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Set Visit: Thor Interview with Colm Feore

12.13.2010
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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 didn’t 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 we’re gonna take some digital photographs, and then they’re gonna copy this and make something.’ And I said, ‘Well, okay.' Out of sight, out of mind, you know, I really didn’t 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. I’m not gonna tell you which half, but as you can see, I’m not wearing a lot of clothes.

So I said, ‘Is this what it’s 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 it’s about 17 different pieces. The only thing that’s real, that’s me, is from here to here. Everything else, and I mean everything, top to bottom, everything is fake. And it’s 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. It’s remarkable, and takes forever, and slightly longer to get off. I’ve 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, I’m in here every day shopping, yes, I am a stripper and I work nights, okay? So if you don’t mind, give me the wine, give me the bread, and I’m leaving.’ It’s 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 character’s 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 he’s 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 I’m concerned. I think it’s pretty scary, and the voice is dropped. It really is. Clint in outer space. ‘Get off my lawn.' It’s gonna be fun because you don’t expect sensitivity, humanity, humor, heart-break from this kind of guy, but the way Ken directs, we managed to get all of that. So, it’s been a wonderful synthesis of machinery, artistry and just good ol' craft.

What can you see through those lenses?

Well, if you’re not a man with glasses standing in front of me with a tape recorder going like this, then I can’t 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. It’s 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 don’t. Please don’t print this [George's Note: Sorry, Colm!] but I lost four nails already looking for my penis. [laughter] And they told me, 'You’re not to do that again.' I suppose, four and a half hours in, ten hours shooting, an hour and a half out, something’s gotta give because it comes, I’ll tell you guys, please don’t 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 I’m zip-tied into this bottom piece, and glued into the feet so you can’t get out. There is a zipper somewhere but it’ll cost you money to find out where. And they actually make it functional, it’s pretty ridiculous, so I plan ahead.

Are you a frost giant?

“A” frost giant? I am the king of frost giants. And if you’ve seen any of the frost giants, you know that I am of course the Napoleon of frost giants. We’ve got some massive, fabulous guys who dwarf me and they come in at around eight and a half feet, nine feet. But no, can’t you tell by the commanding presence? I’m the boss. The music will be big, when I show up there’ll be a big storm, there’ll be wind. It’s worked out beautifully. It’s very articulated and articulatable. The face moves with me, I have every range of expression. And, I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to talk to Ken at all, but he’s brilliant. He’s brilliant for a lot of reasons, not least of all because he’s 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, he’ll just get right to the heart of the point. But he’s also looking for most of it, here, right? It’s gotta be in the eyes. If they don’t work, we’ve 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. I’ve done rigorous appliqué make-up. Is it different from what I usually do? I’ve 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 I’ve done in the theater, Branagh is using. It’s me and Hopkins and Ken standing around talking about, 'well, this is sort of like Lear', and we’re using a short-hand for how to communicate effectively and immediately out here when it’s costing somebody serious money. So, to me, it isn’t a big departure. It’s just another job for which I hope I’ll get paid. As far as I’m concerned, if the check doesn’t bounce it’s 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? That’s 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. That’s all I’ve seen for the four months that I’ve been shooting. I’ve 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, I’ve 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 we’re still working on it day by day by day. We’re refining it, we get new script pages, new ideas are coming. We don’t want anybody to come off half-cocked and make a decision about what we’re only in the middle of doing. So if there are shots of me out there and somebody’s gonna say, 'oh, that’s not the right way, that’s 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 don’t get outside and I’m actually okay with that. And I think it’s 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’. 'What’s it about?' 'Can’t tell you.' You know, give it a hammer, it’s big, what do you play? Ooooh, that’s gonna cost you, and you know, I’m trying to get into the country and I have to be nice. I love everything you do, I’ll 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 didn’t 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 you’re very, very good, I’ll 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 it’ll melt with your initials on it so you’re doomed if it goes anywhere else. And I said, okay, let me see that and then I want you to tell me what you’d like it to sound like.

So, now I’ve got the look that we’re talking about and I’ve got Ken’s 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, you’ve really screwed me here. You cast Tony Hopkins. And I appreciate that it’s 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, I’ll give you Tony Hopkins only, as you say, much cheaper.’ [laughter] But we’ve got him cast. I said, shoot me first and then Tony will have to think of something else to do. And he’s an actor, he can be stretched out, but for me it’s a huge leap forward, you see, a poor man’s Tony Hopkins, oh, that’s great. But then he showed up and we were there on the set and I didn’t 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, that’s about it.’ And there’s 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 we’re gonna be doing and Ken is so specific and so on time.

Last December, maybe even late November he said, ‘I’m gonna be shooting a close-up of you on the first day of the first roll of film and it’ll be very important and if we like it to be in the movie, you’d better be ready.’ And usually that doesn’t 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 o’clock 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 he’s a smart guy. He rehearsed us when it doesn’t cost much money. Because there’s nobody else there really looking at the clock. It’s 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 it’s 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, I’ve got some super-powers I don’t 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 kid’s 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 don’t.’ ‘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 that’s what we’ve been doing, trying to stay as on, you know, you don’t 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 I’ve said, if I’m no good in this movie, it won’t be his fault. He’s tried everything.

What are your thoughts on Chris Hemsworth?

Oh, he’s playing Thor! Apparently he’s very loud. Some people say he’s very handsome. Not at all blue, no, he’s 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, he’s extraordinary. One of the chief things about him is that he’s charming. It’s actually really hard for me to be mad at him and growl at him but I imagine he’s 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. He’s sexy and I mean I guess after a fashion you’d have to tell me that. For people under a certain age apparently, he’s attractive and fit. God knows he looks pretty good in the outfit. And he’s funny and that goes a long way. Charm, you know, is an intangible, you know, chutzpah, charm, charisma, that kind of thing, you can’t buy it. You either have it or you don’t. He’s got it in spades. And with his master, Ken, showing him the ropes and guiding him, it’s all going very, very well.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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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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