Pietro Talks With Joshua Dallas About Playing Fandral of The Warriors Three in THOR
Exclusive: The up and coming actor is set to star in one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer. Hear how he landed and prepared for his role as the philandering and devoted warrior, plus his other upcoming projects, after the jump.
Joshua Dallas is addicted to surfing. The Kentucky native didn't always have a penchant for chasing overhead, though, it wasn't until he visited the tropical set of the the popular CBS series Hawaii Five-0 to film his guest spot that he picked up the sport. "Hawaii created my new obsession with surfing, I'm going a least 3 times a week now." Recreation aside, Dallas' love of the re-imagined series is what pushed him to be a part of it's inaugural season. "I mean who wouldn't want to be on Hawaii 5-0. It's one of those shows that's part of peoples lives, I certainly loved it when I was growing up. And this new version is done so well and the people involved have a real love for it.
"We got a call from CBS offering me the part and I thought 'Great!' I read the script and felt the character Ben Bass had [an important message] to say and also he got to hang with the lovely and beautiful Kono (Grace Park)." The episode Joshua appeared in, "Ko'olauloa," had him portraying the heir to a surf company CEO who, years earlier, ditched the high profile celebrity lifestyle to become an environmentalist. The ending of the episode, showing the amicable reunion of Ben and Kono, appeared to hint at his eventual return. "Ben is still on the Island so who knows. Maybe we'll be seeing him again."
Between sneaking off to get his beach time in and making guest appearances on other television series -- he can be seen next on the February 17th episode of CSI titled "Targets of Obsession" -- Dallas is carefully wading through feature film offers. This summer, movie goers around the world will see him bring to life the popular comic book character Fandral of The Warriors Three in Marvel Studios' cinematic adaptation Thor. The role of Fandral wasn't always his, though; it was originally awarded to Stuart Townsend who parted with the production for unknown reasons days before the camera were set to role. Dallas wasn't just at the right place at the right time to step into the character's boots; he impressed the filmmakers so much during his audition the role was offered to him almost immediately.
"I came on to the project quite late in the game, 4 days to be exact. I had just arrived into LA from London were I was shooting a drama with Nick Frost. I got a call from the casting directors on THOR [Tamara Notcutt and Randi Hiller] asking if I would come and meet with heads of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige and Louis D'Esposito and Director Ken Branagh. Thirty minutes after the meeting, I was offered the role and they told me to get back down to the studio as soon as possible. This was a Thursday evening and I started shooting Monday morning!
"So that whole weekend was about costume fittings, meeting the other actors, discussions with Ken and stunt calls to learn one of the biggest fight sequences in the movie. It was certainly a baptism by fire!" With hardly any time to prep for part before the cameras began to role, Joshua was facing another slight problem: getting to know the other two members of the inseparable Warriors Three, Ray Stevenson (Volstagg) and Tadanobu Asano (Hogun). "Because I came on to the picture late we had no time to bond before starting to shoot, so we had to create that chemistry instantly. It wasn't hard. Both Ray and Tad are such great guys and actors. There might have been a few... late night parties after that first week... just to deepen the bond. But I'm not saying anything."
On a production this large, literally hundreds of key players are swarming the sets throughout the day performing every task from lighting changes to catering to fixing last minute wardrobe malfunctions. But even through all the commotion, Marvel staffers kept their presence known and lent a hand to the actors bring the beloved comic characters to life. "Co-Producer Craig Kyle was on set with us everyday, these stories and characters are so close to him. He was totally invaluable to us on set. He knows the comics -- and not just THOR but all Marvel comics backwards and forwards. [He's] a connoisseur. We could go to him if we wanted to know more history of the characters or maybe how they would respond in a certain situation.
"We also had a couple of days when Walt Simonson was with us on set. He said to me "You look perfect and you sound perfect...You're Fandral!" That's all I needed! He drew me an amazing picture of Fandral that's framed in my office along with the kick ass poster of THOR Olly Moss designed."
Dallas didn't just rely on the guidance of others to help him embody the dashing warrior; he took it upon himself to create a live-action interpretation of the character that was largely inspired by the great Errol Flynn. "I certainly used Errol flynn and the comics. The whole character of Fandral in the comics was inspired around Errol Flynn. I think I watched all his movies, "Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk," "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and "The Charge of the Light Brigade" in particular. Flynn had this reputation as a dashing Lothario and party animal -- much like Fandral -- and Flynn was a master at sword fights so I wanted to capture a bit of [his] finesse and pace, not only in Fandrals character but also in his fighting style. And with all that finesse in his sword play, I also wanted Fandral to be more brutal and ferocious. He is a warrior after all."
The Warriors Three -- Fandral, Volstagg and Hogun -- are known for offering a relaxed and many times humorous presence in the comics as well as being the fiercest fighters in Asgard. This tone definitely translates to the film, but Joshua wants to remind fans that "comedic relief" isn't their primary purpose. "They are warriors first and foremost. I think that's where we all started and then let the characters individual personalities mix together. I still haven't seen a final cut so anything can happen, but there was definitely a lot of charm with the Warriors Three in the script and I think they have a lot charisma as characters. Especially once the story brings us to Earth.
"Then it becomes about these Asgardian Gods coming to contemporary Earth and looking completely out of context. It's great! This is an epic story. So there is a lot to get into and many characters to meet along the way. We're starting at the very origins of Thor and his family and The Warriors Three are right by his side, forever loyal. What drew me in is that [this is] a movie that already has a huge fan base. To be part of a project that already has an audience that is so excited about the material before it even comes out, is a very intoxicating thing. Also, Fandral's not a bad guy to live with for 5 1/2 months." When asked to pick only three words to describe his portrayal of Fandral, Joshua keep it clear and concise: "Philandering, devoted, warrior."
Thor is still close to four months away from theatrical release, but you can catch Dallas portraying a more dramatic role alongside Kelly Adams (Bronson) and Stacy Keach (American History X, Prison Break) in one of his first films The Boxer. He portrays an ex-con who reluctantly agrees to become a fighter, due mostly to pressure from a hard-nosed trainer (Keach). "Working with Stacy was great, I had seen him in the John Huston film Fat City (along with so many other things) and he's sogood in it! Stacy is a total pro, knows his stuff and wants to be totally involved in doing whatever it takes to make something better. He still has the drive and the passion for the work, I tried to learn as much as possible from him. The role attracted me because he's a guy with nothing to lose and therefore has great vulnerability, and I thought that would be an interesting thing to explore -- the contradiction between those vulnerabilities and the confidence of boxing. We shot the movie very quickly so there wasn't a lot of time for Boxing training but I did what I could and had a very intensive three week training period. Trying to learn the basics along with gaining as much weight and muscle as possible, I was playing catch up but that's good because so was the character in many ways."
Dallas continues to stay busy in the industry, working on several projects he's not at liberty to divulge at the moment; but he is "always pursing roles that have character and story with great directors and teams attached. I was starring in the upcoming horror film "Incident at Sans Asylum." It's a real shame actually, I was ready to start shooting the film back in November but unfortunately production had to move their dates to the middle of January and I just couldn't make it work with my schedule. In the end I had to walk away from it. The main reason I was excited to work on the film was the Director, Alex Coutres. He's great and even looks like a young Stanley Kurbrick! He's new to features but started as a graphic artist then moved into music video direction for lots of bands (most notably for U2). He has an amazing visual sense."
Though Thor fans didn't get to see much of Dallas' Fandral in the first trailer which was released last year, pretty soon there will be plenty of promotional material and new footage showcasing his mustached visage. Not only that, but a few lucky fans may even get to take special Thor keepsake home. "Check this out: I was just sent a hundred trading cards of Fandral to sign that will be placed randomly in packs of THOR trading cards from UPPER DECK. How cool is THAT! I get to play a superhero, get an action figure and have trading cards. My boyhood dreams are coming true!"
For more updates on his next projects, you can follow Joshua Dallas on his new Twitter page found HERE.
Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment present the epic adventure, "Thor," which spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth), a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and is forced to live among humans. A beautiful, young scientist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), has a profound effect on Thor, as she ultimately becomes his first love. It’s while here on Earth that Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.
Thor stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Jaimie Alexander, Joshua Dallas, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Stellan Sarsgard, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg; among others. The film is directed by Kenneth Branagh. Thor is scheduled for 2D and 3D theatrical release on May 6th, 2011.