So what’s it like to work for legendary – or is that infamous? - mockbuster outfit, The Asylum? We speak to actor Cody Deal who plays the title role as the Norse God of Thunder, Thor, in the upcoming SyFy Original television movie, Almighty Thor . . .

What were your experiences working on The Almighty Thor?

We shot the entire film in 12 days, including a make-up day to fill in certain spots we missed. Shooting a whole feature film such as Thor on that time frame is close to impossible. Yet, we did it.

On a personal level as an actor, the filming planted the idea that if I could handle the shooting of Almighty Thor, I will be able to handle any future production for the rest of my life!

Considering that a major studio production can spend 3-4 days on 3-5 pages of script, our production ran most of the time shooting with two units simultaneously and having 20 pages to be shot daily, as we ended up so far behind. On top of the speed of shooting, the script continually changed and we got our final copy on Day 4 of filming, meaning new scenes and new lines.

Already shooting from 6am-6pm non-stop bouncing between both units; spending an average of two hours with my on-set dialogue (acting) coach, Gerald Webb, afterwards in my trailer running my character’s thoughts, feelings, and breaking down the text; the physical demands of the role of staying in top physical perfection (spending two hours in the gym six days a week); the hour or two that I could manage to throw in to run lines in bed before waking at 4:15 in the morning, was an unbelievable work load and called for an unbelievable work ethic.

Tell us about the stunt work on the movie.

I never once had a stunt-double, body-double, or any type of double. If you see me on screen, there’s no question it is me. You would think falling on your back, or falling on a pad, or taking any fall over and over again wouldn't be that hard. But it really wears down the body. But I worked through it never slowing down.

"Thor's final outfit actually reminds me of dressing up at Caesar's Palace on the weekends!"

Even when we were doing wire work, and the stunt went terribly wrong, and I was shot up twenty feet in the air, and around ten feet, the wire snapped, and I tumbled to the pavement and the small pad below, it still didn’t stop me from wanting to continue giving production the best shots I could give them. However, I was blessed to come out in walking form that injury, or fortunate to not be permanently disabled. In fact, SAG shut down our stunts for two days because of the incident!

What was the Thor costume like?

Thor actually has 3-4 outfits he phases through throughout the film. I wouldn't necessarily say any of them were uncomfortable, as many of them were quite the opposite. Thor's final outfit actually reminds me of dressing up at Caesar's Palace on the weekends, before moving to Hollywood, as a Roman Centurion, to help pay the bills. We wore a similar chest piece. If you're not used to wearing such a thing, it would probably feel fairly uncomfortable, but I felt I was in my element.

Were you ever a Thor fan?

I'm also asked a lot if I was a Thor fan growing up. I actually was a He-Man fan, having his sword when I was a kid. I loved that sword! I only became a Thor fan when I was living in Vegas for 18 months from Kansas and was called in to read for Marvel's Thor as they were looking for a complete unknown. So Almighty Thor was actually the second read I had for the role of Thor.

What would you say to people who accuse this movie on simply cashing in on the upcoming Thor movie based on the Marvel comic book?

I would say the first thing you have to understand is that a “mockbuster” isn't really what you think it is. A recent article was posted in two newspapers in Alabama and Tennessee (sister papers, I imagine, on and speaking about this very issue and highlighting Transformers and Almighty Thor.

It's titled "Mockbuster movies aren't what you think." And I quote the writer, Franklin Harris: "But if The Asylum ever pits its Thor against its Mega Shark franchise, that'll probably be fun to watch. And I'd rather watch a bad movie that costs less than $1 million to make than a bad movie Michael Bay spent $200 million making."

And many people are agreeing to this same idea, not to say one is better. Mockbusters are becoming somewhat of a cult-fad, and the proof is in the pudding, as the King of Mockbusters, The Asylum (and the creators behind Almighty Thor), had their most profitable year last year. These films are stand-alone films, and not to be confused with “spoof” films, such as Twilight compared to Vampires Suck.

With a $150 million dollar budget and another of that around $100,000, the films cannot compare with titillating visual effects. That would be given to Marvel's Thor, nor can the rest of it be compared. The productions' speed (and not just during production, but as well as post-production) can't be compared. Visual Effects for Almighty Thor was only given 3 weeks for the entire film! In reality, they would need three months to make phenomenal and flawless effects. But so it goes with a film with such a shoe-string budget.

The Asylum is smart in regard to the understanding that millions of dollars are being put into marketing Marvel's Thor, and timing a world premiere on a major network (SyFy) of a different, but similar film, is only a smart-marketing strategy.

Big studios used to do this all the time. Think back during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, where there was an explosion of volcano movies that were being made by different studios because it was hot at the time. And if you look back at the history of film, The Asylum’s business model really isn’t as different as you might think. What’s in now? Superpowers... Vampires... Etc. And you see all the big studios trying to find their in, in the world of vampires, fantasy, and superpowers. It’s all about timing and what’s in at the time and studios try to capitalize on it.

This new Asylum release is set to debut on April 21, 2011, followed by an international video release the following week. It’s an origin story centered on Cody’s character, Thor, where the young hero must battle the villainous Loki (played by Richard Grieco) before he destroys the world of men and gods. The movie also stars Patricia Velasquez (The Mummy) as the demigoddess Jarnsaxa who is Thor’s love interest; Kevin Nash (former TNA Wrestler) plays Thor’s father, Odin.



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