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Set Visit: Thor Interview with Colm Feore

Dec. 13, 2010by: George Merchan

Read our full report from the set of THOR here!

If there's an actor with a gift for gab on the set of THOR, it's Colm Feore. Bless him.

And I don't know if this is just Feore's way of talking or if it's because he was in full and rather terrifying Frost Giant costume... but the man's quite animated. Charmingly so. As much as he talked, I know I could probably listen to him for hours more.

Did you know what you were getting yourself into with this make-up?

I didnt really, until they came to my house and they said, Well we have to do an impression of your feet, your hands, your teeth, your head... well, pretty much everything. And then could you strike a sort of heroic pose, because were gonna take some digital photographs, and then theyre gonna copy this and make something. And I said, Well, okay.' Out of sight, out of mind, you know, I really didnt think about it. And then I showed up, went to Legacy, and they had pictures of me, the design, this, next to half-naked pictures of Iggy Pop. Now, without telling you too much about myself, half-naked, me and Iggy Pop look a lot alike. Im not gonna tell you which half, but as you can see, Im not wearing a lot of clothes.

So I said, Is this what its gonna be? And they said, Yeah, this is how it works. This outfit, this costume, is remarkable for a lot of reasons, not least of which is that its about 17 different pieces. The only thing thats real, thats me, is from here to here. Everything else, and I mean everything, top to bottom, everything is fake. And its laid on in four and a half hours by this genius, Ve Neill, a three-time Oscar winner for make-up, who sculpted and designed all this. And it comes in these variety of pieces, and they just put each one on and glue me into it, paint me blue, and stitch me up, and then wheel me out. Its remarkable, and takes forever, and slightly longer to get off. Ive been doing a lot of work recently and trying to apologize to people for the blue eyeliner and the blue fingernails and the blue everything, and I finally just gave up. I just said, You know, Im in here every day shopping, yes, I am a stripper and I work nights, okay? So if you dont mind, give me the wine, give me the bread, and Im leaving. Its a little madness, but I kind of enjoy it, because it gives me a good four and a half hours in the morning, when no one else is here, to get into what the characters gonna be. I start to assume the physicality and all this stuff that Ken Branagh and I have talked about in terms of where this character sits and how hes involved and, you know, four and a half hours later, this appears. From inside, it feels different to me than it looks to you, but it actually works, as far as Im concerned. I think its pretty scary, and the voice is dropped. It really is. Clint in outer space. Get off my lawn.' Its gonna be fun because you dont expect sensitivity, humanity, humor, heart-break from this kind of guy, but the way Ken directs, we managed to get all of that. So, its been a wonderful synthesis of machinery, artistry and just good ol' craft.

What can you see through those lenses?

Well, if youre not a man with glasses standing in front of me with a tape recorder going like this, then I cant see anything. But if you are, then I see perfectly well.

How does this restrict your movement? Can you hear?

No, this is the Nureyev of suits, this thing, it moves perfectly with me. Its glued to me. I am stuck in it in ways that are really unimaginable and indescribable.

How do you go to the bathroom in that?

You dont. Please dont print this [George's Note: Sorry, Colm!] but I lost four nails already looking for my penis. [laughter] And they told me, 'Youre not to do that again.' I suppose, four and a half hours in, ten hours shooting, an hour and a half out, somethings gotta give because it comes, Ill tell you guys, please dont tell anybody else, it comes in two pieces. So, we get into the first piece then, layer, layer, layer, do all of this. Then we jump into the trousers, then Im zip-tied into this bottom piece, and glued into the feet so you cant get out. There is a zipper somewhere but itll cost you money to find out where. And they actually make it functional, its pretty ridiculous, so I plan ahead.

Are you a frost giant?

A frost giant? I am the king of frost giants. And if youve seen any of the frost giants, you know that I am of course the Napoleon of frost giants. Weve got some massive, fabulous guys who dwarf me and they come in at around eight and a half feet, nine feet. But no, cant you tell by the commanding presence? Im the boss. The music will be big, when I show up therell be a big storm, therell be wind. Its worked out beautifully. Its very articulated and articulatable. The face moves with me, I have every range of expression. And, I dont know if youve had a chance to talk to Ken at all, but hes brilliant. Hes brilliant for a lot of reasons, not least of all because hes been an actor his whole life. So he knows how to tighten the narrative, and what he would do as an actor, so he can get inside and say three helpful words. You know, on a very tight schedule and an expensive schedule, hell just get right to the heart of the point. But hes also looking for most of it, here, right? Its gotta be in the eyes. If they dont work, weve got nothing. So it had to be expressive.

This seems like a totally new experience for you.

Well, you know, this is not my first time with special effects make-up. I did a Stephen King thing years ago, Storm of the Century, which was just wacky. I did a bunch of and the technology was much more primitive and it was six hours in the chair doing all that kind of stuff. Ive done rigorous appliqu make-up. Is it different from what I usually do? Ive done CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK which is space, sort of sci-fi, a little sort of cartoony. I do everything. I just finished playing 'Macbeth' and 'Cyrano De Bergerac' in repertoire in the theater, and then came straight here to do this. They all feel, interestingly enough, as if they cross-pollinate. Because everything that Ive done in the theater, Branagh is using. Its me and Hopkins and Ken standing around talking about, 'well, this is sort of like Lear', and were using a short-hand for how to communicate effectively and immediately out here when its costing somebody serious money. So, to me, it isnt a big departure. Its just another job for which I hope Ill get paid. As far as Im concerned, if the check doesnt bounce its a hit. I go home.

Are you able to walk around outside?

You know what? I have seen did you all come in this back hallway? And you saw me in that chair? Thats as far as I got to the outside world. I have a dressing room three doors down and it has a big, dark curtain in it. Thats all Ive seen for the four months that Ive been shooting. Ive never been, you know. I went to craft service today, I got a coffee outside because I did my electronic press kit interview at 6:45 this morning and I was allowed to walk in my street clothes to get coffee. I have never been seen outside, Ive never seen outside. A lot of smart people have spent a lot of time thinking about the look, the design, the acting, the script and we refine this as best we can but were still working on it day by day by day. Were refining it, we get new script pages, new ideas are coming. We dont want anybody to come off half-cocked and make a decision about what were only in the middle of doing. So if there are shots of me out there and somebodys gonna say, 'oh, thats not the right way, thats not this and that', it has to be seen in context. And in the context of as they say, confident, a lot of smart people have given it a lot of thought. So, no I dont get outside and Im actually okay with that. And I think its kind of fun. And when anybody asks me, they were asking me in Customs the other day coming in - I live in Canada - and they say, 'what are you doing?' and I say Thor. 'Whats it about?' 'Cant tell you.' You know, give it a hammer, its big, what do you play? Ooooh, thats gonna cost you, and you know, Im trying to get into the country and I have to be nice. I love everything you do, Ill buy you a ticket, I said, good, May 6, 2011, 7:30. Be there.

Could you talk about the research you did when you found out you were entering this universe. Did you read the books?

Yeah. I looked a lot at the comics and I tried to get an idea from that, not necessarily specific, just what my look would be, or what the plan would be because I knew the script was evolving. And I then started the discussion with Ken who had been in discussion with you guys, intimately, and then they pared it down. So, I didnt want to spend too much time going all over the map on this. So I thought, okay, what do you really want? And he said, if youre very, very good, Ill send you a secret link to a secret site and you can have a secret look at a tedious little picture which will melt the moment you click okay, and itll melt with your initials on it so youre doomed if it goes anywhere else. And I said, okay, let me see that and then I want you to tell me what youd like it to sound like.

So, now Ive got the look that were talking about and Ive got Kens idea of what it might sound like. He marries... we started talking about different ideas, we joked about it. I said to him you know, Ken, youve really screwed me here. You cast Tony Hopkins. And I appreciate that its great for the movie, but I was gonna play it like Tony Hopkins. [laughter] I was! I did a movie for Julie Taymor with him ten years ago called TITUS. A big Shakespeare thing with Jessica Lange and I was asked to play his little brother, and they said well, the thing about playing his little brother, you might have to act a little bit like Tony Hopkins. And forgive my teeth but I can actually act a bit like Tony Hopkins. I can sound like Tony Hopkins, I can actually do the whole thing. I can do it, and I go, Ken, Ill give you Tony Hopkins only, as you say, much cheaper. [laughter] But weve got him cast. I said, shoot me first and then Tony will have to think of something else to do. And hes an actor, he can be stretched out, but for me its a huge leap forward, you see, a poor mans Tony Hopkins, oh, thats great. But then he showed up and we were there on the set and I didnt have the heart to take his characterization, his personality away from him. So I said, what if I do an homage to Tony Hopkins with a whisper of Max Von Sydow filtered through Paul Scofield... and you know Ken went, Yeah, thats about it. And theres a little something else and we kept it just in the mix as we went. And it actually worked out beautifully. So we started to assemble a pallet of colors and sounds. And I said okay, I will confine my research now to just what were gonna be doing and Ken is so specific and so on time.

Last December, maybe even late November he said, Im gonna be shooting a close-up of you on the first day of the first roll of film and itll be very important and if we like it to be in the movie, youd better be ready. And usually that doesnt happen. We shoot the wide, we shoot mediums, the actors warm up, they get a little bit familiar with the lines, they maybe read the script and then by the end of the day we get it. He knew full well by that point the make-up might have simply melted off. So, 8 oclock in the morning, Friday the 8th of January, he was here. And you know, he had a tight schedule. We needed to be done by lunch because something else was coming in and so that sharpens your focus a good deal. And so for me, it was about sticking very close to the script, to the look and all our discussions about how it would sound, and also hes a smart guy. He rehearsed us when it doesnt cost much money. Because theres nobody else there really looking at the clock. Its just a bunch of guys in a room saying, what if we tried this, what if we tried that. And Marvel has been extraordinary in responding to the things we just came up with. It was a wonderful moment where Tony and I, we have a confrontational scene and originally in the script, we were miles apart because its this huge, heroic kind of thing. But we were in a little room rehearsing and there was something that Ken really liked about the intimacy. And I said well, Ive got some super-powers I dont want to share with you here yet but maybe I can use something like that, and producer Craig Kyle said yeah absolutely, we might have something. I show up the other day to shoot the scene, on the strength of that rehearsal, on that idea that we had, they built a launching thing out of the floor that would match with the sci-fi, go with the green screen, so that we could slam into the tiny, intimate scene, about two guys going, Your kids a f*cking idiot. [laughter] Yeah, I know, but you were an idiot once too. Not that big an idiot, I might have to kill him. Oh please dont. F*ck you. F*ck you too. And then we go back to a huge big deal. And we made this happen. They spent the money where it counted. It cost nothing to have the idea, but God bless you guys, Marvel came behind and said, This is a good idea. This really helps our narrative leap forward. And so thats what weve been doing, trying to stay as on, you know, you dont mess around with Ken because when the ship sails, the ship sails. You get a couple of chances to be in the movie, and as Ive said, if Im no good in this movie, it wont be his fault. Hes tried everything.

What are your thoughts on Chris Hemsworth?

Oh, hes playing Thor! Apparently hes very loud. Some people say hes very handsome. Not at all blue, no, hes charming, beaming smile and that kind of youthful, heroic idiocy that you expect from an action hero, right? (Dropped recorder sound) Oh, sorry! (inaudible, chatter)

No, hes extraordinary. One of the chief things about him is that hes charming. Its actually really hard for me to be mad at him and growl at him but I imagine hes an idiot and it helps, because we need somebody at the core of this picture to be the leader. We need to believe in him. Even guys like me, I depend on him you see, and the more charming, and the more agreeable and the more heroic he is, the more I hate him, you know. And it makes sense I think, you know, the world will be a better place when I get rid of you. And so, he clearly is doing a very good job. Hes sexy and I mean I guess after a fashion youd have to tell me that. For people under a certain age apparently, hes attractive and fit. God knows he looks pretty good in the outfit. And hes funny and that goes a long way. Charm, you know, is an intangible, you know, chutzpah, charm, charisma, that kind of thing, you cant buy it. You either have it or you dont. Hes got it in spades. And with his master, Ken, showing him the ropes and guiding him, its all going very, very well.



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10:20PM on 12/13/2010
Nice! Colm was totally cool as Wizard, Andre Linoge in the Stephen King based mini series "Storm Of The Century" gr8 work!
Nice! Colm was totally cool as Wizard, Andre Linoge in the Stephen King based mini series "Storm Of The Century" gr8 work!
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