‘Thor: The Dark World’: Anthony Hopkins on Marvel, Hiddleston, Odin

Nov. 13, 2013 | 3:34 p.m.
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Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Marvel)

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Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Sif (Jaimie Alexander), Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Marvel)

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Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), Ian Boothby (Jonathan Howard), and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Heimdall (Idris Elba) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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A Dark Elf, left, and Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Frigga (Rene Russo) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Marvel)

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Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and Ian the intern (Jonathan Howard) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Marvel)

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Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Heimdall (Idris Elba) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Marvel)

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Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Marvel)

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Kurse (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Marvel)

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Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Marvel)

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Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and Algrim (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Marvel)

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Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Marvel)

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Chris Hemsworth and director Alan Taylor on the set of "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Jaimie Alexander and director Alan Taylor on the set of "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Chris Hemsworth and director Alan Taylor on the set of "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Christopher Eccleston and Chris Hemsworth on the set of "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Christopher Eccleston and director Alan Taylor on the set of "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

As Odin, venerable actor Anthony Hopkins plays the father to two obstinate sons and the whole of the Nine Realms in “Thor: The Dark World,” the latest Marvel sequel to score at the box office — the movie raked in $86.1 million domestically in its opening weekend, and that was after an impressive overseas debut.

Hero Complex chatted this week with Hopkins to get his take on the Marvel universe, his experiences working with Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddleston as Loki and to ascertain what the future might hold for Odin — though, on that last point, Hopkins conceded that he might not have all the answers.

Hero Complex: You were spotted with Stan Lee at the Hollywood premiere for “Thor: The Dark World.” What did you think of the film?

Anthony Hopkins: It’s a terrific movie, action-packed, full of digital effects, extraordinary, great cast, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston and Natalie Portman. I was very happy to be there.

HC: How about that fellow playing Odin?

AH: The old guy? Yeah, he’s not bad. He’s a Welsh actor, I think. I can’t remember his name.

Anthony Hopkins and Stan Lee attend Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World" premiere. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / WireImage)

Anthony Hopkins and Stan Lee attend Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” premiere. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / WireImage)

I tell you what’s good about it, to be part of this kind of franchise, if that’s what you want to call it, this kind of movie – you know, I come from a whole different generation, the only comics I knew about in the postwar years, that’s how far I go back, was “Captain Marvel.” But it’s great to be part of it because it’s obviously targeted to the youth audience, a younger audience, and I gather it made $115 million in Europe in one week. To work with actors like Chris and Tom Hiddleston and Natalie Portman is pretty terrific.

HC: Do you approach the Marvel movies any differently than your other projects?

AH: To be quite honest, somebody misquoted me the other day, said that I never read the scripts. Well, that’s not true. But basically I’m not really interested in Nordic mythology, which is so complicated, so I leave that to the experts, the guys who make these comic books. I take in the information that I need for the part of Odin, I get a general idea of it and just go along accordingly. They dress me in all the armor. The only thing I do with the director, if they say, “We need the line to be done this way,” I say, “Well, let me just speak the line so at least it sounds real.” Some of the language is a little bit Shakespeare and I’ll admit overblown, which is fine, that’s the way it is, but I try to make it much more matter of fact. I want to make it comfortable for myself to speak it instead of grand language. I’m not a fan of that kind of grand, Shakespeare language.

HC: Is it uncomfortable to be dressed in Asgardian armor? How do you find the costume?

AH: It’s pretty good, I just have to be careful when I wear that eye patch. I lose three dimensional vision so I can walk into walls. There’s no problem at all. It’s a pretty simple process, I show up on the set and they say, “Will you stand there and do this and do that” and I’ll say OK and off we go. I keep it very simple. I try not to take it all too seriously.

HC: You came to the first film through director Kenneth Branagh. How did you find working with a new director, Alan Taylor, on this latest film?

AH: Ken Branagh’s one of the best directors I think I’ve worked with. He has a big theatrical background and all that. He’s a great actor. Alan has done all these remarkable [television shows], “Game of Thrones,” so he knows his way around all those visual effects. I think Alan is very, very good at what he does. When you’re working with a big conglomerate like Marvel, now Disney, I think Ken must have felt it as well, there’s a pressure on you. There’s a weight on your shoulders because — I mean this in the best way – there’s a committee of people there who are obviously like Kevin Feige, who’s the real genius behind it, who know how to market it, how to put it out there. For example we finished the film in Europe last year. Barely three months ago I was asked if I would go in and do some extra fill-ins. I thought they just meant do a couple of little lines here and there. [These were] two whole new scenes. The scene with Loki where I banish him to the dungeons, that was completely new. In the original film, I didn’t even have a scene with him. The scene at the end was also an added scene.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) in a scene from “Thor: The Dark World.” (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

I think what they do — and this is no skin off the director’s nose — I think they look at it and think, “OK so now how can we round this out?” Obviously there’s so much money invested in these projects that they can’t actually think, “Well, we’d better release it as it is.” They study it and they’ve got a lot of experts around, and I think they think, “I think we need to add this and this.”

HC: Tom Hiddleston said he sometimes feels that the two of you are performing “King Lear” in the sky.

AH: I think he’s a great actor. The connection we sort of have is through Kenneth Branagh. Although I’d never met Branagh before, Tom had, he has a close friendship with Kenneth Branagh and he worked on the stage with him. I think he’s an incredible actor. He’s a brilliant man, you know. I think to be a great actor like him you have to be pretty smart, you have to know your stuff, you have to have a good penetrating mind and I think that’s what he’s got. He’s certainly a very decent nice guy to work with. I noticed when we did “Thor,” when I banish Thor, my son, there’s a shot of Tom Hiddleston hedging his bets. He’s looking over to see which way is this going to go. You could see him plotting out his future just in a little tiny scene right then on the first “Thor.” He’s a great young actor. We got on very well together.

HC: Odin’s fate is left rather ambiguous at the end of the new film. What’s ahead for the Allfather?

AH: I’m not sure. He hasn’t physically died on screen, but I played him as a man who’s on his way out. I think they would have to explain in “Thor 3,” if there is one, what happens to Odin. Or maybe it’ll just be a story line, maybe he went to Tahiti or something for a holiday. I don’t know.

– Gina McIntyre | @LATHeroComplex

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