Thor: Ragnarok, which a lot of people saw over the weekend, is getting attention for its humor. But there’s one cameo-filled scene that’s stirring extra discussion. Ahead, director Taika Waititi breaks down just exactly what makes this scene work. (If you haven’t seen Thor: Ragnarok and are avoiding spoilers you may want to stop reading now.)
According to Waititi, the key is Luke Hemsworth.
When, at long last, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finally returns to his home of Asgard, he discovers that his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), has disguised himself as their father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and is now in charge. Thankfully for the citizens of Asgard, Loki as Odin just seems kind lazy – and enjoys watching an absurd play about “the death of Loki,” which depicts the events of Thor: The Dark World, with Loki serving as the beloved hero who unselfishly gives up his life. At one point the actor playing Loki — played by Matt Damon — laments to Thor about that time he tried to enslave Earth. Thor, played by Luke Hemsworth, deadpans, “They would have been lucky to have you.”
“Yeah, that’s such a Loki line,” says Taika Waititi.
So how did Waititi convince Luke Hemsworth to play a sort of poor man’s version of Thor? How did that conversation even go? Was it, “Hey, Luke, great news, we have a role for you in the new Thor movie, but you’re going to be playing a version of your brother.”
According to Waititi, “’You’re going to be playing a version of Chris where you basically get to make fun of his performance.’ When you say that, he’s down for it.”
Waititi also praises Luke Hemsworth as the element who makes the scene — which also includes Sam Neill as Odin — work.
Waititi explains, “Matt Damon’s stuff is funny, what he’s doing, but what actually makes the whole thing work and makes it hilarious for me is Luke’s performance. Because he was really committed to it. He’s crying, and every time you cut back to him, he’s not taking the piss out of the whole thing. He’s giving everything like a great Asgardian theater actor would.”
And as it turns out, if you enjoyed that scene, there’ a much longer version that Waititi promises will be included as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray.
“We played a lot of extended scenes that will be on the Blu-ray and that will be one of them,” says Waititi. “There aren’t other scenes within the play, but it’s the prolonged version of that, which I love. And there are longer versions of Jeff Goldblum’s scenes. There are different, extended versions of most of the scenes in the film, but at some point you just have to get on with the story or it would be another half-hour long.”
Then, after a pause, Waititi rethinks this statement and admits, yes, “If I could go back and do it, I wish I could film a half-hour version of that play.”
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