- Associated Press - Friday, July 30, 2010

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Kenneth Branagh is directing “Thor” for Marvel Studios, and some think it’s a stretch for him to take on a superhero movie. He’s more Shakespearean, having adapted several of the Bard’s films for the big screen.

But the 49-year-old actor-director says Shakespeare’s characters aren’t unlike today’s superheroes.

Shakespeare wrote about “Henry V” centuries after his reign, and turned the king into a sort of superhero who could do no wrong, Branagh says.

“We know that we’re interested in superheroes, kings, gods, because of their sort of human-like failings. So it seemed to me not as much of a stretch as some people might think,” Branagh said at last week’s Comic-Con, where he presented footage from the film. “The stretch part of it is embracing the whole world of digital effects. That’s been something I’ve just loved because it’s _ if you can think it, they can do it. And that’s exciting.”

Natalie Portman, a star of “Thor,” said the story is perfect for Branagh to handle.

“Ken is very aware of epic stories and, you know, these sort of mythological family structures that are at the base of all the classic texts,” she said. “And the fact that this is classic mythology even though it is a super hero and a comic book movie, it was really a perfect fit.”

“Thor” also stars Chris Hemsworth, Kat Dennings and Anthony Hopkins. It’s set for release next year.



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