'Thor' Director Speaks Out

Simon Emmett

Kenneth Branagh tells THR about taking on the high-profile Marvel project and what's next for him.

A lot is at stake for Kenneth Branagh, director of Thor.

His most recent directorial efforts -- Sleuth, The Magic Flute and As You Like It, all from 2006-07 -- were widely deemed artistic or commercial failures. And it's been years since he earned kudos for his most prominent pictures, including 1996's Hamlet and 1993's Much Ado About Nothing, and since the studios had him on their A-list for mega-ventures such as 1994's Frankenstein.

Thor is both his Hollywood comeback as director and, in many ways, his make-or-break moment.

Will he commit to more American films if Thor works?

"Yes," Branagh tells THR. If not, he says, "It's academic."

He seems surprisingly unperturbed if the movie flops.

"I've enjoyed it enormously," he tells THR, "and the commercial gods will have to decide whether it's a success.

Branagh is already at work on other projects -- The Boys in the Boat, about a champion rowing team that competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and Italian Shoes, about an isolated old man who has to fulfill one last request -- which may reteam him with Thor star Anthony Hopkins -- but Thor has to deliver if he wants to come back to the epicenter of Hollywood.

"I'm surprised I'm doing Thor," he says, "and yet it has a logic I can't fully articulate."