In Marvel Studios’ latest film Thor: Love and Thunder, the title character went up against the fearsome Gorr, as portrayed by ex-Batman actor Christian Bale. Gorr was dubbed “The God Butcher” as he wreaked havoc across the universe, slaughtering gods and deities after his own religious figurehead betrayed him.
If there’s one thing that some viewers took issue with regarding Gorr’s character, it was his overall design. In the comics, his physical appearance is dramatically different than how he appeared in the MCU. Comic book Gorr’s look included head-tails and a noseless face and visually read as quite alien.
So, why the change-up from otherworldly being to what was essentially Christian Bale painted white with some facial tattoos? Kevin Feige made sure to offer a reasonable explanation for the redesign.
Kevin Feige Offers Justification for Gorr’s Look
In the making-of documentary for the Thor: Love and Thunder on Disney+, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige defended the design decision made for Christian Bale’s Gorr. Director Taika Waititi insisted on not making Gorr a CGI mo-cap character for the film because they “would’ve lost all of Christian.”
“Gorr the God Butcher has an awesome look in the comics. We wanted to tap into that. But had we done exactly that translation, we would’ve lost all of Christian. So we made the decision early on that we didn’t want him to be a motion capture character. There are incredible ways of doing that, but with this particular actor in this particular character, Taika really believed, rightfully so, that we could achieve that with makeup.”
Brian Chapek, Disney CEO and producer on Love and Thunder, added that Bale really dove in straight away and found what made Gorr tick for him:
“[Bale] just immediately took the charge and said that, ‘I know who this character is,’ down to the tiny details of the length of his fingernails, just how scary he is, color of the practical paint we gave him, the scars and these amazing tattoos indicative and representative of his past.”
What’s more is that Taika Waititi was quick to praise the actor, giving him some extremely high marks:
“Christian is someone I’ve admired for many, many years. Obviously, he’s one of the greatest, I think possible the greatest actor that’s working at the moment.”
Waititi also stated that in terms of villains for Thor 4, Gorr was one of the only choices they were considering.
“When we talked about villains, there were only a few names that we threw about, and his was at the top of that list pretty early on.”
Gorr’s Aesthetics Were a Benefit
Bale, true to form, gave a very emotional and expressive performance, so it definitely would not have been as strong an acting job from the him if the character was digital.
Think about it: Although modern day motion capture technology can pick up all the tiny little nuances in facial expressions that an actor can muster (See Mark Ruffalo as Smart Hulk) it makes no difference whatsoeever if the character has an alien-looking appearance with limited facial anatomy.
So, at the end of the day, Marvel and Taika probably made the right move in choosing to go practical with Gorr’s look for the movie.