“There are limitations to what men can do. For example, watching Captain Marvel I felt it would not be the same movie if she had been a man. When the female characters go into battle, they inspire bravery in their male comrades.”
Asano sees new possibilities for a female version of Thor that could take the character in whole new directions.
“I’m only speculating, but a female Thor could give birth, right? (Current Thor star) Chris Hemsworth can’t do that, but Natalie Portman could, which opens up new possibilities – Thor could actually have a child! I think Natalie Portman as Thor will be a positive thing not only for Marvel fans, but for all of us.”
Asano’s character Hogun was brutally slaughtered by Hela in Thor: Ragnarok. Nonetheless, Asano told us he would love to return to the role for the new movie if the call ever came.
Asano is one of only a few Japanese actors to have found success in Hollywood, while also maintaining a career in Japanese cinema. In addition to Thor, he has appeared in cult Japanese hits like Ichi The Killer, Swallowtail and Zatoichi, mainstream fare such as the live-action remake of Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Hollywood fare such as 47 Ronin and Battleship. He is due to appear in Roland Emmerich’s forthcoming war film Midway and the Johnny Depp vehicle Minamata.
Speaking on the challenges for Asian actors to succeed in the West, Asano said, “It feels like Japan is becoming more of a focus of worldwide attention right now, so there may be a chance, and if we Japanese actors are in demand then we need to be ready to step up and create more opportunities. That goes for Asian people living in the United States, or anywhere in the world, as well as us in Japan – if we can do good work then it gives our children hope for the future. Marvel announced a movie with a Chinese superhero [Shang-Chi], and Asian people are getting more opportunities to shine. Maybe one day the United States will even have an Asian person as president! We need to be aware of these things and do our best work.”
Asano is also an active musician. In addition to fronting the no-wave punk band SODA!, he also makes old-school techno music under his own name. At Fuji Rock, he played a set of his homemade techno tracks, featuring deep percussion-heavy beats and minimal melody. It’s not what you’d expect from a heartthrob actor, but that doesn’t bother Asano.
“I hope people will listen to my music for what it is, even if they know me mainly as an actor,” he said. “It’s all the same Tadanobu Asano. I used to keep my activities as an actor and as a musician separated, but now I see it all as one. I hope that fans of my acting work and fans of my music can all have fun together, and I hope to bring over more and more open-minded fans to my music.”
For more on Thor: Love and Thunder, find out the characters we’d love to see in it, when the film is set, whether Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster will return, and how Love and Thunder could do for Jane Foster what Ragnarok did for Thor.
And for more on what’s in store for the MCU, get the skinny on all of Marvel’s Phase 4 projects, all the new characters and cast members joining the MCU, why an MCU without the Avengers is (probably) a good thing, and what Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige said about Phase 4.
Daniel Robson is Chief Editor of IGN Japan and does the Twitter thing @NoMoreDaniels. He wishes he was half as sexy as Tadanobu Asano.