If you watch a good amount of television that means you’re probably familiar with director Alan Taylor’s work. Working on the small screen since the early 1990s, Taylor has helmed episodes of some of the greatest shows in modern TV, including Mad Men, The Sopranos, The West Wing and Law & Order. But of all of those jobs, it was his specific work on one series that inspired him to take on the upcoming Thor: The Dark World: his time on the hit Game of Thrones.
Late last year myself and a small group of other film journalists flew out to London, England where we had the chance to visit the set of the upcoming Marvel movie and talk with Taylor about his work on the movie. Read on to find out not only how Game of Thrones led to the Thor sequel, but also how 3D is affecting the production, how Malekith and the Dark Elves came to be the film’s villain and much more.
It looks like the movie you’re making here looks like it has some distinct differences from Kenneth Branagh’s film. Was that almost like a pilot for this one?
Yeah. And it's funny you used the word "pilot." I've spent a lot of time in television, and, I'm a recovering TV director or whatever, but a lot of the television experience has applied well here because there is an episodic quality to it. It's volume two of something that's already been established. Like in television I try and put my stamp on what's already been established, and see what I can do to give it my sensibility a little bit. The Ken movie was very successful. He brought together an amazing cast and focused what could be a huge rambling mythology on varying intimate family relations - brother versus brother, father and son… that was all brilliant.
The only qualm I had with his movie was the look of it. To me it felt too shiny and too brand new. And I understand all the choices. It's basically because the Asgardians, they were very much a futuristic alien race that we mistook for gods. And when I came in, I was in love with the Norse mythology. I was in love with sort of grounding it more into kind of a Viking or medieval look and a sort of a sense of history and weight and stuff like that.
So, Marvel seemed to have some interest in that as well, so coming off Game of Thrones where we sort of enjoyed combining fantasy with some sense of three-dimensionality and real life, that's what I tried to bring in here. It's a funny balancing act because you have to be funny in the way that Marvel's funny, and you have to be true to some pretty absurd things. You guys saw elves in spaceships [Laughs]. But then to try to make that relatable and real and textured and rich and stuff. So, in Asgard, for example, we're seeing the back streets of Asgard rather than the shiny, golden palace, and we go into some shiny palace rooms, but we tend to blow them up this time.
And on Earth, it's London. Trying to capture contemporary London. So, ideally, you'll have all the pleasures of something that feels real, but also all of the joys that go with a Marvel movie. We'll see whether we're pulling off this combination or not.