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Interview: Screenwriter Eric Pearson talks Thor: Ragnarok & Infinity War

10.31.2017

Thor is generally not most people’s favorite Avenger. While Chris Hemsworth always gave a good performance, Thor was never as funny as Tony Stark, or as larger-than-life as The Hulk, or as tortured and nuanced as Black Widow. However, that might change with the upcoming film THOR: RAGNAROK. If the early reviews are any indication, this might not only be one of the best Thor films – but one of the best Marvel films period.

And while it takes a team of talented people to make great (or, really, even bad) films possible, it all starts with the screenwriter. In this case the script for THOR: RAGNAROK was co-written by Eric Pearson, who I was lucky enough to have a chance to talk to - and pick the brain of - about topics ranging from how he got started in the industry, what’s it like working for Marvel, the challenges of writing THOR: RAGNAROK, and tidbits about the future of the MCU.

So Pearson has always been a Marvel man, having getting involved in the industry through a writing program from Marvel itself. He was then tasked to do things like add ADR (such as in the first CAPTAIN AMERICA film, where he “had to find few frames behind Chris Evans’ head to say ‘Get to the base’ so the audience knows they need to get to a base”) and other assignments here and there, like doing rewrites on ANT-MAN before the director change. He was then offered to write the Marvel one-shots (which are sorely missed by the way, get on that Marvel), and then the AGENT CARTER TV show, before landing the THOR: RAGNAROK gig, which is his biggest assignment to date. When describing working with Marvel, Pearson says, “Marvel is just a big dysfunctional family, once you’re in, you’re in…[and] a great family to work for.

As for the film itself, Pearson talked about what made Thor different this time around. As mentioned above, Thor was never really an MCU fan-favorite, and to change that, Pearson said:

First thing…in a Thor movie, Thor has got to be the coolest thing in it, he’s got to be the most fun, it’s gotta be about Thor...[so] at the end THE DARK WORLD he turns down the throne, which he had supposedly been pursuing for the first two movies, and goes out to find himself…[becoming a] road-weary adventurer…and he enjoys adventuring on his own.

Pearson also mentions that the events of THOR 1 & 2, as well as THE AVENGERS films have given Thor “a new perspective on things”, leading to his gradual change in personality we see in the upcoming film. He also said:

There are two types of Thor stories, the stately ‘prince to be king’ version of Thor, which is a little more serious, with the weight of the realm on his shoulders, that feels more epic and Shakespearian in nature...and the 70’s and 80’s comics that are wild with color and filled of insane monsters and crazy worlds…and just wacky and dang fun.

When asked who is favorite character to write for, he said it changed throughout the process (though he does “give a shout out to Skurge, who is like an Asgardian redneck”), as well as pushing the Loki/Thor dynamic further than it had gone before. Though, in the end, Pearson said it was obviously the other big guy in the film: Hulk.

Getting to be the one branch out the Hulk’s dialogue was such a blast…it was fun, and also hard to screw up, because we were limited by his vocabulary, which was somewhere between caveman and kindergarten. And the other thing I came to realize, that both Thor and Hulk are probably the two Avengers who are the worst at talking about their feelings, and putting them in situations where they have to talk about their feelings was just great.

And though Taika Waititi is known for a lot of improvisation on his films, Pearson stated that while “a lot of one-liners were found on set”, the story was always key, and never really changed. Basically, any improvised scene would always have to hit key plot notes, which is something Pearson said Waititi was very conscious of. Except when it came to his character Korg, played by the director himself, where Pearson recalled with a chuckle, “everything was out the window…because he was the director and he did what [he] wanted”.

When asked what Marvel character he’d love to write if given no limitations - and not restrained by the MCU roster - Pearson said he’d do an adaptation of THE HOOD, which he describes as “a street crook with the power of invisibility and the ability to float, and who forms a supervillain mafia full of one-shot B and C villains”. Which, honestly? I’m with Pearson, I’d watch the shit out of that too.

Unfortunately, any of my attempts to get any morsels or tidbits about the future of the MCU were pretty fruitless, as there wasn’t much he could tell (even joking that he had “a red dot on his head at all times”). However, when asked about the fact that AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR was no longer split into two parts, Pearson mentioned “they were never intended to be one movie”, and when asked if it ends with a cliffhanger anymore or not (as had been previously rumored), he was cut off by his handler. So take that for what you will. Maybe it means Thanos doesn’t survive past INFINITY WAR?

Either way, Pearson seems to know what he’s talking about when it comes to these characters (even stating that he was brought in to help with both AVENGERS sequels, because of his new take on Thor), and it looks like Marvel has another winner on their hands!

Meanwhile, THOR: RAGNAROK will crash into theaters November 2nd!  

Extra Tidbit: Pearson said his favorite character to write for, in general, was Agent Carter.
Source: JoBlo.com

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