A minute with: Kenneth Branagh about "Thor"

Wed May 4, 2011 11:21am EDT
 
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By Edwin Chan

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British actor and director Kenneth Branagh is best known for his deft handling of Shakespearean material.

So the choice of Branagh to direct the hotly-anticipated comic book movie "Thor," which makes it U.S. debut on Friday, came as something of a surprise.

Branagh, 50, spoke to Reuters about why he was drawn to the project and the pressures of working on a big budget Hollywood movie.

Q: What possessed you to direct "Thor"?

A: "The surprise of it was a big factor. Its immensity, the degree of difficulty, which I thought would be massive (and because) the challenge would take me out of my comfort zone ... This immense figure in epic landscapes and mountains, and men with horned helmets and this wild, unpredictable quality which I loved because superheroes can sometimes be terribly smooth. The fact that Thor is a God, and an unrestrained God -- that kind of unpredictability and danger, I thought would be unusual and maybe distinctive."

Q: The pressure must have been immense. Obviously you had tight control over your previous films. With this I imagine there was a lot of studio interference, a lot of commentary.

A: "Let's call it collaboration. They have this unique cinematic plan to interweave these characters and these stories into 'The Avengers' (movie) next year. I knew what I was getting into. The impression I had was they want a strong point of view. They would argue with me and they would strongly produce me ... But they wanted a director. They didn't want just a shooter -- someone to come in and walk away and leave it to them."

Q: They wanted to make sure it made money -- it being a $150 million budget and all?   Continued...

 
<p>Kenneth Branagh, director of the movie "Thor," poses for a portrait in Los Angeles May 1, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>