After Taika Waititi took over the Thor franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe saw the arrival of a new voice, one that brought quirk and humour to its world. After wowing critics and audiences alike with Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Taika returns to MCU with his next Thor film, Love and Thunder. Regarding his motivation to return, Taika says. “Chris Hemsworth and I loved working together, and after Ragnarok, we always knew we wanted to do something else.”
The seeds of this film were sowed on the opening night of Ragnarok, Taika explains. “We were at a big dinner with Kevin Feige. Chris and I pitched an idea to him that if we would do another film, it would open with a whole montage of Thor’s life and past exploits, narrated by Korg. From there, it just took off, and once we began working with Brad Winderbaum, the executive producer on Ragnarok, it became a bigger story.”
Chris Hemsworth, who returns with the titular role, refers to Taika as a “big kid, a sort of genius child”, and says that the friendship they forged over the years allows them to call each other out when working together. “His imagination is second to none. He is fascinated by new ideas and throws himself into something that makes him laugh. There is never a dull moment, and I just love working with him.”
Love and Thunder see the return of Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and brings back Natalie Portman to the universe as well. Just like Hemsworth, Thompson has the best things to say about working with a maverick like Waititi. “I had never worked with someone that works the way Taika does — with such freedom and abandon.” This is a sentiment shared by Portman, who has worked with Waititi for the first time in Thor: Love and Thunder. “He’s entertaining on and off-camera.
He’s the life of the party. It’s such energy and he keeps everything silly and fun,” says Portman, who being a filmmaker herself talks about how Waititi’s nature is unmistakably unique. “It’s such an enormous job to direct a movie on a scale like this, but he really keeps the energy flowing in a creative and fun way.” Delving deep into the psyche of her director, Portman says, “He is really good at reflecting the reality of life. Taika really knows how important the silly is when the world is falling down. It’s a dangerous and difficult balancing act, but somehow, Taika manages it in an extraordinary way.”
Responding to all the love from his cast members, Waititi shares that the feeling is mutual, and that the best response the team hopes for is a positive reaction from the audience. “I really feel like we doubled down on this film and made it funnier and even more enjoyable for audiences, with more worlds and cooler characters,” said Waititi.
One of the cooler, scarier characters to make an entry into the MCU is Gorr, the God Butcher, played by Christian Bale. Heaping praise on his director, Bale says, “It was a real joy to play this crazy, wonderful character with the cartload of talent that Taika attracted. He’s a guy who is able to do the most fantastic comedy and really gets soul into his films as well.”
True to his name, Gorr, the God Butcher, kills Gods in the movie, and he will be seen going on a rampage across the cosmos. His weapon of choice, the All-Black Necrosword, is an all-powerful weapon that not even Thanos possessed. Bale’s performance apparently left some of the cast members of Love and Thunder shaken. “All of us were a little scared in Gorr’s presence,” says Portman. “Christian as Gorr was mesmerising. He does that thing that Marvel villains do so well, which is that you see their villainy comes from pain, from some unprocessed trauma,” says Thompson.
Gorr battles against Thor, and Hemsworth, who is working with Bale for the first time, talks about how it’s hard to take their eyes off Bale’s performance. “The character is fascinating because, like all good villains, Gorr has a point. He may not be going about it the right way, but there’s empathy in the script, and Christian brought so many more layers and depth to Gorr.”
For Bale, who played a superhero in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, the decision to play a villain in the MCU might not have been easy. However, Bale has an easy response: “This is really the only film that my entire family said I must do.”Thor: Love and Thunder is set for release in India on Thursday, July 7, and it will be screened across several languages including English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, and Malayalam.