Chris Hemsworth isn’t the only actor bringing the Norse God to the screen this year, Newcomer Cody Deal has also snagged himself a hammer. The athlete cum actor is playing the title role in “The Almighty Thor“, a more fiscally-friendly version of the Avenger yarn, set to air on a major network in a few months. We had the chance to speak to the congenial actor about his work on the film.
What did your ”Almighty Thor” audition involve?
It was like any other audition. I actually heard about it through a friend who thought I’d be perfect for Thor so he sent me the details. I forwarded it to my agent who got the audition/read set up. I had never read for anything with The Asylum before. Just an actor coming in to read for the role. We didn’t hear anything back for a week and then they called me back in for a call back. They asked me to work with the casting director, Gerald Webb, who has also worked as a dialogue coach – acting coach, and in fact, remained my on-set coach for the whole film. We worked in length and prepared something for tape for the producers the second time I came in. They wanted to see my range and I am thankful they liked what they saw.
What was it that they liked about you?
The director and casting director were sold on me and my look immediately. The producers wanted to be certain and that is why they arranged the second call. In all honesty, they took a big risk on me, not having much of anything else underneath my belt at the time. In the end, it all worked out, and the producers are more than pleased with all the tape.
I’ve had quite a few people email me and ask if I planned on doing any more films for The Asylum. I am always looking for good, creative projects. The Aslyum and I do not have anything slated together as of now, but if the write script and role made sense, I would be happy to work with them again.
Did you happen to audition for Marvel’s ”Thor”, too?
In fact, I did. It is actually what prompted me to move to Los Angeles! I was preparing to move from Las Vegas to L.A. in a year and I stayed in Vegas longer than I wanted; for 18 months. And I stayed in Kansas a year longer than I wanted to, too. However, I set a new goal and my goal was to bounce out of Vegas at the end of my second year, but after reading for Thor I moved two months later to L.A. I thought if I was able to read for such a project as Thor and not even living in the state or being repped, I thought my chances were good to really pursue this industry.
In March of 2009, my acting coach at the time, Gerald Gordon, had sent a packet to Marvel Entertainment in NYC (before they merged with Disney), and the casting director in L.A., Randi Hiller, called me in to read. And it’ll be just over two years from that date when Almighty Thor releases on April 26th of this year. It is serendipitous to me that my first starring role was for the same character as my first audition in L.A. and it didn’t bother me if it was a $100,000 budget or $150 million.
That’s great. Were you a fan of the comics?
When growing up, I was more of a Power Ranger and Superman fan. I grew up in the ’90, so you can only imagine. I didn’t really know what comic books were for the most part except for a friend who collected them. When I read for Marvel’s Thor is when I became really interested in Thor. Ever since then I have watched the creation of Marvel’s Thor come together from the beginning. And when I read for Asylum’s Thor, I knew I was perfectly-suited for the role.
Does this flick have any links to the comic or does it fix more on the historical legend?
The material sticks to the old Norse legends/religions/paganism. If you research Thor, you’ll see that a lot of the information is different. The Marvel Universe created a well-known Thor ego-driven, having alter-egos, and with very specific powers and abilities; many stolen from the Norse God legends. What I love about this particular story of Thor is it is a coming of age story of the God of Thunder. How he becomes the Almighty Thor is amazing. This boy, if you will, has to embrace who he really is much sooner than he wants. I really think he questions who he is and what he’s truly capable of becoming. I think in many moments he starts embracing his Godliness only to have things defeat him at every turn. And you see that struggle. The origin of the hammers is unique, yet dynamic. I feel any Thor fan will enjoy the original elements. In the end, only Thor can protect mankind and save Asgard and the earth-realm. Much of the storyline sticks to many of the written elements that are found within the stories of Thor.
Good supporting cast…
My co-stars were amazing and what made the film. From Kevin, to Patricia, to Richard – I enjoyed all three It’s hard to describe what I liked about each. The bottom line is I immensely enjoyed their company every day filming, and learned a lot from each.
So, the big question, do you get to wield the hammer and wear the helmet?
Those are questions that will probably be answered when the trailer comes out, which I hear by the way is going to be around Mid-February. So prepare for that. But from it, you’ll get a great opportunity to see Thor in action and come alive.
When are they thinking of releasing the film?
The film is being released April 26, 2011. I can share with you that a major network has purchased the film and will be airing on that network, too – I have no idea of the air date. It will also be in Blockbuster and Redbox on April 26.
Looking back, was it a hard shoot?
The film required a lot of physical action. I have stayed in great shape my whole life playing sports in college, but the physical demands where exhausting. The 6am call times – filming in L.A. in December – it gets dark very early, so our days had to start at the crack of dawn- plus the physical exercise I had to do to maintain my shape, on top of all the stunt work and combat work I did made it very demanding. And on top of that is all the layers of your character and acting. I can tell you that every time you see me in the film, it’s me; no stunt double, which I really enjoyed and proud to say.