Thor: The Dark World - Alan Taylor and Kevin Feige interview
Interview by Rob Carnevale
DIRECTOR Alan Taylor and producer Kevin Feige talk about some of the challenges of bringing Thor: The Dark World to the big screen and maintaining the right balance between the dark elements and the humour.
Kevin also discusses Marvel’s strategy for future films and TV programmes, while Alan addresses some of the pressure he faced making a film that had so much Internet interest. They were speaking at a UK press conference for the film…
Q. Marvel has used London a lot in their movies, so will you be coming back in the future? And what is about London that you like?
Kevin Feige: Well, it’s no secret that there is an enormous tax incentive that lures studios here – I don’t want to pretend that that is not the case! But what keeps us coming back are the amazing crews. We are starting our fourth film here next year in Shepperton and it really has been an amazing experience on all four of them.
Q. While this film is darker than the first, how important was it to find the right balance between the darkness and the humour?
Alan Taylor: I felt my first task was to darken the world and deepen it and dirty it up a little bit. And then as we got into the process, I thought: “If we’re going to darken it, if we’re going to deepen it and possibly kill off some characters that we love, then we better be darn sure there’s balance on the other side.” It’s key to the Marvel universe and Marvel language. I felt I was being assaulted while making this movie because The Avengers came out while we were starting it and Iron Man 3 came out while we were finishing it, so you were screwed if you don’t also keep it funny and light on its feet at the same. So, it’s called The Dark World and there are some dark currents in it, but the humour is critical.
Q. How as working with Stellan Skarsgard?
Alan Taylor: I can’t say enough great things about Stellan. The first thing that we shot was Stellan Skarsgard running around Stonehenge in just a thong. But he never even batted an eyelid. He found it hilarious and was always truthful in his performance.
Q. This is one of the shorter Marvel films so I was wondering what the editing process was like?
Alan Taylor: There are so many obligations on a movie like this. It has to be dark and emotionally engaging. It also has to be funny and constantly earn its entertainment value and part of that process is condensing and tightening and making it roll along as quickly as it can so that it is as fun a ride as it can be. So, naturally some things fall out that you wish didn’t fall out. Some things dear to my heart that I love… in fact, Chris Eccleston and I were talking about some things that we really savoured that had to fall away. I’d be really grateful if some of those appear on a DVD or Blu-ray at some point.
Kevin Feige: I think there’s about 10 or 12 minutes of footage on the Blu-ray.
Alan Taylor: That’s fantastic. There was some rumour going around… and this was my first experience of making a movie while the Internet watches – I had a little bit of it when I was on Game of Thrones but nothing prepared me for this. There was a rumour about a running time argument. And it was funny because I don’t think anybody that I knew – my editors, you [Kevin Feige], me – I don’t even know how long the movie was. There was never a ‘running time’ issue. It was always: “How can we make it better, funnier, more effective, how can it land harder?” So, in that process some of my children had to get murdered and put on the floor, but I’m sure they’ll have an after-life [laughs].
Q. The Marvel universe is getting more fantastic and more out there, so I was wondering how you went about keeping it grounded?
Kevin Feige: Humour was definitely the key. We have got spaceships in this movie and other planets in this movie, and yet we found that humour was an amazing way for the audience to just embrace and accept all those worlds, craziness and costumes. It has worked well for us going back to the first Iron Man film.
Q. Marvel movies have enjoyed some huge successes and it seems that you do have a really good strategy – not just on the big screen but on television as well. How far are you looking ahead and how co-ordinated is it?
Kevin Feige: For the most part it is. We are a very tight knit group as a studio and so all of the movies are very, very co-ordinated. We have announced films through to the end of 2015 but we are planning as far out as 2017 – sometime next year we will be announcing what those films are. The TV division is up and running now and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is their first series. I know that they would like to bring more to the TV screen. I am not sure what and when that will be. In terms of S.H.I.E.L.D., yes, they go key off what is happening in the movies, and occasionally check in with us and go: “Would it be okay if we played with this?” So, it is quite co-ordinated but we are such a small group that it doesn’t feel like an overwhelming task. We just have a heck of a lot of fun.