Jeff Goldblum Discusses His Grandmaster Role in Thor Ragnarok

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Jeff Goldblum Discusses His Grandmaster Role in Thor Ragnarok

In this new interview with Entertainment Weekly, actor Jeff Goldblum sheds some light on his elusive character in Thor Ragnarok, the Grandmaster. Goldblum also goes into detail about working with Ragnarok’s director Taiki Waititi and how much of his character he was able to improvise.

“I enjoyed it. What I particularly loved is the director, Taika Waititi. He really got me involved in this because I’m a fan of his, from Flight of the Conchords and all his movies, not only Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Boy but especially What We Do In the Shadows,” Goldblum said. Thor Ragnarok will be both Waititi and Goldblum’s first project with Marvel Studios. In the film, Goldblum will portray an elder named the Grandmaster, a character who loves to play cosmic chess with the universe. 

“When we first talked, he [Waititi] said, ‘I want you to do your particular version of this character without being comic-y or grandiloquent. I think you should do something that’s in your creative family tree. And also improvise.’ He was very interested in improvisation. We came to all those scenes and riffed enjoyably for the time we had. I don’t know what’s gonna come out in the mix because we gave him a whole bunch of different choices, I’ll tell you that. He’s great. Taika Waititi gets 10 Goldblums out of a possible 10 Goldblums.” Considering Goldblum can play anything from Independence Day scientist to lady-loving Earth Girls Are Easy visitor from outer space, it sounds like Waititi really let Goldblum find the character of the Grandmaster himself, instead of trying to force Goldblum to replicate the character from the comics. 

Elders of the Universe

In the comics, the Grandmaster is an elder of the universe, an immortal being whose race and world died out long ago. Much like Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Grandmaster loves to play games. He has studied and played almost every single game in the universe, making him the master of games. In one comic storyline, the Grandmaster challenged Death herself to a game to resurrect a fallen elder, the Collector. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Collector/Taneleer Tivan is played by Benicio Del Toro. Perhaps we’ll see Del Toro and Goldblum’s elder characters connect in Ragnarok.

Lord of the Rings alumni Cate Blanchet is also making her MCU debut in the film, as the underworld goddess Hela. Unfortunately, Blanchett’s Hela and Goldblum’s Grandmaster do not cross paths in the film. “I didn’t have scenes with Cate Blanchett, but she was in The Life Aquatic, of course, so we’d been in touch, and I’ve seen her since. I just adore her, so it was great to be in another movie with her, even just by association.”

The Grandmaster’s role will be largely antagonistic to Thor and Loki, as seen in the first trailer. According to Goldblum, he and Chris Hemsworth got along royally. “The other Hemsworth brother, that now makes two for me, and he couldn’t have been sweeter or more down-to-earth, like the whole family.” Goldblum previously starred opposite Liam Hemsworth in last summer’s alien blockbuster Independence Day Resurgence.

Thor Ragnarok hulks into theaters November 3, 2017. 

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