why he does it (Gorr loses his daughter at the beginning of the film before turning to the gods).

How did you come up with the idea of ​​getting Russell Crowe to play the role of Zeus?
Russell has been my friend for a long time. And to cast him as Zeus seemed ridiculous and crazy enough to make sense. Her appearance in the film has similarities with her appearance in Gladiator, which makes the moment even more fun. Seeing him in this role was a special event for me because I think he is a huge actor.


Thor: Love and Thunder: Meeting with the director of the new Marvel, Taika Waititi

Natalie Portman had been missing from the Marvel universe for several years. How did you convince him to come back?
It was not that hard because we got her character, Jane Fosters, to be so much more than Thor’s boyfriend. Jane is not just the object of anyone’s love. She goes through very difficult things (she has cancer in the movie) with great strength. She is a superheroine who grabs the hero’s hammer and becomes the Mighty Thor. She can be a role model for many young girls who want to see the film and will be happy to discover more female superheroines (the film also features the very badass Tessa Thompson as fighter Valkyrie) as powerful, if not more, only men. And then I think Natalie Portman would also have fun fighting herself rather than watching men do it.

A group of children appear in the film and play an important role. Is this a way to reinstall the Marvel universe as something childish?
I thought it was important to remember that superhero movies were also, if not above all, for kids. Movies in general, including superhero movies, are getting more and more serious. We first think of the adult audience, and sometimes we forget that they should first be made for children. It should remain a movie for the whole family. Whether it’s Marvels or Star wars, I feel that children’s audiences are sometimes pushed so far aside that my children ask me if they can see them. It’s crazy that they’re asking me if it’s possible to see a Marvel. So I wanted to have kids in this movie, on screen and also as spectators. We also see monsters in Thor drawn by children. When I was a kid, I watched movies like ET, the extra-terrestrial (1982), which were made for kids and adults, but especially for kids. And I thought that was fantastic.

One of the kids is a fan of Axl Rose in the movie, and we hear the band Guns N ‘Roses several times. Where does this obsession come from?
I’m a huge metal fan. I wanted this movie to be a tribute to 80s rock, and more specifically to hard rock images. I grew up listening to Metallica, rock, metal. I even recorded an album as a musician. It’s always cool as a culture, so that was a way to please, I admit.

Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) by Taika Waititi, in theaters July 13th.

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