Christopher Eccleston may have saved the universe as the Doctor but in Thor: The Dark World he’s intent on bringing darkness to all Nine Realms as Dark Elf Malekith. Speaking exclusively to SciFiNow at the London premiere for the film and asked him what the biggest thrill of being in a Marvel film was.
“Fighting with Chris Hemsworth! I know a few people who’d like to tussle with Chris Hemsworth. I don’t want to give too much of the film away but me and Chris definitely have a word with each other at one point in the film. My approach was to be lean and mean.”
While many of us associate elves with the ethereal creatures of Tolkein’s world, Eccleston emphasises that Malekith is something else entirely.
“Malekith is a dark elf and one of the problems we had with that is people associate elves with being kind,” he told us. “So in terms of what he was in the comics, he’s been given more gravitas, he’s heavier. He’s a member of an ancient race, he speaks his own language, he was humiliated by Odin’s father, he’s a very angry elf.”
Speaking of the elven language, Eccleston had to deliver the majority of his dialogue in this newly-created dialect. “It was difficult, yeah, but it was interesting to see myself on screen, physically transformed and vocally transformed. Six hours in make-up made me suitably angry! Hopefully it suggests that they’re as ancient a race as the Asgardians, that was the idea. We needed to be formidable, because he’s a big lad!”
He did reassure us that accidents on set were kept to a minimum. “I think I lost a prosthetic ear during one tussle. That was in the queue for the catering.”
Although he’s still associated with his stage work (“I love being on stage, and it’s the National Theatre’s 50th birthday today. Happy birthday National Theatre!”) Eccleston explains that superhero films can also connect with the audience on an emotional level.
“I would think superhero films work best when they address what it means to be human. So Thor in this film has a very different relationship with his brother, you’ve got his mother, and his father, this dysfunctional family, and also Thor is in love with a human being.”
As for what the audience can expect, bigger and better seems to be the theme.
“I think they can expect a funnier film. A much funnier film than the first one, and a darker look to the film. It’s called Thor: The Dark World, so in some ways more gritty, more realistic, but in other ways funnier. But I’m not funny!”