Thor was the biggest superhero movie of the year and grossed nearly half a billion dollars but Marvel are insistent on not breaking the bank for the sequel and are desperate to make sure the money they do spend all ends up on the screen. Sometime after Iron Man, Marvel got the impression that it was the universe and the characters that were their films biggest selling points and not the actors portraying them who can be interchangeable (see Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard in Iron Man 2 or Mark Ruffalo replacing Edward Norton as The Hulk in The Avengers) and they are now refusing to pay big money on A* talent. It’s a bold move and one that hopefully won’t come and bite them in the ass.
Once Kenneth Branagh made the decision he wasn’t going to sequelize Thor, Marvel quickly went after thrifty hirings. Brian Kirk was the first, a t.v. helmer known for his impressive work on Game of Thrones yet he bailed out and was then replaced by Patty Jenkins, an almost forgotten name in the industry who directed Charlize Theron to her Oscar winning performance in Monster. She was a controversial choice as her CV had nothing that screamed out that she would be good for Thor and after less than two months of being attached, she likewise bailed, citing the difficulties of making a sequel to someone elses work.
With filming on Thor 2 to kick-off next summer, Marvel aren’t wanting to waste any time on their next hiring and The Hollywood Reporter claims two names have emerged as front-runners already. From the looks of things, some Marvel exec has been watching an awful lot of Game of Thrones.
Alan Taylor and Daniel Minahan, two guys who have worked on Game of Thrones are said to be the top two choices. Both are t.v. guys and have extensive credits on various shows (Taylor on Sex and the City, The Sopranos, The West Wing, Boardwalk Empire and Deadwood… Minahan on True Blood, The Good Wife and Grey’s Anatomy) though they do have some feature credits to their name (Taylor on Palookaville and the Ian Holm led Napoleon drama The Emperor’s New Clothes… Minahaan on the reality tv satire Series 7: The Contenders).
Neither are names that will particularly get Marvel fans blood pumping but it’s clear they believe a quick, cheap and available hand is needed who can direct the movie without little fuss.
The trade says Marvel are also looking to do a re-write on Don Payne’s (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer) script looking to hire either John Collee (Master and Commander), Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) and Roger Avary (co-write of Pulp Fiction and Beowulf) to do a polish.
Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Tom Hiddleston have already agreed to return for Thor 2 and have kept schedules free next year for the sequel which Marvel decided to make first over a Captain America follow-up.
Thor 2 doesn’t hit theaters until November 2013 and filming is still some months away but it looks like they want to get things finalised before the New Year.