The heroic lineup in Marvel’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” must face off against a formidable, enraged, revenge-seeking nightmare named Gorr the God Butcher, played with glacially destructive determination by Christian Bale.
Gorr plots to destroy not only Chris Hemsworth’s heroic Norse god but also Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who’s returned as ‘Mighty Thor,’ and Tessa Thompson’s gender-switched King Valkyrie.
It’s a role that’s been compared to the Harry Potter series’ dark wizard Voldemort.
Christian Bale as Gorr in Marvel Studios’ THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER. (Marvel Studios)
During a virtual press conference Bale, 48, humorously noted that Marvel’s casting decree was to find “an actor the polar opposite of Hemsworth. Someone not relatable. A bit of a loner. Creepy. Someone no one wants to be around. And nobody wants to see his butt. So, I think they went, ‘Yeah, we found all that in Bale.’”
Bale is best known as a complicated if heroic Batman in Christopher Nolan’s hit trilogy but he’s familiar with the dark side. He was a bullying Nazi in the little-seen ‘Swing Kids,” the sociopathic misogynist butcher of ‘American Psycho” and a bigoted Army officer in the Western “Hostiles.”
“There’s a great pleasure in playing a villain. It’s a lot easier to play a villain than it is to play a hero,” he said.
On “Thor,” Hemsworth had “a much tougher job. Everyone is fascinated with bad guys, right? Immediately. And then, the beauty of it is that Taika (Waititi, the director) can make it bloody hilarious and then really moving as well in this story.
“And then, I don’t know if it’s pushing it too much to say sympathy, but certainly you sort of understand maybe why this guy is making awful decisions. He is a monster and he is a butcher, but yeah, there’s the possibility of a little understanding of why he came to be that way.”
As for his emotional, mental and physical transformation with prosthetics and makeup to become Gorr, “It was with three absolutely brilliant special effects makeup people. We did it every morning, it started at four hours and then three-and-a-half hours. They are absolutely as responsible for the form of Sir Gorr as I am.”
For Bale, an added perk was Waititi’s approach.
“I’ve worked with a lot of directors who enjoy improvisation and whatnot. You know, you do the script first and then you just see what else you can do beyond that.
“What I liked a lot is emotion comes through the ears, right? And he plays music nonstop on the set. That was fantastic.”