According to Swedish news site, Ystads Allehanda, the cast of the upcoming Marvel film adaptation (and Avengers context-setter,) Thor continues to get stacked with respectable names as Swedish mainstay, Stellan Skarsgård will now join. However, the exact identity of his role remains unspecified.
Thanks to a rough translation provided by ComingSoon, some of the details about his casting were revealed to non-Sweedish speakers/readers:
"Everything is still secret about the project and Skarsgård can not reveal what role he will play.
"They wanted me to sign without reading the script. That I refused to do. Then they sent one to me that was so coded that I could only print one copy," said Stellan Skarsgård to TT spectra."
The article goes on to point out the (possibly more than coincidental) fact that Stellan's son, Alexander (who has all but stolen the show in True Blood's second season as the "maybe he's good, maybe he's bad" vampire, Eric Northman) was at one point, heavily favored to land the title role for the film itself. Of course, the coveted role of the Norse God, would go to Star Trek star, Chris Hemsworth.
Stellan Skarsgård, a respected actor who may be best known as Bootstrap Bill in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, joins a film whose primary characters seem to already be set. Therefore, it leaves some to wonder exactly what role he will play within the dynamics of this cast (which already seemed set to go.) At first thought, one might think that this acquisition might be for the critical role of Thor's father and ruler of the mystical land of Asgard, Odin. However, that role has seemingly gone to British veteran actor and Shakespearean regular, Brian Blessed, who has played the role of "The King" in more than one adaptation of the Good Bard's tragedies. (Star Wars fans may know that under the cover of CGI, Blessed played the reptilian Gungan ruler, Boss Nass in The Phantom Menace with fellow Thor star, Natalie Portman.) Will Stellan be the villain, Loki? Nope! Besides being too old for the role, it has already gone to Tom Hiddleston. In what role will this power player settle? It certainly will not be "Random Asgardian Sentry #4."
Thor's director, Kenneth Branagh seems to be assembling a very powerful cast that conventional knowledge indicates is specialized towards conveying what will certainly be a "fall from grace" tragedy not at all dissimilar from the Shakespearean epics that he has already directed. Of the upcoming Avengers-themed films, this one possesses the largest risk factor in possibly falling flat in the comic-to-film translation. Branagh is a true legend in Shakespearean circles, who know the specifics of drama and character in ways most Hollywood directors will never know. However, he could fall victim to over-ambition and ratcheting-up the project's self-importance more than necessary. Case in point, his 1994 adaptation of Frankenstein with Robert DeNiro as the Monster, which had all the makings of a brilliant hit. However, the film (more than appropriately titled Mary Shelley's Frankenstein) stuck so hard to the specifics and metaphorical themes of the original novel that it became a crutch towards the storytelling.
Between the extremes of "poignant" and "superficial," lies a comfortable middle ground where storylines can remain relevant, while average moviegoers can be visually entranced. Let's hope Branagh is able to find that place. I know I'm rooting for him.