10 Things We Learned From The ‘Thor: Love And Thunder’ Press Conference

Dance sequences, angsty enchanted weapons, and the on set soundtrack are all topics on the table at a press conference to promote the latest entry in the multibillion-dollar Marvel movie franchise Thor: Love and Thunder.

It’s the character’s fourth standalone movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and sees the Norse god facing off with Bale’s maleficent Gorr the God Butcher and reuniting with Portman’s Jane Foster, who becomes Mighty Thor, and Thompson’s Valkyrie.

Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, writer/director and the voice of Korg in the movie, Taika Waititi, and producer Kevin Feige assembled in Los Angeles to discuss the film in front of a bunch of handpicked journalists.

Here are a few of the highlights.

Why Chris Hemsworth is a key reason for Thor getting a fourth film

Kevin Feige: (Audiences) respond to Chris Hemsworth, and I think they respond to everything he can do. Taika certainly brought another dimension that was always there within Chris. There were moments, even going back to EPK interviews between the two of them on our New Mexico set, where I was like, ‘Is he trying to be funny? He is being funny, and he’s hilarious.’ I saw a clip from Avengers: Age of Ultron the other day where he’s trying to make a Mark Ruffalo feel better about smashing a bunch of people, and it’s so funny. There is this expert timing. Taika was like, ‘What are you guys doing with him? He’s just holding a hammer up, and there’s lightning. Let’s do that and tap into everything Chris can do.’ For so long, we said, ‘Well, he’s a Norse god; how do we make him relatable?’ and spent so much time making sure that the audience connected with them that they are so with them now that we could go to a part four

Taika Waititi: When you meet Chris, it’s very hard to figure out how to make him relatable. That was the big challenge (laughs). I’ve become friends with Chris, and I think as a personality and his energy and who he is, he is the kind of person I’d want to be on an adventure with. He’s someone who you can trust will be there and look after you like a real-life hero. I wanted to tap into those qualities that he’s got and make Thor more Chris.

Chris Hemsworth: It’s really not acting. It’s a documentary.

Natalie Portman on donning the Mighty Thor costume for the first time

Natalie Portman: It was pretty wild after seeing Chris wear the costume for so many years and then to try the version on myself and getting fitted for all the arm cuffs, the boots, and everything. It was pretty surreal for the first time. I was especially grateful to everyone’s imagination for casting a five-foot-three actress in a six-foot role. I think that takes a real leap of possibility in your mind and probably not something I will get the opportunity to do or to be imagined as by any other group. Tessa and Chris obviously had a lot of experience in that world.

Christian Bale on playing Gorr the God Butcher

Christian Bale: You were talking about what everyone was looking for in Chris (as Thor). I think in Gorr, they look for an actor who is the polar opposite. Someone not relatable, a bit of a loner, creepy, someone no one wants to be around, and nobody wants to see his arse, so I think they went, ‘Yeah, we found that in Bale.’ There’s a great pleasure in playing a villain. It’s a lot easier to play a villain than it is to play a hero. Chris had a much tougher job. Everyone is immediately fascinated with bad guys, and then the beauty of it is that Taika can make it bloody hilarious and really moving as well. I don’t know if it’s pushing it too much to say sympathy, but you maybe understand why this guy is making awful decisions. He is a monster, and he is a butcher, but there is possibly a little understanding of why he came to be that way.

Inside Thor: Love and Thunder‘s 80s soundtrack

Waititi: We just wanted to spend as much money as we possibly could on some songs. It’s been a dream of mine. The whole aesthetic around the film was that we always wanted it to be this bombastic, loud, colorful palette, which reflected spray-painted panel vans in the 80s and rock album covers. Even the title treatment for the film is the kind of thing I would have drawn on my schoolbook in class when I wasn’t listening. I remember spending months and months perfecting the Metallica logo. To tap into all that stuff, and Guns and Roses are one of my all-time favorite bands, and to use that stuff to reflect the crazy adventure we’re visually presenting was another one of my dreams that came true.

Breaking down a day on the set of Thor: Love and Thunder

Hemsworth: It’s different? A beautiful, mad chaos? It’s a journey of self-discovery and exploration and fun and wackiness. There’s music playing, and Taika’s standing behind the camera, giggling and ruining most of the takes.

Waititi: That sounds horrible.

Hemsworth: No, it’s the best. It’s free form; there’s a lot of improvisation but just an unrivaled passion. There was an enthusiasm that was infectious among everybody. Taika loves it. He loves the stories, these characters, and he’s sitting there as a fan would telling you what he’d want to see and what a family would want to see. He’d be like, ‘Hey, try this.’ No matter how ridiculous it is, everyone’s on board. This is why you get this spontaneity and unpredictable nature in any of Taika’s films.

Christian Bale: I’ve worked with a lot of directors who enjoy improvisation and whatnot. You do the script first, and then you see what else you can do beyond that. What I liked a lot is that emotion comes through the years, and he plays music on the set non-stop, which was fantastic. I’d arrive, and he’d be playing like Tubular Bells quite often. That was one of your favorites. There was a nice bit of Kate Bush, so thank you very much for that favorite, but I discovered Bruce Haack, who made his own synthesizers and had a very Gorr-like sensibility. He was a dude from the 70s. He would chuck that on as well, and it was very helpful, very funny, like comedy and tragedy hand in hand.

Christian Bale on rumors his character had a dance sequence cut from the final film

Bale: It was not cut. It was planned, talked about, perhaps only whispered between Taika and myself. Would we ever find half a day to be able to do a Gorr Dance? We’re both Kate Bush admirers and wondered just how bizarre (it could be). We didn’t actually do it. It stayed in our heads. I think we realized that this would probably never end up in the film.

Waititi: It was probably something we do on a weekend.

Natalie Portman on returning as Jane Foster, becoming Mighty Thor and being “just the chick” in the first Thor movie

Portman: Getting this opportunity was such an incredible way to explore a female superhero that could be quite vulnerable and weak, find strength in that and be more like a human I could relate to personally. Also, I think it just gave me renewed respect for what Chris has been doing for over a decade and Tess has been doing because I see how much work goes into it that I don’t think I was aware of. I was just like the chick in the first one. I didn’t see everything that went on behind the scenes, but when I got an insight into all the choreography, the training, and everything, I was like, ‘Wow, this is a triple job of what I was doing back then.’

Finding the balance between the drama and the comedy in Thor: Love and Thunder

Waititi: A lot of that was found in post. On set, we try and do as much as possible, and then it’s just harvesting moments, taking it back to the kitchen, and trying to figure out what the actual dish is. We’ve got a plan for making a particular dish, and then it could be very different by the time we finish cooking it. A lot of time, it’s testing a film and seeing what audiences respond to, and sometimes you’ve got to get rid of jokes or moments and elevate others. It’s a balancing act, which is why it takes a year to finish these films.

It’s complicated: Exploring the relationship between Thor and his weapons in Thor: Love and Thunder

Hemsworth: The ex-girlfriend turns up, dressed as him, and that’s a shock. All of a sudden, the weapon that he held so dear for so many years now belongs to someone else, and then he has Stonebreaker, and he starts to sense a little jealousy. That evolved through the film. I don’t think it was in the original script, but it was fun.

Waititi: I don’t know if this is how anyone else thought about it, but you’ve got to remember Stormbreaker’s handle is made of Groot’s arm. Groot was a teenager when he did that, so we felt like Stormbreaker was a young weapon born about five or six years ago, so it had to feel a little bit like an adolescent; it was going through changes and having mood swings.

Marvel Studios is headed back to Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con

Feige: We’ll be at Comic-Con next month, which we’re excited about. It’s the first time since we were on stage there three years ago talking about this movie and many others. Now I think almost everything, not everything but almost everything we discussed three years ago, has now been released. We’re excited to go and talk about the future.

Thor: Love and Thunder lands in theaters on Friday, July 8, 2022.

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