Spoiler Alert: Thor: The Dark World has about 45 minutes of exposition to it, which is troublesome I would imagine for a sequel, given how much we already know about the character and that universe. I’m not the only one who finds that amount of exposition — something of a Marvel movie trademark, at this point — troubling. The director, Alan Taylor — who has directed several famous television episodes, including the Ned Stark episode of Game of Thrones and the Mad Men pilot — isn’t pleased with it, either, as he explains to HuffPo’s Mike Ryan, who — as always — manages to elicit the most candid answers out of his interview subjects.
There’s a lot of exposition at the beginning. But after about 45 minutes, it really comes together.
Yeah, I think that is sort of the structure that was found in post. The early versions of the movie that I have tremendous affection for, there was a lot less exposition up front. And it was sort of… kind of discovered it along the way — and the decision was made. It’s a common dynamic, I think, to sort of front-load everything you need to know so that, precisely, the audience can sort of relax and have fun for the latter part. That was sort of the tug-of-war during post.
Did you prefer the other version without as much exposition?
I think my impulse is always to sort of trust the audience and to not feed it too directly. But, obviously, there’s a very successful model for these things that seems to work very well. So, who am I to quibble?
That’s a strange response from a director who is still in the midst of promoting a movie that has not yet come out, though it is refreshing, and given the juggernaut status of the Marvel movies, not likely to hurt its box office.
This answer, which contains SERIOUS SPOILERS, NO REALLY, I’M NOT KIDDING, may, however, put a tiny, tiny dent in the box office simply because it gives too much away (the spoilers, by the way, are not just for Thor, but for Deadwood, The Sopranos, and Rome).
You mentioned death scenes. You have filmed a lot of famous death scenes.
That’s funny. I got lucky for a while. After we killed Christopher Moltisanti in “The Sopranos” (that is my favorite death scene, where Tony has a car crash and he kills his own cousin just by pinching his nostrils shut); after doing that, I looked back and I realized that I killed Caesar on “Rome” and Wild Bill Hickok on “Deadwood” and Ned Stark on “Game of Thrones,” and I felt like my job was executioner or something. The episode, major things were happening in them and major emotional events are taking place and the scale of the storytelling is really satisfying. And in this one, we got to kill, or sort of kill, two major characters. And that, I think, is part of the darkening of the movie from the first one — that we were taking on things like that. The idea, in my mind, is that Thor is a character who continues to grow and he’s not just a static superhero and, in the first film, he went from being an impetuous prince to being somebody who is more responsible. And, in our film, he continued to grow up and went through the darker phase of growing up where you start to realize the world is more complicated than you thought and what you wanted might not be what you really want. In my mind, when we started calling it “The Dark World,” it wasn’t just elves — it was adulthood [that] is the Dark World. And that’s what he’s growing into and part of that was losing people he loved.
There is also a middle-credits scene in Thor and an end credits scene, one of which was directed by Taylor, and one of which was not. Guess which one he likes? And which one he is happy to assign credit/blame elsewhere?
You’ll have to read the full, refreshingly candid interview to find out.