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The Director
One of the key decisions Marvel made for "Thor: The Dark World" was bringing in the incredibly talented director Alan Taylor. His filmography covers acclaimed and award-winning TV series such as "Rome," "Boardwalk Empire" and "Mad Men," as well as hits like "The West Wing," "Six Feet Under" and "Sex in the City," and more recently, the ground- breaking, gritty, fantasy series "Game of Thrones." With this wealth of experience, directing some of the most successful, well-written and well-executed drama and entertainment of recent years, Taylor was the perfect choice to helm "Thor: The Dark World," Marvel's most ambitious Super Hero movie yet.

Producer Kevin Feige relates, "We landed on Alan Taylor due to his spectacular television work on everything from 'Mad Men' to 'Boardwalk Empire' to 'Game of Thrones,' because one of the things we wanted to do on this film was to delve a little deeper into the other nine worlds and to spend more time on Asgard at street level. With Alan's direction we got a few more layers of patina, of texture, of reality into our golden realm."

Taylor was excited by the prospect of helming the film, stating, "I'd come to love having one foot in reality and one foot in fantasy. All of those things were coming together in this. Thor is a unique Super Hero because he carries so much weight of history and he carries a mythology. Those things gave him the kind of stature that I found exciting."

Although Alan Taylor was not a comic book fan growing up, he became acquainted with the genre's storytelling ethos with a little help from Marvel. "When I first came into Marvel and was introduced to everybody, they delivered three tomes of the Thor universe on my desk, and I started thinking 'Oh, God, that's a lot of homework.' I started reading through them and by the time I got to the point where Loki was a woman and Thor was a frog, I realized that you can find almost anything in this comic mythology and it was okay to sort of push it aside and decide what movie we were making."

For many of the actors, Alan Taylor was a major draw to becoming involved in the film; they were excited by his vision and his approach to the story and their characters. Tom Hiddleston comments, "Alan is fantastic. Within seconds he revealed his experience and also his openness in creating a really believable world." He adds, "I think he's had a huge hand in the complexity of the story. He's really good at the subtlety of things, and I've enjoyed his understanding and input of Loki enormously."

Chris Hemsworth echoes these sentiments. "Alan's got a great sense of story and a need to find the truth in this story and not have it be hokey and ridiculous."

Taylor's ability to bring humanity and realism into a film of epic and otherworldly proportions, while maintaining the hallmark humorous beats of Marvel films, made him the ideal director for this ambitious film. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje comments, "Alan has a natural flare for action, but he is also an actor's director and is very attuned to actor's sensibilities and also the relationships between each character. I think his special talent is bringing out the idiosyncrasies of each character and making them pop in an individual way."

Christopher Eccleston adds his enthusiasm for bringing Taylor on board. "I think it was a master stroke bringing Alan Taylor onto this project," he comments. "I think these films can get buried in externals -- the scale of the sets, the scale of the themes, the costumes, and Alan can do the visual and the scale but is all about performance too. He is about finessing in a performance, making it less theatrical, more organic, more throwaway and introducing humor. I think an audience will buy the stunts and the elaborate costumes and the elaborate sets if they believe in the performances."

The confidence in Alan Taylor extends to the below-the-line filmmakers as well. Production designer Charles Wood comments, "As a director Alan brings a lot of weight to a film like this. He cares deeply about the story and is very sensitive to all of these things and how to approach a Marvel film. Alan's been very generous and very engaging. He was very involved in what we were doing, discussing things and also bringing a lot of his ideas to the table. He was very opinionated in how he wanted things to look and we had a great relationship through this film."

For Alan Taylor, working on a film with the scale and scope of Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World" was an entrance into uncharted territory, but working with Marvel proved to be a very positive experience for the director. "Coming in, I thought the effect would be daunting and overwhelming, but the Marvel experience was not what I expected," says Taylor. "Marvel is unique. When you make the decisions, you're making them with filmmakers who are really excited about the characters and the worlds, so in a way it feels like a very intimate creative process."

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