DAYS OF THUNDER: We’re counting down to the May 6 release of “Thor” with a month of on-the-set reports, exclusive photos and interviews with the cast and crew of the first truly cosmic Marvel Studios film. Today: Kat Dennings.
In a film populated by noble warriors, blue frost giants, and dour government agents, Kat Dennings plays a sort of ambassador representing the popcorn nation of the young moviegoers who are the target audience for “Thor” when it opens May 7.
“My character is the one who says what the audience is thinking, she’s like ‘Wait, whaaaat’?” Dennings said with an appropriately dramatic flair. Sitting in her trailer during a break from shooting last year on the New Mexico set, she explained that her character, Darcy, is a college student who is “a helper gnome” to scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who finds herself in the middle of a cosmic conflict after Thor (Chris Hemsworth) lands on earth as an outcast from the majestic realm called Asgard.
It is Darcy who frets about her government-confiscated iPod, snaps photos of Thor to post on Facebook and moans that she is not especially eager to sacrifice her life for a three-credit college internship in Foster’s office. All of that makes the 24-year-old star of “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” the designated representative of contemporary youth in a film that spends a lot of its time with the formal and somewhat foreign voices of Asgard.
“For me, it’s a lot of fun to play the role and it’s a dream to play in a movie like this, a huge, huge epic,” the Philadelphia native said while kicking-back on a couch after filming an intense scene where a small desert town is leveled by massive automaton called the Destroyer. “I feel really lucky to be in this movie.”
Dennings’ role grew as the filming went along with Kenneth Branagh eager to inject a bit of humor into the thunderous melodrama and the red-headed actress said it was especially fun to be on the set with her pal, Portman.
“She’s a fascinating girl and we’ve been friends for a while,” Dennings said. “She didn’t know that I got the role and when I told her she was so excited. We get to spent tons of time together and of course [costar] Stellan Skarsgård, who is in all the same scenes as us, gets so sick of us being so girly all the time, the poor guy. She’s an amazing actress and you she’s got a great head on her shoulders.”
Dennings, still wearing one of wool hats favored by Darcy, said the head on her character’s shoulders is somewhat less impressive.
“She’s kind of like a cute, clueless, little puppy or maybe a hamster,” Dennings said. “There wasn’t much on the page for the Darcy role to begin with and I didn’t even see a script before I took the job so I didn’t really know who Darcy was at first. But she really evolved — she’s so much fun now even. She’s very Scooby-Doo if that makes sense. She’s always three steps behind and reacting to what’s happening with these great expressions. ‘Zoinks.’ She gets things wrong and doesn’t care. And she wears these hats. What could be better?”
— Geoff Boucher
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