Costume Designer Talks 'Heightened Realism' of Kenneth Branagh's Thor

Coventry Telegraph, 25 March 2010
By David Bentley

Brining Thor to the big screen must be quite a challenge for director Kenneth Branagh and his team, especially as the Norse thunder god comes to a real-world setting on Earth for much of the film.

How do you make it work? How do you make it believable?

The film is based on Marvel's comic books, where exaggerated body proportions, colourful costumes and fantastical beings are part and parcel of that medium. With no images or trailers at this early stage, fans are pondering how Thor and the other gods of Asgard will look and which version of the character will be chosen from the decades of comics. The fan-made poster here depicts one possible vision for the movie.

Costume designer Deborah Ambrosino was able to shed a little light on the approach being taken for the Marvel Studios release, which is due out in May 2011. In an article on the Costume Designers' Guild website, Ambrosino described the project as "strangely enough, very theatrical."

She said: "There is a lot of fantasy in the different worlds that Thor lives in. The characters that populate that world are fantastical but not superheroes, which is great... there is a heightened realism."

Ambrosino added that she was using her metalsmithing knowledge to create armour and jewellery, in addition to some millinery and leatherwork. Some of her previous film projects include 'Avatar', 'Transformers' and 'Alice in Wonderland', so she's reassuringly familiar with bringing fantasy worlds to life.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has always been confident we are in for an amazing thrill-ride on the big-screen with 'Thor'. He spoke in January - before filming started - about the character designs for the film, telling Marvel's website: "We've done some costume tests and watching the Asgardians walk onto the sound stage takes me back to that first time I saw the X-Men on the set all together in Toronto. Only it was unlike anything we've ever put on film before!

"It's great to be starting the next decade in such an exciting way just as we did last decade. We're really redefining the comic book genre and what a Marvel movie can be. It's going to be great."

Actor Joseph Gatt - whose role hasn't been revealed but is likely to be superhuman warrior Skurge the Executioner - previously praised the film's "amazing costumes" and said: "The designers have done an extraordinary job at maintaining the traditional Marvel looks all the fans are expecting, but adding their own new style."

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