Thor: The Dark World's Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: Marvel Has Moved the Bar For Blockbusters

During an interview with yesterday in promotion of his upcoming comic book film Bullet to the Head, Lost alum Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje briefly discussed his upcoming role in Thor: The Dark World, his affection for Marvel Studios and his thoughts on Anthony Mackie -- Akinnuoye-Agbaje's co-star in The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete -- joining him in the Marvel pantheon.

Don't worry; there's much more to come, but we wanted to tease the full interview with a peek of what we could get out of him on the question of Thor: The Dark World. I always have a hard time wrapping my head around going from Thor, where everybody's wearing something that takes an hour and a half to put on, versus something like The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, where you can basically wear your street clothes in. Is there an adjustment to your mentality, when you're acting for a full day as opposed to all the prep time when you're working on something like Thor?

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: [Laughs] Yeah, there is a difference. Really, I play two characters, sometimes in the same day, so it wouldn't just be an hour and a half; sometimes it was four or five hours in makeup. But that's all part of the process and I think that process informs the performance.

Ultimately, when you get in front of the camera, it comes down to the same thing. I mean, yes you will have spectacular outfits on, and maybe ingenious prosthetics but when you do look into the eyes of the other characters, be they aliens or superheroes, you are going to be relating to them as an actor. So the job is the same, the process may be different, and it is a bit surreal.

You know, we were out in Iceland on these black volcanic mountains, and it's spectacular, and then you're in Brooklyn, in the ghetto, and those are distinctly different. And you enjoy both of them--I enjoy both of them--but yeah, there is an adjustment. The thing about doing a Mister and Pete, or even a Bullet to the Head is it's grounding.

It's very grounding and it reminds you of why you do your craft--as well as Thor, to be honest, because I don't know an actor who wouldn't say they would enjoy doing a Marvel movie. It's the height of the experience of performing, really. As a boy, as a man, you always dream about superheroes, action heroes, supervillains. To get to be able to perform them, or even two of them is great.

Yes, you're right--it's extremely different and sometimes surreal being in the mountains of Iceland and then in the ghettos of Brooklyn...but I think that balance adds for not only a healthy lifestyle but career, and it's grounding. Did you have any words for your co-star, Anthony Mackie, on that? You were already dealing with Marvel when you were shooting, but obviously he still hasn't started shooting Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet.

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: It's funny--when we were working on Mister and Pete, I was already prepping for Thor so I hadn't known about Anthony's involvement at that time but all I can say is, he's in very good hands and he's an extremely accomplished actor. They certainly wouldn't have chosen him if he didn't know how to do the job so I think they're both in good hands and I would just say enjoy the process; it's just great fun. I was hoping you could clarify something for me; when I talked to Tom Hiddleston, he told me that he's signed for like five movies or something; is that something normal that you all have to do as the price of admission into the Marvel Universe?

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: I think it all depends on the character. You never know what will become of what character--nobody ever really dies. I think that's all I can really say; it depends on the character you're playing. We were just hoping to see whether you thought Kurse might come back or whether Black Panther is still in your future.

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: I think my answer to that is that I'm just happy to be in business with Marvel and looking forward to continuing the relationship. And is it a really interesting working environment? I mean, you can find yourself just surrounded in the Marvel Universe now with Academy Award-caliber actors, with actors who are the top-grossing actors of the last decade.

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: Yeah, I mean look: I can recall the scene. I'm in the scene and Renee Russo is in my arms or beside me and I'm facing Anthony Hopkins and Chris Hemsworth and Chris Eccleston--and just about every great actor within that genre is in the room and you just realize it's a great privilege and honor. To be opposite Anthony Hopkins and to watch him work is just...amazing.

And you're right--Marvel has really pushed the bar with regard to tentpole movies and the caliber of actors that they put inside of them. I think that's one of the most enjoyable aspects of these movies. From Iron Man, what Robert Downey was able to do with the Iron Man character and particularly Thor, which is more thespian-oriented, right from the onset of Kenneth Branagh directing it. You'll find that even more so--you know, Tom Hiddleston did an amazing job with Loki. These are stand-out performances and classic, classy actors.

So the genre is what it is--you're acting with some of the best actors in the game at the moment and that's always a great thing. The fact that you're among them says a lot for your own career, so I'm absolutely privileged and honored to be a part of that, and working opposite Mr. Hopkins, I'm really enjoying that. And Alan Taylor's approach is more the Christopher Nolan thing of a lot of practical photography--so when you sign on for this movie, you know you're going to be talking to people instead of inserted via green screen ten months later.

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: I think that's the most exciting part about it--the fact that you're going to be rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty. As an actor, that's what turns you on. That's what we did, is put on those costumes and we went for it, toe to toe, pound for pound, including those choreographed fights. It wasn't blue or green screen--they obviously need a certain amount of that but there was a lot of stuff that we--that I certainly did. I pretty much did everything myself. Obviously the dangerous stunts were done by stuntmen but I enjoyed the process of choreographing the fights; that was fun.