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Thor Star Anthony Hopkins Was Ready to Quit Acting Before Being Cast as Odin

Marvel Studios has put out a massive (and massively entertaining) new book called The Sory of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In this first “fully authorized, all-access history of Marvel Studios’ creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” we get testimonials from cast and crew from various MCU projects – including Keneth Branaugh’s pivotal first installment of the Thor film series. Well, one section looking at the making of Thor reveals the somewhat startling fact that Sir Anthony Hopkins was apparently about to quit acting until he was cast as Odin in Branaugh’s Thor movie! 

Here’s the excerpt from The Sory of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which shines a light on Anthony Hopkins’ feelings about the industry when he was cast in Thor (2011): 

“Although Hopkins agreed to be in the film after reading the script, at that point in his career, the Academy Award-winning actor was seriously considering retirement. Hopkins cites Branaugh as the reason he didn’t leave the business. ‘Ken Branaugh gave me back the chops to work,’ the actor shares. ‘I was gonna give it up, really. But, you see, he won’t let you do that. Working with Ken was quite an injection of new energy into my life. He seems to have that same infectious quality on everybody in the crew. His enthusiasm, his attitude, is so positive, that he brings out the best in everybody.'” 

It’s easy to look back at Thor now, a decade later, and know with all assurances just how fortunate Hopkins (and audiences everywhere) are that he did not, “give it up” before taking on the role of Odin. Not only did Hopkins help bolster the entire Thor franchise with the legitimacy of his Oscar-caliber presence (eventually drawing other Oscar-winning actors like Cate Blanchette into the franchise), the MCU role helped revitalize Hopkins’ entire career.

(Photo: Marvel Studios)

Up until Thor, Hopkins had stumbled to find success after his role as Hannibal Lecter; the actor had gone through the mid-to-late 2000s with only a few cult-hit films to his name (Fracture), and a lot more failed genre projects (Beowulf, The Wolfman, The Rite). After Thor, Hopkins hit what is arguably the best streak of his career, with prestige films like Hitchcock and The Father once again bringing him a second Oscar (for The Father). Hopkins has had the Thor films (and one Transformers movie) helping bring in the paychecks, and he’s even done great work on the small screen, in HBO’s Westworld, and HBO’s TV movie The Two Popes

In the end, it looks like Marvel Studios hasn’t just saved legions of fans with its films – apparently, it’s even saved a fair amount of its actors. 

The next Thor film, Thor: Love & Thunder will be in theaters on July 8, 2022. 

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