This experience was all thanks to Marvel Studios and Disney, but the opinions are 100% my own.
I have always thought it would be really cool to attend to press junket with the cast of a film. A couple of weeks ago in LA, I was able to attend my first one – and for Thor: Ragnarok of all movies! On stage was HUGE talent – Taika Waititi, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum, Rachel House, and Kevin Feige. It was pretty surreal to be in the same room as them, and to be able to chat with them about their new film. This is a long one guys, and I even cut out a lot. Hope you enjoy it!
What Makes This Thor Different
The host of the panel started the press junket off by asking Chris Hemsworth what makes this Thor so different from the others. He immediately answered with “Taika Waititi.” I pretty much have to agree with that. I am so glad that Taika took on the role as director for this film, because he made it what it is – which is incredible. Chris continued on, “I think we all had a vision, and an idea, and a want to do something vastly different than what we’d done before. To take it to a different place. That meant doing away with what we knew and reinventing it. It all came from [Taika’s] crazy, wonderful brain, and his inspiration, and him pushing us every day on set. [He was] 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.”
The Right Fit
Kevin Feige, the President of Marvel Studios, was asked what made Taika and everyone else on the stage a good fit. “If you look at everything Chris has done as this character, there have been moments of humor throughout [the other films]. We wanted to build on that. 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 – his acting expands to comedy way. And Taika giving them the confidence to explore that, and to try things. Most of that is in the movie, because it was on story, and yet at the same time expanded each of their characters.”
Will We See A Hulk Solo Film?
Someone asked Mark Ruffalo a question that I am pretty sure everyone was thinking – will we see a Hulk solo film? We wanted to know if it was something that he would be interested in. His response made me chuckle, but also a little bit sad. “I would love to do a Hulk movie. Over a year ago, Kevin asked me to come over and have a script meeting. 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. Then it would end like this.’ And he’s like, ‘I love that. Let’s do that over the next three movies, starting with Thor 3 and carry it on through Avengers 3 and Avengers 4.’ So that’s my stand-alone Hulk movie.”
Kevin added, “That’s exactly what happened. Someday, a stand-alone would be great. But for the time being, Hulk’s presence in these movies, and what we’re going to be able to do with his character arc over these three movies is super exciting.”
Tessa on Playing Valkyrie
As you may or may not know, Valkyrie is a big part of the Thor comic books. In the comics, as well as Norse mythology, she is white. Someone asked Tessa if there was any pressure playing a character who is white, since she is not. “No, I didn’t feel any pressure with that specifically. The things that I thought about [were] the particulars of Valkyrie – like mass and size. I thought ‘I’m short,’ or ‘I’m not buff enough.’ She’s arguably as strong as Thor – how do I stand next to a person like Chris Hemsworth and feel like that’s true. Norse mythology [is] mystifying, and fantastical, and glorious, and also very confusing and doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
“I remember someone online saying ‘Tessa Thompson playing Valkyrie is white genocide.’ Which is just as mystifying as Norse mythology. This thing that I’m tasked to do is to capture the spirit of the character, and I think the spirit of all of us has very little to do with what color we are. So I just didn’t really invest in that.”
Cate Blanchett Getting Into Character
One of my favorite parts of the press junket was when Cate Blanchett described becoming Hela on set. She admitted she struggled a bit with some of the battle scenes – and the way she solved it was pretty unique. “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. So I had to close my mouth. Eventually Zoe Bell (her stunt double) suggested that I put some sugar packets – which was deeply humiliating – in my hand so at least I could throw something and be real. Zoe helped me with little things like that. She was a great action director.”
All Female Marvel Movie
I am sure by now you have read that the ladies of Marvel have asked Kevin Feige for an all female Marvel film (yes please!!!). Tessa Thompson discussed this at the press event. “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.’ But there’s a precedent for it in the comics, right, because there are teams like the Lady Liberators…” Kevin told us his thoughts on what it was like to get that question. “It was a pretty amazing moment to be somewhere and have your shoulder get tapped, and turn around, and every female hero we have standing there going, ‘How about it?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’” He said yes guys! I hope that really happens because WOW, what an incredible film that would be!
Thor and Hulk Acting Together
In Thor: Ragnarok we see a lot of Hulk, versus the usual Bruce Banner until it is time to fight. I totally adored Hulk in this film, and Chris Hemsworth did too. “This is my favorite version of the Hulk because we actually got to act together. We’d only really fought one another on screen in the previous films. This time around, we got to improvise our way through it, and invent this chemistry that we hadn’t explored before. [We] built this new version of the Hulk, which was a little bit more articulate and vocal than he had been prior. There’s just so much more room for the humor and fun that the character embodies. I think it’s fantastic.”
Taika’s Favorite Music on Set
Probably the funniest part of the whole press conference was when someone asked about the music on set. Immediately Cate Blanchett said Taika liked to listen to Yo Gabba Gabba, and Taika stated it was a song called “Don’t Bite Your Friends”. I was taking a video at the time, so I was trying REALLY hard not to burst out laughing. Having two young girls who used to be obsessed with that show, I know the song well. As Taika explained, it helps kids learn not to bite their friends. I dare you not to laugh while watching the clip below.
— Tessa Smith (@MamasGeeky) October 11, 2017
Easter Eggs on Sakaar
Marvel films are known for throwing in lots of Easter Eggs that relate to other movies, as well as the comic books. In Sakaar there are a lot of trash piles, so we asked if there were any in there. Kevin Feige answered, “There might be some things in the trash piles. I mean, the biggest Easter eggs are on the side of the Sakaaran Palace. There are previous Grandmaster champions that we see – as one for Hulk is being constructed. Those are all Easter eggs for the deeper comic universe – that may or may not ever show up in the cinematic universe – but we thought it’d be fun to celebrate.”
Taika had to add some humor in to the situation – which he is great at doing. “In the trash pile, there is one Easter egg – an actual egg. It’s one of the small ones – well, it’s one of the tiny little chocolate ones, and it’s the wide shot.”
Hardest Part About Making A Marvel Film
When Taika was asked the hardest part about making a Marvel film, he stood up and pointed to all of the actors on the stage. The whole room was cracking up! Then he went on to explain, “It’s actually keeping your energy up, creatively. All my shoots [on independent films are] about 25 days, and by day 30 on this, I was like, ‘Well, no more ideas. I’m done.’ [But I had] 55 more days so I had to do some meditation – try and chill out – and keep my creative energy going. The amount of 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.”
He added, “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 make sense of this whole thing for almost a year. And that’s a whole new journey of exhaustion. Then you can’t feel your arms after that.”
Will Loki Ever Change?
Tom Hiddleston was asked if we will ever see Loki change. His initial response made us all chuckle, but then he got serious. “I did ask Taika if I could get a haircut, as well [as Thor]. But his answer was a quick, ‘No.’ It’s interesting. In a way this film is about the development of the relationship between Thor and Loki. Thor has evolved, and grown, and matured; and Loki is stuck in his struggles of the past. That’s the challenge for Loki in this – that he’s got to confront the fact that time is moving on, and people change. So I don’t know, we’ll see. There’s room to grow, and I’m still here. We’ll see where he goes next. I’m not going to spoil anything.”
After the press junket, Jeff Goldblum and Tessa Thompson were nice enough to stop and take a photo with me. It was my first time meeting another Tessa (lame to be excited about that, right?). Then Jeff told me how much he loved my Guardians of the Galaxy sleeve tattoo! I mean, validation for him is the icing on the cake, is it not? I must say, I think my first full on press conference was a success! We learned a lot about one of my favorite Marvel movies, and got to hear from the whole cast at once. It was totally fun to see them play off each other on stage.
A Few More Photos
There were a few more great photos that I took at the press conference that I just had to squeeze in here. So here you go, enjoy!
About Thor: Ragnarok
In Marvel Studios’ THOR: RAGNAROK, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization—at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!
Thor: Ragnarok Hits Theaters Nov. 3rd!
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The opinions expressed here are that of Mama’s Geeky only. While the products in this post were given complimentary (unless otherwise stated) for me to review, that does not alter my opinion of the product(s) mentioned. This post may contain sponsored links and affiliate links.