"I hope I look like God."
Those are the words of Anthony Hopkins, speaking a couple of weeks ago about Thor, the big-budget comic book-based movie in which he'll play Odin, the Norse god-like ruler of Asgard, as well as the father of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and stepfather of Loki (Tom Hiddleston).
Production is underway now on the superhero adventure, which also stars Natalie Portman, Jaimie Alexander, Ray Stevenson and Rene Russo and is being directed by Kenneth Branagh (Mary Shelley's Frankenstein).
"That's a really big one, a really big movie," Oscar winner Hopkins said a couple of weeks ago while promoting The Wolfman. "I'm a big Ken Branagh [fan]. I think he's an extraordinary guy, a wonderful actor and a terrific director. He's one of the easiest guys to be with. He doesn't shout or scream. He just is very gentle with everyone. He believes in his actors. He needs them to act, and he'll direct in a strong way, but he leaves it to you. Whatever you want, he gives it to you."
Hopkins didn't know Branagh well before signing on for Thor. But the two men had met previously as Hopkins had worked, twice, with Branagh's ex-wife, Emma Thompson, and they'd all gone out to dinner years ago. Hopkins got a better feeling for Branagh a few months back, over conversation and coffee in Santa Monica, Calif.
"He said, 'Would you take the [Thor] script and read it and see what you think? And if you'd like to play Odin,'" Hopkins recalled, adding: "I felt he was a very, very smart man, very bright and compassionate and well rounded."
Thor is in production now, with an eye toward a May 6, 2011, release.