Iconic Actor Was Ready to Quit Acting Before Joining Marvel

By Doug Norrie | 1 week ago

marvel anthony hopkins

It’s hard to imagine a movie landscape without Anthony Hopkins. After all, this is one of the greatest actors of a generation, a dude who’s given life to some of the most iconic and memorable roles in movie history. But apparently, Hopkins was all but ready to call it quits about a decade ago, thinking he had reached the end of his run on the big screen. That was until a Marvel movie came around and a certain director convinced Hopkins that he had plenty more left in the tank when it came to acting. 

In an interview published in The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (via ComicBook.com) Anthony Hopkins discussed his decision to enter the then-budding franchise of films when he took the role of Odin in Thor. Hopkins credited director Kenneth Branagh with the decision saying, “Branagh gave me back the chops to work…I was gonna give it up, really. But you see, [Branagh] won’t let you do that. Working with Ken was quite an injection of new energy into my life.”

Whether he is overstating the true desire to have left acting at that time isn’t totally clear. There could have just been a moderate burnout considering the sheer amount of work Anthony Hopkins had put in over his many years on stage and screen. This is a guy with a resume as long and accomplished as anyone in the business. What is clear is that playing Odin in Thor was a departure from other work he had done. 

And remember, this was at a different time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These days, it’s no big deal for a big-name, iconic actor or actress to join the comic book fray. It’s almost commonplace in the genre now with the big studios continually adding all kinds of names to their rosters. It’s almost celebrated, but at the time was definitely not the case. Thor was just the fourth movie to hit the franchise and we were a long way from becoming the all-encompassing comic book world we have now. Anthony Hopkins joining on in a side role was a pretty big deal. 

Anthony Hopkins would go on to reprise the role of Odin in Thor: The Dark World and then again a final time in Thor: Ragnarok. And whatever renewed energy Kenneth Branagh gave Hopkins in that first Thor movie worked. The latter has gone on to do about 20 different productions since then some of which garnered awards season attention. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award in 2020 with The Two Popes and then won Best Actor for The Father. Plus, Hopkins was nominated for an Emmy in 2017 for his work on Westworld. 

To think it might have been the end of the acting line for Anthony Hopkins if it weren’t for the Marvel Cinematic Universe seems almost inconceivable. But sometimes just doing something completely different is the way to get excited about the work again. And that is what appears to have happened with Hopkins in Thor. Next up for the iconic actor is when he’ll join Hugh Jackman, Vanessa Kirby, and Laura Dern in The Son.