Actor Matthew Wolf discusses portraying the voice of Thor in Thor: Tales of Asgard
Thor, the live-action superhero adventure starring Chris Hemsworth as the God of Thunder, is well on its way to box office success, taking in just under $120 million after just 10 days at the box office. For superhero fans that want more Thor, but in a different format, Lionsgate is releasing the animated movie Thor: Tales of Asgard, which hits the shelves on Blu-ray and DVD on May 17. This new adventure takes place before Thor ever lifted Mjolnir, as he sets off on a journey with his brother Loki on what starts out to be a treasure hunt, and turns out to be much more treacherous.
Matthew Wolf provides the voice of Thor in Thor: Tales of Asgard, and I recently had the chance to speak with this actor over the phone about taking on this voice role. Here's what he had to say below.
I was curious if production on Thor: Tales of Asgard was going on at the same time as the live-action Thor?
Matthew Wolf: The live-action happened after. We recorded Thor: Tales of Asgard some time before the live-action was in the works, really. I mean, it was already in the works, but they hadn't gone into production. The one didn't have much to do with the other. I certainly will say there were rumblings of that happening. Then Kenneth Branagh became attached and it became this big thing, and Thor was getting a lot of interest, for sure. So, the pressure was on to get it right, and make something special. There was an awareness, a growing resurgence of Thor, for sure.
You did the voice of Thor before with the Hulk vs. DVD. Were there different things you wanted to bring to the character, as opposed to that first movie?
Matthew Wolf: Yeah. Of course, this is the younger Thor. He's a younger man, a teenager, in Thor: Tales of Asgard, so that, in itself, makes a big difference. At the beginning, we tried to make him a lot younger, but somehow, that didn't quite work. It sounded like he would never become the Thor that he becomes, and that we had laid down in Hulk vs. There's definitely a difference in approach to his personality as a younger man, and all the impetuousness that comes with that. When you're younger, you're trying to learn from your mistakes, and that's very much the case in Tales of Asgard. He's learning from his mistakes as he goes along. I haven't seen the whole live-action movie yet, but I've seen bits and pieces. From what I've seen, that's an element, I think, that comes into play in the live-action. It's interesting. I don't think that was something I knew about at the time, but the two films seem to have that in common.
It seems this animated tale could almost serve as a prequel to the theatrical live-action movie and a nice complement to each other.
Matthew Wolf: Yeah, I think so. I'm not quite sure where we join the story, as it were. In Tales of Asgard, it was something really new, a new script, a new concept, just for this movie. It's something that the fans have never seen before.
This may be the first in what could be many stand-alone adventures for this animated Thor. Have you been in talks to return for a sequel to Tales of Asgard?
Matthew Wolf: There haven't been any talks yet. When we did Hulk vs., which was some time ago, there wasn't as much Thor-mania, as there is now. There's a lot more buzz. I think Tales of Asgard has a lot more publicity around it, which, of course, comes from the live-action movie and it coincides with that, which is great. Maybe they will keep it going with another animated movie. I don't know.
What would you say is either the favorite part of the character Thor himself is, or some of the highlights of getting to do this voice for you?
Matthew Wolf: I certainly enjoy playing a sort of regal character, as it were. I've done a few live-action films where I've played a knight or something, and that was fun. I'm not a knight, I'm not royalty, so it's always fun to do something different from myself. In my mind, I knew the fans have certain expectations and specific ideas for how it should sound, how he should look, how he should act. I wanted to do that justice. That was very much in my mind. I didn't want to let anyone down. That's not to say I've succeeded in that. You certainly can't please everybody all the time, and that's fine. That's part of it. There might be some people who might not like it, and some people who love it. I certainly felt pleased with it turned out. I liked the film myself. I really enjoyed it. Marvel did a fantastic job and the animation was fantastic. It was fun to feel that we, collectively had, in my mind, lived up to the expectations. There were some fun scenes to play as well. When you're in a recording booth, and you're in a scene where you're battling someone, or some thing, you can't help but do the movements like you were on set doing it. You do end up moving about, but, of course, you've got to stay on mic. There's a lot of movement and there's a lot of movement in the voice booth. That's always fun (Laughs).
You really seem to mix it up between the voice work and live-action stuff. Is it important to you to strike that balance between the live-action work and the voice work?
Matthew Wolf: In my mind, they're not vastly different. Technically, of course, they're different, but in essence, they're really the same thing. They come from the same place. If I'm performing something in a voice booth, or performing something on set, they don't come from a different part of my brain, the thinking behind it. It's always about being truthful to the character and what's happening to the character at that moment. Whether I try to keep a balance, a lot of times, that's not in my hands. Some things I'll get offered, and some things I won't get offered, but I'll always do an interesting voice job and I'll give it the same weight as a great on-camera job. Of course, it's always fun to do an on-camera job, because people get to see your face, but, in the case of Thor, it's a great privilege and a great honor. I'm very fortunate to have done the job, so that's certainly one that would have always won out.
You have a few movies that are getting ready for release. I was curious about The Congress. Is there anything you can say about your character in that? I believe it's currently filming right now?
Matthew Wolf: Yeah. That was an interesting film. The director of that was Ari Folman, a very interesting and brilliant man. He made Waltz with Bashir. He was interesting, yeah. It's a voice job, but it's a film that's part live-action and part animation. It's based on a novel, a Spanish science-fiction book. It's interesting. I play Robin Wright's son in that movie. Robin Wright is playing a character largely based on herself, called Robin Wright, and I play a character named Aaron Wright, the adult version of him. The adult version of him is animated. That was fun and an interesting process. We were just in a studio space with no sets and just microphones. We would run around and do things and these microphones would just capture our voices doing those things. Some of it is captured on film for the animation later. The animators would use that as a reference.
It sounds like a really interesting premise. I can't wait to see it.
Matthew Wolf: Yeah. It is a pretty cool premise. It is said in a not-too-distant future, in Hollywood. It's interesting. It's a kind of sci-fi/drama/thriller.
Finally, what would you like to say to any fans of Thor or any other superhero fans about why they should pick up Thor: Tales of Asgard?
Matthew Wolf: Well, I think, firstly, because it's good (Laughs). I say to all fans that we did our best and I certainly hope I've done Thor justice. It's a new concept, but I think it's fun and I hope they're open to that new concept of him as a young man to see how he got there. I'd also like to say a big thank you to fans, in advance, for all their interest.
That's about all I have for you, Matthew. Thank you so much for your time and best of luck with The Congress or anything else you have coming up.
Matthew Wolf: Thanks a lot, Brian.
You can check out Matthew Wolf as the voice of Thor in Thor: Tales of Asgard, which hits the shelves on Blu-ray and DVD on May 17.