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Kenneth Branagh on Controversial Hiring of Idris Elba in "Thor"

Posted: March 29th, 2011 by WorstPreviews.com Staff
Kenneth Branagh on Controversial Hiring of Idris Elba in "Thor"Submit Comment
After director Kenneth Branagh hired Idris Elba as Heimdal in "Thor," some fans were disappointed that he decided to cast a black actor to play a white character. Branagh has now responded to the casting, stating:

"Idris Elba is a fantastic actor - we were lucky to get him. He provides all the characteristics we need from Asgard's gatekeeper, the man who says, 'Thou shalt not pass.' When Idris Elba says that, you know you're gonna have a problem. He's smart, intelligent, handsome and an absolute joy to work with. If you have a chance to have a great actor in the part, everything else is irrelevant.

"If you're going to say the color of his skin matters in a story like this, look at 50 years of 'Thor' comics to see how many ways great artists have bent alleged 'rules.' Look at the Norse myths to see the way they confounded and contradicted themselves. That whole 'controversy' was a surprising - and daft - moment.
"

Click here to read more about "Thor."

Source: Empire


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Displaying 38 comment(s) Profanity: Turn On
jdl107 writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 5:29:36 AM

This will be intersting, the reactions. I might have to stop by the imDb page later.

These guys are good at providing entertainment.
The Skippy Spartan writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 6:22:07 AM

Don't think anyone is doubting Idris Elba's acting. He is a fantastic actor
masht7 writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 6:27:41 AM

I don't really give a f*ck. I'm not that all into Norse mythology and I don't think I've seen a film with Idris Elba in it.
Cinemaisdead writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 6:31:17 AM

If any one is bothered about the mythos enough they wouldn't be reading f*cking comic books. Because having a black actor play a part of a white man defined by an old belief really matters. There's plenty of things ridiculous about this movie... like Thor's sh*tty English accent, Facebook references, stupid robot for merchandise and so on...
technoreaper writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 7:02:15 AM

I have NO problem with casting Idris Elba at all. He looks like he fits the part very well. This is Marvel, not Fox, you know.
Farradin writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 7:19:07 AM

The best question to ask is does the colour of the character play into the story at all. In this case no as it appears that they are more an alien race than the ancient deities of a specific ancient group, so there should be no problems.

If however this was a film where intrinsic and underlying plot and character traits were reliant on the ethnic identity of the characters like Akira or The Last Airbender then this would be a travesty.
atn5022 writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 7:32:28 AM

idris did amazing work on the wire, and i hear his show on BBC (i think it was called luthor) was pretty good too. his movie choices need some work though, working with chris brown and beyonce is clearly beneath him and his abilities
bandolero999 writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 7:37:56 AM

Just spray him white and no one would tell if he was black
boogiel writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 7:52:28 AM

If you're going to say the color of his skin matters in a story like this, look at 50 years of 'Thor' comics to see how many ways great artists have bent alleged 'rules.' Look at the Norse myths to see the way they confounded and contradicted themselves. That whole 'controversy' was a surprising - and daft - moment."


Exactly. I'd like to see Chris Pine as black panther.
Bunny X writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 8:46:19 AM

Bent, not broken. But hell, I could care less. I love Idris and yes, his show Luther is amazing. I had a problem when Daredevil made the Kingpin black. but this? Pffft no biggie.
trailertrash writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 9:23:59 AM

atn5022

Luther was the best crime thriller the BBC have made in long time and idris was great in that, Eneded on a real cliffhanger hope he returns to finish the show off at some point.
trailertrash writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 9:24:44 AM

Eneded= Ended
SACdaddy writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 9:39:56 AM

WOW, I have to admit that I'm totally blown away by the maturity of the responses to this post. Finally looks like people realized that this is just a movie about fictional faces from fictional places. Open minds on WP.....I like it!!!

Nice way to start the day :)
lebowski writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 9:48:32 AM

got no problem with idris he is a cool actor .besides its not like they changed the colour of thor
BadChadB33 writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 9:51:22 AM

It's ok we got Chris Evans as Blade in the reboot.
Knife writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 9:52:53 AM

damn these black actors... taking all of the good parts from white actors. It's a shame, because everybody with even a minimal education knows that these mythological gods, that never existed, were white.
I haven't seen white people this mad since OJ got off, WTF. For a characters race to matter, in terms of said character being portrayed in diff mediums, the race has to actually have some significance in who that character is. Kingpin, unlike real life crime figures, had no kind of ethnic pride or identity. And he wasn't a racist, like real life crime figures... in essence he was a fat, bald mother f*cker that was probably only colored white because Marvel felt they had WWWAAAAYYYY too many black characters (6) taking up space in their pages.
with this Thor thing, I mean... it's not like some real life historical figure was being portrayed by someone of a different race... you know... like Jesus or Cleopatra. But then again, you guys probably really think that a Galilean Jew and ancient African looked like Jim Caviezel and Angelina Jollie.
trailertrash writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 10:47:45 AM

Real life Historical figure like Jesus Christ

That is open to debate ....

And as these are mythological characters does it matter what colour they are, Doesn't to me.
HideousSecretion writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 11:23:38 AM

Sounds good Branagh. When I cast for the Rosa Parks story I'll be sure to get Angelina Jolie. It's amazing how detached from reality these Hollywood types are. You've got a bunch of lilly-white Norse gods running around hamming it up and then we see Idris Elba. It will be jarring, pull the audience out of the film, and break whatever mood/effect Branagh is going for in those scenes. Elba is a fine actor, but when your entire audience has spent their youths playing 'one of these things is not like the other' while watching sesame street it will take the viewer out of the film. And however subtly, that hurts the film. Having him as a Norse deity is poor casting and silly. There were no other parts for Idris Elba? See this is the crap that has me worried. I hear the script is good. Thor is manly and kick-ass. But Branagh is over here playing affirmative action with the god squad. And that kind of senseless politically correct color blind casting never turns out well. You also have Amidala as the love interest. That whackadoo will probably demand script changes to neuter Thor.

In the end it isn't the fan's duty to answer why not, but Branagh's duty to answer why? Why is it necessary? "Elba is a swell actor" doesn't really cut it. Branagh is a good actor but no one will cast him as Martin Luther King Jr.
Cinemaisdead writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 11:33:15 AM

Real life Historical figure like Jesus Christ- Historical nut job, and I believe there was at least three guys named Jesus at the time living in different locations, who's to know which was the crazy one who thought he was the son of god?
rabid writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 12:01:53 PM

Heimdall has been different races in the comics. A few years ago he was reincarnated as a black man in New Orleans. Back in the 90's, he was a Puerto Rican.
I don't see any reason Asgardians should be all white. In myth Heimdall was the progenitor of all the races, including the black skins. And he stands guard over the bifrost bridge which connects all these lands of Yggsdrasil which are home to different species of people, races and creatures. Even Hogun, the asian Asgardian is from one of these realms. Just because Heimdall stands outside the gates of Asgard doesn't mean he was born and grew up there.
rabid writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 12:05:28 PM

@ Cinema is Dead

if the cult of christ was truly based on the Church of the Essenes, they always had two religious leaders at once. One is thought to be the guy many people called Doubting Thomas. He was the one that spread the tales to India and possibly the south of France.

But most all of the New Testament is a rehash of all the ancient stories the Essenian librarians collected. I wouldn't go believing any of it.
Cinemaisdead writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 12:21:42 PM

rabid- Nice, don't worry I believe nothing... and everything.
atn5022 writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 1:29:21 PM

trailertrash- ill have to check it out then thanks for the recommendation
eViL.kEv2 writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 2:58:26 PM

Way to drop some knowledge, Rabid!
minkowski writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 3:54:07 PM

"If any one is bothered about the mythos enough they wouldn't be reading f*cking comic books.

And therein lies the problem.

If the filmatic version of Marvel's Thor is based on a comic book, who the f*ck cares who plays what, because it's just some junk loosely based on and inspired by extinct Norse myths, but if it's based on the actual historical mythology of a white group of people, then well, different story altogther.

"One is thought to be the guy many people called Doubting Thomas."

The phrase name 'Doubting Thomas' originates from the apostle named Thomas who doubted the resurrection of Christ, and many scholars think this rendition of Thomas is merely an allegory, given that his entire prominence in the Bible is based on his denial of an impossible event, specifically the resurrection of Christ.

As regarding Thomas in India, the Pope clearly disagrees with you:

"Pope Benedict XVI made the statement at the Vatican on September 27, 2006. Addressing the faithful during the Wednesday catechises, he recalled that St. Thomas first evangelized Syria and Persia, and went on to western India from where Christianity reached Southern India. The import of the statement was that St. Thomas never travelled to south India, but rather evangelized the western front, mostly comprising today’s Pakistan'. Knowingly or unknowingly, he had in one stroke challenged the basis of Christianity in India and demolished long-held views of the Church here that St Thomas landed in Kerala, where he spread the gospel among Hindus."

Furthermore:

"There is no historical evidence to support the tradition that St. Thomas came to South India, and on 13 November 1952 Vatican officials sent a message to Kerala Christians stating that the landing of St. Thomas at Muziris (Cranganore now Kodungallur) on 21 November 52 AD was “unverified”."

"they always had two religious leaders at once."

They had only one 'leader' Rabid:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#Rules.2C_customs.2C_theology_and_beliefs

The were also celibate and collective.
acreshakers writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 5:10:41 PM

"The whole 'controversy' was a surprising and daft-moment" Enough said! It's not that serious, a guy who has what maybe 5 min screen time?? Who cares! Nothing to see here! Moving on!
acreshakers writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 5:24:24 PM

In addition it would be one thing if he was trying to portray George Washington or JFK then ya...that might be a stretch, but a COMIC BOOK Character??? Really? Just talking about this is f***ing stupid, kinda like when people objected to Jake Gyllendal (a white guy) portraying an Iranian guy in Prince of Persia! Who gives a F***! It's a movie based on a freaking VIDEO GAME! Wow! I sure the economy picks up, cause some dumb f***s have to much time on their hands!
ilovebatman writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 5:25:08 PM

The best question to ask is does the colour of the character play into the story at all. In this case no as it appears that they are more an alien race than the ancient deities of a specific ancient group, so there should be no problems.

You f*cking idiot. So Spider man could be black too, or Asain! Maybe even Hawaiian!!

I have an idea, instead of having America (and i am American) bending ass backwards trying to "pay back" black man's race by inputting them into high-profile roles, where a WHITE man used to sit is pretty f*cking stupid if you think about it. Not only will it not change what happened 200 GODDAMN YEARS AGO, but it just f*cks with peoples heads. WHY do they do this? f*cker from bond 23 or whatever says that its "time for a black James Bond"...really? Then as someone else stated, they already did the black King Pin. SERIOUSLY? And we all know who our residing president is...


rabid writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 5:54:16 PM

hahaha the Essenes had two leaders at all times. The richest was always descended from the house of David, and yes, they were very wealthy people. We know very little about them, but that much is fact. Jesus, if he existed, was a rich politician.
No, there's no historical evidence of that particular Thomas, only maps of how the stories were circulated by a Thomas, who joined the royal retinues of several politicans at the time.
All very interesting, but nothing conclusive. I find it hilarious that you quote the Pope. I try not to trust the words of people who believe in sorcery.
MoneyHayabusa writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 6:09:37 PM

"'The best question to ask is does the colour of the character play into the story at all. In this case no as it appears that they are more an alien race than the ancient deities of a specific ancient group, so there should be no problems.'

You f*cking idiot. So Spider man could be black too, or Asain! Maybe even Hawaiian!!"

Thats exactly the OPPOSITE of what he said.
MoneyHayabusa writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 6:14:10 PM

I have an idea, instead of having America (and i am American) bending ass backwards trying to "pay back" black man's race by inputting them into high-profile roles, where a WHITE man used to sit is pretty f*cking stupid if you think about it. Not only will it not change what happened 200 GODDAMN YEARS AGO, but it just f*cks with peoples heads. WHY do they do this? f*cker from bond 23 or whatever says that its "time for a black James Bond"...really? Then as someone else stated, they already did the black King Pin. SERIOUSLY? And we all know who our residing president is..."

You've never really been outside of white-breaded suburbia, have you? Not only is it totally preposterous that whoever cast this movie was trying to stave off bad karma from slave-owners misdeeds hundreds of years ago, its kinda ridiculous that in this day and age you would actually be OFFENDED by something like this with little-to-no stake in the mythology of the series itself. Make some black friends man, theyre not as scary as they look.
encoreyourface writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 6:36:23 PM

i don't mind that he's black, but really ... he is way out of setting. how many black norse gods where there in the comics? exactly.

But really i'm not a BIG Thor fan so i don't mind as long as his skin color doesn't come into play in a plot or sub-plot (which i'm sure it won't).
JUST SMILE AND BLOW ME! writes:
on March 29th, 2011 at 8:31:38 PM

@Knife A Galilean Jew could look like Jim Caviezel, especially with the prosthetic nose he wore for the part. And I don't know whether Angelina Jolie looks like her or not but Cleopatra was Greek not African.

@acreshakers Jake Gyllenhaal wasn't playing an Iranian he was playing a Persian (the clue is in the title, Prince Of PERSIA, it was still Persia when the game/movie was set, not Iran) and Persians were (and some still are) white.
ilovebatman writes:
on March 30th, 2011 at 12:41:28 AM

@money hayabusa: NO sh*t ITS THE OPPOSITE! Thats what i wanted. and NO, i have nothing to lose if he's black. Actually, i think he fits it nicely, looks very cool in the helmet. Im merely saying, i hate it that everyone has to bow to blacks, and sh*t on whites. Like that bitch in indiana about some Tyler Perry movie. Manager of theater tells the audience (mostly BLACK) to be quite during the show. BITCH sits up and tells the audience that his comments (the manager, who was WHITE) were RACIST!!!! f*ckING n*gger BITCH SHOULD BE SHOT! EACH MEMBER OF THE AUDIENCE GOT 1700$! THE THEATER ENDED UP PAYING OVER 20000!!!!!! f*ck YOU
telur writes:
on March 30th, 2011 at 1:55:04 AM

Idris Elba should played "Thor" instead Chris something
Cinemaisdead writes:
on March 30th, 2011 at 4:35:00 AM

ilovebatman- You're a sad little freak you know that?
LastActionHero writes:
on March 30th, 2011 at 7:24:44 AM

For this character it's meaningless. Now when they did it with Kingpin in DD it was horribly ridiculous.
SACdaddy writes:
on March 30th, 2011 at 10:09:54 AM

LOL, I still want to know what white actor Hwood would have chosen to play the Kingpin in DD instead of MCD. There sure aren't too many 6'5" 300 lb all muscle white boys who can also act running around Hwood these days. Building off an earlier point, I don't think the director (a white guy) cast MCD to get back at his own race for 200 years of slavery and oppression. Isn't it more reasonable that they cast him because he was very popular at the time and he physically fit the character's dimensions other than his skin color? I think they also might have been attracted to his unique voice to make the character even more intimidating.

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