While many fans may point to 2022 as the year Marvel Studios’ use of CGI became over-the-top and self-indulgent, a recently resurfaced interview with Thor series star Anthony Hopkins shows that the studio’s favorite film making crutch has been an issue amongst their talent for quite some time.
Originally given to The New Yorker in 2021 and recently brought to widespread attention thanks to a recent in-depth exploration on “How the Marvel Cinematic Universe Swallowed Hollywood“, the interview in question saw the Odin actor reflecting on his lengthy career with the outlet’s Michael Schulman.
At one point during their discussion, Schulman recalled to Hopkins how “When you did the first Thor movie, ten years ago—you’ve now been in three—you said that you read the script and wrote on it ‘N.A.R.,’ for ‘No Acting Required,'” before proceeding to ask “What to you separates an N.A.R. role from an A.R. role? How do you know when there’s acting required?”
“I try to apply it to everything I do: no acting required,” replied the cinema legend. “On Thor, you have Chris Hemsworth—who looks like Thor—and a director like Kenneth Branagh, who is so certain of what he wants. They put me in armor; they shoved a beard on me. Sit on the throne; shout a bit. If you’re sitting in front of a green screen, it’s pointless acting it.”
The Silence of the Lambs star then noted that he had picked up the habit from an anecdote regarding fellow actor Gregory Peck’s time on the set of 1956’s Moby Dick.
“Gregory Peck was doing Moby Dick,”and one of the props guys found his script on the set,” he explained. “He opened it up and Gregory Peck had written on a certain page, ‘N.A.R.'”
“So he asked, ‘What does this mean, Mr. Peck?'” continued Hopkins. ” He said [launching into a booming Peck impression], ‘No acting required. You just look at the sea, and that’s it!’ And that’s true.”
Interestingly, it seems this issue was and still is particularly prevalent in the Thor series.
Asked by GQ in October 2022 about his experience shooting on green screens to bring Gorr the God Butcher to life in Thor: Love and Thunder, star Christian Bale opined, “That’s the first time I’ve done that. I mean, the definition of it is monotony.”
“You’ve got good people,” he said. “You’ve got other actors who are far more experienced at it than me. Can you differentiate one day from the next? No. Absolutely not. You have no idea what to do. I couldn’t even differentiate one stage from the next.”
“They kept saying, ‘You’re on Stage Three,’” mimicked Bale. “Well, it’s like, ‘Which one is that?’ ‘The blue one.’ They’re like, ‘Yeah. But you’re on Stage Seven.’ ‘Which one is that?’ ‘The blue one.’ I was like, ‘Uh, where?’”
However, despite his apparent frustrations with the process, Bale made it clear that he was still a fan of not just the Thor films, but super hero movies in general.
“I love those films,” said the Batman Begins star. “I love them. There’s a mood and a time for every single one, and I do have a firm belief that every single kind of film can be done brilliantly.”
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