Thor Ragnarok - Cate Blanchett: "Sometimes I felt like I was in a video game"

Thor Ragnarok – Cate Blanchett: “Sometimes I felt like I was in a video game”

Confessions on the set of Taika Waititi’s first Marvel film. See you again this evening on TF1.

Natalie Portman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hugo Weaving, Glenn Close, Jeff Bridges, Mads Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams, Robert Redford… Should we stop there? With Thor: RagnarokCate Blanchett joined the long list of great actors and actresses who populate Marvel Studios films in October 2017.

A year before its cinema release, in the company of a few other colleagues, First was able to meet on set the woman who plays Hela, the goddess of death in Taika Waititi’s film. Flashback, while waiting to (re)see this superheroic comedy on TF1.

On the set of Thor Ragnarok: “Hulk is a killing machine”

What was an Oscar winner like you looking for in a Marvel Studios film?
Cate Blanchett: As I have worked a lot in the theater, I have a certain sense of events. And all these films are events, I find that very exciting. What specifically appeals to Marvel is this irony. They take themselves seriously and at the same time there is a lot of self-deprecation. A slightly irreverent energy. It’s subversive, in my opinion. Finally… Potentially.

But what attracted you beyond that? The action ?
Damn, I loved that. I really loved that. It was fantastic, because sometimes I was so disconnected from what I was doing that I felt like I was in a video game. I took the action as a way to say more about the character, to go beyond simple movement. When you kiss someone on screen, there are a million ways to do it. And I discovered that there are a million ways to punch someone (laughter).

And so here you are, the first villainess of the Marvel Universe.
In fact, that had never happened. Finally a villain! I was very excited when Kevin Feige (editor’s note: the boss of Marvel Studios) pitched the film to me, I immediately felt that there was the potential to do something new. Hela is not known to the general public and this was the opportunity to invent her in the cinema. It’s even more awesome because Taika Waititi is the director. A real funny guy, but also a very irreverent guy. In a film like this, there is obviously a storyline that leads the way, but also a lot of time for the characters between each “big” moment. When we work with Taika and play a villain, we can play on lots of nuances. There was a very mischievous atmosphere on the set. Taika impressed me: it seems like he doesn’t feel any pressure despite the enormous stakes.

Is it surprising to you that Marvel is just starting to offer this kind of role to a woman?
I developed my imagination around male heroes and anti-heroes. But eventually, if it’s the only option, we start to get bored, boys and girls alike. If there are women and men, that means a lot more dramatic potential.

Have you read about comics and Nordic mythology?
Not so much Norse mythology but I immersed myself in comics. I am an actress who needs a visual reference to embody a character, no matter the role. My kids have DC and Marvel anthologies, with the backstories of the characters, between the 30s, 40s, 50s… We see superheroes evolve, like when Captain America acquires the ability to resist the effects of alcohol (laughing) .

Did you have any say in the visual appearance of Hela?
I knew there was a lot of wiggle room. The illustrators all had their own ideas of what it should look like. There were a few versions of Hela where she didn’t wear much… We were definitely on the Playboy side, there! With the makeup artist, we talked at length with people about special effects to find “our” Hela.

How did you approach motion capture?
I had already done some in the past. Andy Serkis was an extraordinary pioneer of this technology, his performance is still visible between the CG images. Some people talk about special effects and visuals as if they are separate from acting. But in fact it’s exactly like collaborating with a stunt double on action scenes. The goal is to create a character. It’s an ongoing discussion with the special effects people: sometimes I do something that inspires them, and sometimes it’s the other way around. It’s very collaborative. Gone are the days when we played against a tennis ball on a blue background. The process has evolved a lot and Taika insists on keeping things as realistic as possible. I don’t need to pretend, it’s all there, in the decor. It’s the perfect synthesis between what you can see and what the director imagines. A hybrid thing.

Trailer :

Thor Ragnarok: Fun Above All (Review)

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