Fandom Access: Exclusive Interview with Eric Forsberg - 5/4/11
Interview by Jamie Ruby and Karen MoulWritten by Jamie RubyAlmighty Thor
follows the title character, played by Cody Deal, as he becomes the hero that we know him to be today. The movie will premiere tonight on Syfy. The writer of the film, Eric Forsberg, joined Fandom Access this week to discuss the movie.
The Almighty Thor
is different than the marvel movie, because is based on the Norse myth as opposed to the comic books. "It's Almighty Thor
; it's the Norse myth. There's a big difference between this Almighty Thor
and the Thor Marvel movie that's coming out. That movie is based on the comic book, and that comic book took the character from the myth, and then created a story that imposed upon the character in order to create the identity of the human that was secretly Thor. And I didn't go that route at all; I went straight for the myth. The end of the world. One of the things about the Norse myths is that they're all about the Tree of Life supporting all the worlds on it until finally the fated and predetermined end of all time will occur in a great and final battle called Ragnarok. And when it's over, boom, the universe is gone. And so I took that theme and built on that and I have Thor being a young inexperienced god, the youngest son of Odin (Kevin Nash), and he because Ragnarok comes upon them is forced to step up to the plate and find the powerful god of the Asgard, or Valhalla, he has to find that god within him and really he fights and struggles through the whole movie to discover his inner power and he perseveres. So that's much more like the type of Thor that is in the myth than the comic book Thor
There are however of course still differences between the Norse myth and Forsberg's film. " In the Norse myth, of course, Thor moves from Asgard, which is the realm of the gods - the world of where the gods live, and he moves from Asgard into Midgard, which is where we live, the Middle Earth...Thor came to Earth a lot. One of the things that is so attractive about Thor to the ancient people, the Norse people, and even to this day, is that Thor was one of those gods that came to Earth a lot and hung out with people, like he really liked people. In the myth of course, the Earth that he came to was the Earth of the Vikings. But I thought, well, let's do the Earth that he comes to as the Earth of today. The gods are still alive. You know, this is happening now. Ragnarok's far more interesting if it's going to happen tomorrow than if it already happened a thousand years ago."
Another character that Forsberg borrows from Norse mythology is the character of Loki, played by Richard Grieco. "Loki is the nemesis throughout all the Norse and dramatic myths. Loki is a trickster god. He was not one of the gods; he was adopted by Odin, and then later in life he betrayed Odin, but for awhile he was Odin's right hand man. He was like Odin's advisor/counselor. He was very smart, but he was a trickster god, and some people believe that Satan is based on him."
Forsberg also uses the character of Jarnaxa (Patricia Velasquez) in the film. In original Norse mythology, Thor is married and Jarnaxa is his mistress, but Forsberg takes a slightly different approach, using her as Thor's mentor. "I decided to make Jarnaxa the gal he had the hots for in the myth. She was a fierce warrior. She was actually a frost giant in the myth, but I made her just a valkyrie."
Forsberg had already written for The Asylum before, with films such as Snakes on a Train
and Mega Piranha
, before this opportunity came around and they approached him for the film. "They're like, "Would you like to do this," and I'm like, "Yes, I want to make movies." So I take the jobs that come my way, and they knew that I was good at this sort of thing, and I pitched it right from the very beginning, and they liked my pitches the best, so they went with me, and I ended up writing the story. "Almighty Thor
was filmed in only twelve days, which is not abnormal for movies from The Asylum. "The shortest time that I've written a script in is nine days. But I'm usually given two to three weeks, although sometimes we have many months in development, but we never push the button on the script, until the money's in the bank...then the green light happens and usually they've already gotten the crew together and set a date so it's like, "hurry up and wait," or "wait and hurry up." Months go by and I'm like, "Oh can I start writing?" "Not yet, not yet, not yet." And then, "Go, we need it by next Thursday!" And that's just the nature of The Asylum, I think that if it happens at another studio it might be different, but The Asylum puts out fifteen movies a year...I had like I think fourteen or fifteen days to do Mega Piranha
, and that was like a luxury that I had that many days. But usually, I think Alien Abduction
and Sex Pot
were both done in eleven days."
Even if he doesn't start the script in advance, however, he still already has ideas in place by the time he starts. "I have it all in my head, by the time they push the button, to some degree. I usually get thrown like a weird obstacle, like for instance, I'll get characters taken away, or they'll change the location from the modern world to the ancient world or the ancient world to the modern world, or whatever. These things usually happen at the last second, but in general, I have a pretty good idea of where I'm going and what I'm doing by the time I start. It's really sort of a magical process. I don't know exactly where it comes from, but I'll stare at the screen, I'll just be thinking and thinking, and sometimes I won't be able to write, and then all of a sudden, it happens and then I just can't stop writing, and then it's written."
For Almighty Thor
, Forsberg was not involved much in the movie making process because he wasn't the director, Chris Ray was. "What I was there to do, is I was there to help him, and he came to me a couple of times and said, "We can't get this, we can't get that," or "we need it to be this," or "we're losing one of our actors and so we need this scene to be combined with that one because we have to shoot it on that day before we lose him," and things like that. And I would tweak it a little bit for him, but once he was out there, if he needed to change a word or change a line, or cut something because the prop that they needed in order to make it make sense wasn't going to happen, then he just did it himself. And some of the lines were changed, but for the most part, they were the script I gave him."
There were a few things, however, that didn't make it into the movie, because of the nature of the way The Asylum makes films. "It missed some things that I thought were wonderful...like David Latt (co-founder of Asylum) wants 125 pages, and that's a long script. Usually you go for a minute a page. But The Asylum sometimes isn't able to get everything that's on the page done, so they've got to have a lot of extra pages so that they can cut the things that they can't do and still have enough pages left to get a full hour and a half movie."
Regardless, Forsberg still loves to write, even if directing is his passion. "Let me put it this way, directing is my passion, but I'm a writer, like I can't stop writing. Ever since I was a little kid I wrote poems on a napkin in the restaurant when my mom went to the bathroom. I wrote plots on the edges of my papers at school when I was trying to take notes for history class. I've been writing journals since i was about eleven years old. I have about 275 volumes of a personal diary. I have hundreds and hundreds of poems, about fifty of them have been published all over the world in various little rag mags. I mean I just can't stop writing. I'm just a writer. But what I really want to do is direct, and so that's the passion that I pursue."
The best thing for Forsberg, is being able to do both at once. "It's easy; it's the best thing in the whole world, because I create worlds. The writer and the director are the greatest force that directs this creative energy to create a world. They populate it and they collaborate with other artists in order to make these worlds come to life. Now the writer starts the world, but the director is really the one that breathes life into it. The writer sort of sets the rules for the world and gives the shape to it, but...you know, that moment of the Michelangelo finger touching finger on the Sistine Chapel, that's the director. And so I like both, because they're a good combo."
Forsberg has acted in the past as well, but it's not for him. "I love performing and I love acting, but you know, my father's always mad at me for not continuing to act, but...in Los Angeles, I do fantasy, I do horror, I do sci-fi, I do comedy, I do action. That, as a writer and director, that alone is confusing enough. If I acted also, I might as well own a pizza parlor. I mean, it would just confuse the hell out of everybody."
Forsberg's daughter, Lola, however, has the acting bug, and can be seen in some of Forsberg's movies, including Snakes on a Train
, Sex Pot
, and Mega Piranha
. She also will be appearing in a fitness reality series on Lifetime in the future.
Forsberg himself has some more projects in the works. "I'm working on a bunch of other things. I've got some projects, Active Entertainment I've been working on some stuff with them and I had a great meeting with Roger Corman that might lead to something. And I just got representation for my television stuff and I'm in development on a pilot, sort of a cool, supernatural cop show. And then, I have a few other things that are going on, and I just talked with David Michael Latt today about doing something else for The Asylum. I usually do one or two movies a year, so one is due and it looks like something will happen."
Until then, be sure to check out Almighty Thor
tonight at 9/8 central on Syfy.