Interview by Diane Fleischman
The Marvel Universe Live show is on it’s way to the PPL Center starting Thursday, November 29th. This is an epic production of “Ages of Heroes” where more than 25 superheroes will be joined on stage in an action packed battle to defend the universe against evil. The show is chock full of acrobatics, motorcycle tricks, fire, and pyrotechnics that will delight all superhero fans.
Recently, The Valley Ledger, caught up with Super Hero, Thor, played by David Kinne, who shared what the story is all about, and life as a Super Hero.
TVL: David, what can you tell us about the show?
DK: Well, this is the second generation of Marvel Universe Live, and “Age of Heroes” is a very traditional story to the comics. It’s Loki (Thor’s step-brother), as the main villain. It’s a classic tale of Loki trying to take control of the world and universe. There are other super heroes and the Avengers who come to help.
TVL: I heard there’s something about a sacred wand.
DK: Right! The wand of Watoomb. It’s a mythical item that has a lot of power. It was in the possession of Dr. Strange and he kind of leant it to Nobacore, a faction with regards to the galaxies. Basically Loki hires Nebula to get the wand and retrieves it for Loki, but once he retrieves it he keeps it for himself. The universe becomes in danger, and that’s when the Super Heroes step in. Their mission is to secure the wand from Nebula, but also keep it from Loki as well.
TVL: Are there any defining moments for Thor in this story?
DK: I have to admit, Thor has some really good moments in the show. He has spectacular fights. In the finale, when everything looks lost, Thor actually comes out and has this really heroic moment where he turns the tide of the battle. It’s really inspiring to me as a performer, and I’m sure audiences are inspired and love that moment as well.
TVL: Can you explain the relationships that Thor has with his family?
DK: My father, Odin, is not in the show, but he’s a very powerful man. You see him in the movie. It’s kind of interesting because you see a different dynamic between Thor and Odin in the movie verses the comic books. Our show kind of touches on both versions. But you have to see the show to understand because we pull from the movie, but also the comics as well. I think in our show, Thor is just trying to live up to his expectations, and that puts a lot of pressure on Thor.
TVL: You have a brother, Loki. Do you feel your relationship with him is similar to real life brother relationships?
DK: I think our relationship relates to modern life, that you have that stepbrother verses real brother, and he’s always trying to prove himself. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, and Thor doesn’t see him as a villain. He sees him as his brother who is basically struggling. He’s not necessary evil, but someone who needs help. I get the sense that when I’m in character, Thor is holding back. Thor is not trying to destroy Loki, he’s trying to control him a little bit, to make him realize the gravity of the situation and learn from it.
TVL: Wow, so it sounds like a true case of brotherly love! How does it feel for Thor to have so many fans look up to him?
DK: What I love about Thor is that you see him in the cinematic universe, you have this great character arc, and you definitely see it in the latest movies as well. He starts off as a very confident, arrogant, hero. He wants to fight, and he’s aggressive. But by the end of the last movie, you see that he has become this more humble leader, so to speak, whereas before, he was a warmonger and somebody who just wanted to fight. To me, that is very respectful. Like I said, there is this huge character arc, and you can see that he became this idol. Whereas at first he really didn’t think about that, but now he understands the weight that it carries, that he does have people looking up to him and he is a leader, and I really love those moments.
TVL: Thor does have a huge influence on children. I think it would be cool to have a Super Hero in their pocket, so to speak, to get them through some of their tough moments, like fitting in with other kids, or maybe there’s someone who feels shy, and awkward, or even bullied. What kind of inspiration or advice would Thor offer?
DK: There is something that everybody likes, and no matter what it is it may be completely different than most people, you may feel you’re left out. But to be honest, we’re a lot more uncommon than we think, and some people even hide the fact that we have more common in them than we would like to admit. Never be ashamed of what you do like, and don’t like. Just be yourself.
Especially when it comes to this show, let’s say you’re a dancer. We have a lot of people who only had a dancing background when they started. They transitioned into stunts. They did things, so even if you think maybe you want to be a stunt guy or performer, but don’t know if you have the correct background, it doesn’t matter. Find your passion and really go forward instead of worrying about what the others think.
TVL: That’s great advice! So let’s hear a little bit about David, yourself. And what your relationship with your father is like.
DK: Well, I’m 33 years old, from Southern California, in Orange County. The way I describe my Dad is a typical American Dad. He’s a blue-collar worker with good values and good morals. I guess you could say we have a typical father-son relationship. We’re always respecting one another, especially growing up. He took me fishing, and there’s a lot of hobbies I enjoy because of him, and I’ve got a lot of aspects now such as performing, that I wouldn’t have got if it wasn’t for him. He’s spectacular, and same for my Mom. I had a really good childhood, and wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for them.
TVL: Did you grow up with Thor as your favorite Super Hero?
DK: I didn’t grow up as a huge comic book fan. And it’s incredible too because I really didn’t know much about Thor until I was cast as this part. I was really excited to portray such an iconic character.
TVL: What other kind of acting jobs have you had? Did you also play other characters within Marvel Universe?
DK: When I came to Marvel Universe in year one, I only had an acting background. I previously worked for Disney for a while and did local theatre shows. I got my college degree in Theatre Arts and specialized in live performances.
But I never did stunts. This is my first stunts role, and it was very easy to make that transition, but I was also concerned, like what did I get myself into? (laughing) So my initial character was called The Lizard, it’s a masked character in an incredible costume. He had a great entrance coming in upside down. I developed a lot of new skills that I was able to incorporate into the lizard character. I adapted very well with the show and later on they cast me as Thor, which was due to my persistence in learning new skills that was required for the role.
TVL: What do you love about this production?
DK: I love that everybody is sort of one big family and maybe it’s cliché to say, but you travel together, work together, and you end up doing things outside of work together. So because you’re in a new city every week, yeah, all you have is each other, and it creates a family bond. Holidays especially, we usually go celebrate Thanksgiving together as cast and crew. We also have barbeques; it’s one big family!
TVL: I asked Thor earlier what it was like to have fans look up to him, how about that same question for you, David, the actor?
DK: There was a very cool moment last weekend where we were finishing up a show, and after I got out of costume, and in regular clothes, we walked through the corridors of the arena where everyone is buying merchandise. To me, what is really nice is to run into the people who just saw the show and see their reactions. There was this little girl, maybe five or six years old and I saw her holding a Thor hammer and her Dad bought it for her. It made me feel real good about myself, and the character, and the show itself. She could have bought any toy, but she picked the hammer because of the impact that Thor made on her, and that’s always close to my heart.
TVL: That is so special!
DK: Definitely come out and see this show! It promises to be entertaining for adults as well as the kids!
TVL: Thanks, David. And we will be there!
The Marvels Universe Live show opens Thursday, November 29th at the PPL Center and runs through Sunday, December 2nd, with matinee shows on the weekend. With the creator of many of these characters, Stan Lee, and his recent passing, now more than ever, come see this tour of Marvels Universe Live unite and defend the universe against evil!