Kenneth Branagh in talks to direct ‘Thor’
In a move that may be construed as either a gift from the Gods or the coming of Ragnarok itself, Variety has announced that Kenneth Branagh is in negotiations to direct Thor for Marvel Studios. Branagh’s previous directing and acting credits include Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing. He also starred as Gilderoy Lockart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
The trade reminds us that Branagh is joining a pantheon of well established directors such as Bryan Singer, Chris Nolan and Jon Favreau that have crossed from arthouse film to big studio projects. What they aren’t emphasizing nearly enough is that Branagh is a Shakespearean actor at his core, bringing the kind of gravitas that Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan lended to their roles in X-Men.
The movie has been written by Mark Protosevich basing it on the early Journey into Mystery stories by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby involving mortal doctor Donald Blake, who finds Mjolnir and trasnsforms into the god of Thunder. Other rumors peg Thor as an entirely mythology based film. Given that, can you imagine a Shakespeare inspired, all-out war between Norse gods? Verily, so can we!
Although no mention of whether Branagh will also star in the film, it’s a safe bet that he’ll step in front of the lens in some capacity, as he’s done several times before. It’d be a bit of a stretch to see Branagh wielding Mjolnir, but maybe he’ll step into the trickstery boots of Loki… assuming, that is, they aren’t going with the chick version. And hey, even if they are, we’ve certainly seen weirder.
Thor is the next in Marvel’s 10-picture deal with Paramount Pictures where the studio releases the films, giving Marvel Studios creative control as they self-fund from a $500 million credit line still secured by Merrill Lynch. The first film in the deal, Iron Man, proved the deal a smart move for Paramount. Also included among the ten pictures are Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, First Avenger: Captain America, Thor and Avengers.
The film is another building block to July 2011’s Avengers film so fans can expect Easter eggs and cameos.