Speaking of Marvel projects and “Thor,”Variety says that Shakespearean thespian/director Kenneth Branagh is in talks to direct the Marvel property of “Thor,” the super hero Norse god.
Branagh is in negotiations, which mean it might be a done deal soon. So much for DJ Caruso, who said he had some brief talks about helming the film.
Branagh is best known for his renditions of Shakespearean plays into celluloid (“Henry V,” a laboriously long version of “Hamlet,” with a terrible bleach job), but hasn’t had even a minor hit in forever. Perhaps he can add some gravitas and profundity to the god from Asgard story and certainly this move can’t hurt his career unless he totally trainwrecks the picture.
Fanboys are probably cautious about this choice, since the most action Branagh has ever directed is when Leonato, Claudio and the Prince had a loud conversation in “Much Ado About Nothing” (all jokes aside, there was quite a bit of action in “Henry V,” which in actuality, a fantastic picture) Come hell or high water, “Thor” is due in 2010, according to Marvel’s schedule.
Much like Judd Apatow, entrusting indie directors to helm his comedies (the latest being David Gordon Green for “Pineapple Express”), Marvel has shown good faith asking arthouse directors to direct their properties (Gavin Hood of the South African arthouse picture, “Tsotsi,” is directing “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” afterall and Jon Favreau wasn’t exactly a household directing name when he first took “Iron Man”). The “Incredible Hulk” aside (which favored action over story), Marvel seems to be saying, if we give these films some heart and soul, the action and fantasy elements will sell themselves to the fanboys and some pathos will reach a larger audience (see “The Dark Knight” smash).
Could this be a comeback for Branagh? He’s already getting strong reviews for his turn in the upcoming WWII flick, “Valkyrie” starring Tom Cruise, and directed by Bryan Singer. PS, the current writer for the “Thor” Marvel comics book, J. Michael Straczynski says Branagh is a “perfect” choice.