Prior to directing Thor: Ragnarok, audiences knew Taika Waititi best for his work on comedic films like Hunt for the Wilderpeople, What We Do In The Shadows and Boy. Trailers for Thor's third outing made it clear that Waititi's experience making those films would inform his work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Ragnarok blending humor into its depiction of the fall of Asgard. In an interview with Collider, Waititi revealed that, as with his earlier films, he relied heavily on improvisation while making Ragnarok, later finding a balance between comedy and drama in editing.
"I've always found the script to be a bit more of a skeleton, the template," Waititi said in an interview with Collider. "We improvise most scenes. I'll be next to actors and yell suggestions at them all the time, and that goes for everyone from Tony [Hopkins] to Cate [Blanchett]. It's a bit messy, but from that messiness comes really great spur of the moment stuff. Then the main balance is found in the editing. So with most takes, I would do stuff that's way over the top and then bring it down and get something that's exactly on the page and then something that's a nice sort of middle balance where the tone is believable..."
Later in the interview, Waititi elaborated on the effect that improvisation had on the cast.
"The thing that has surprised me about all the actors is just how far they can push it if they're given permission to not do what everyone knows them for," Waititi said. "It's especially true for Hopkins. I think you can tell when actors are, like, 'Okay, they just want me to do Tony Hopkins.' We said, 'You've got permission to be funny and to really destroy what's come before and recreate it.' It's something that everyone as an actor wants."
The Marvel Studios sequel finds Thor (Chris Hemsworth) banished to the barbaric world Sakaar, where he's pitted against the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) in a deadly gladiatorial contest. Facing a ticking clock, the thunder god must fight his way back home in time to stop Hela (Cate Blanchett) from destroying Asgard.
Arriving Nov. 3, Thor: Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Cate Blanchett as Hela, Idris Elba as Heimdall, Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Karl Urban as Skurge, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/the Hulk and Anthony Hopkins as Odin.