A new star, Cody Deal, will emerge this Saturday night, May 7, when Syfy premieres a new movie by Asylum films called Almighty Thor! Cody portrays the handsome Norse God, Thor in his first leading role along side Kevin Nash, Richard Grieco, and Patricia Velasquez. Marvel’s Thor will also be out in theaters this weekend, so clear your calendar for a Thor-ganza!
I was able to talk to the nice, young, muscled Cody about the filming of Almighty Thor and why you should watch both Thor films this weekend. You can also catch Almighty Thor May 10 through Redbox, rental stores, etc., and on Blu-ray May 24. One bonus to watching the premiere Saturday is that you will be able to tweet with Cody (@CodyDeal) throughout the movie. Check out all the details below in the interview.
AFC: You are relatively new to the world of acting, so tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became an actor.
Cody: I moved out to Las Vegas from Kansas when I was 21. I grew up in a small town of about 1200 people. I spent 18 months in Vegas. I moved there first because I wanted to be an actor, but I didn’t think I could just because when you’re from Kansas you think it’s kind of impossible. While in Vegas, I got with a modeling agency who did the Roman characters for Caesar’s Palace. They actually hire models to be Caesar and Cleopatra and the royal guard. They would tour around the coliseum taking photos with tourists and we would do these mini skits every night. I would introduce Caesar and Cleo and then we would take more photos. Caesar’s PR liked me and my look so anytime anything came in like productions, they would use me if they needed a royal guard. It was through that little gig at Caesar’s that I ended up doing gigs on The View and The Today Show. I escorted Sherry Shepard out on The View. I did the weather with Al Roker on The Today Show. You can see me for 0.2767 seconds in The Hangover. That was really a big moment in my life (laughs).
That’s really how I got my start. We used to make homemade short films back at home, and when I got on the set I realized this is a lot different from what we did and it completely built up my confidence. I took my first acting class in December of ’08. When I lived in Vegas I heard about Marvel’s Thor and found out they were looking for a complete unknown. I asked my acting coach, who coached Adrien Brody, to submit to the casting director, and they called us in! So I auditioned for that in March of ’09, and that is what planted the seed that I should take this seriously, go all out, and that’s when I moved to L.A. It’s been about two years and so far we’ve booked Almighty Thor, a TV series where I play a recurring role, an action comedy Superseeds, a straight to DVD film Cats Dancing on Jupiter. I’ve booked a lot of work and it’s been great because I’ve only been actively auditioning for the last year.
AFC: That’s great. A lot of people are out there [in Hollywood] forever and don’t book anything.
Cody: A lot of people are out here for years, and I am very thankful and humble that everything is happening.
AFC: Almighty Thor is going to be on the Syfy channel May 7! Are you planning a big party?
Cody: I was but decided to do a small private party. Syfy has asked me to tweet during the world premiere too so from 9-11pm eastern time, I am going to be tweeting live under #AlmightyThor. So anyone that wants to tweet with the star, they can ask me questions during the premiere, or say “hey, your movie sucks” or “it’s awesome.” Things like that.
AFC: Did you know anything about Thor before you got the part?
Cody: Not before I went in to audition for the big budget Marvel’s Thor. I had never heard of Thor other than knowing a little about Norse mythology. I didn’t really know him as a Marvel superhero. I knew Spider-Man and the more mainstream comics. But once I auditioned for Thor, I became obsessed and watched everything from pre-production to post. So when this low budget Thor came up, I was like, “There’s no way this is going to pass me by. I know too much about you and I look the part!” And I’d been training for 18 months at that time so I was ready.
AFC: Anyone can look at you and see that you are in great shape. Did you have to work out extra for Thor or were you already ready?
Cody: Well, I had to be already ready because the company that does these films, The Asylum, they do a lot of low budget “mockbuster” films. They cash in on the 50 million dollar marketing campaign that Thor had. The Asylum does these productions so quick that casting literally happens immediately, so they had to choose someone who actually looked the part. The casting director and director were really sold on my look. The producers were unsure about my acting ability. They wanted to go with a smaller actor. For some reason in their head, they felt like a smaller actor would be a better actor, which wasn’t the case. So they called me back in with the casting director and put me on tape, then the producers thought “Ok fine. If the casting director is his on set coach then we’ll hire Cody.” And that’s how it happened.
Now the cool thing with Chris Hemsworth is that he never lifted a weight in his life. He was just in decent shape from sports. I like that the casting director choose someone who had the acting ability who could look the part. He had to work out for 6 months which I think is great because they choose him based on his acting chops. I might have gotten away with people choosing me for my physique, but I’m hoping that, and the early reviews are showing that although I might have been chosen for the look, it’s my acting that makes me stand out. That’s what I’m hoping people will see. But at the same time, it’s not easy to put up your best work with so much pressure. We filmed the movie in 12 days. There wasn’t time to put up your best work, and I felt like that was a disadvantage too. I hope that a casting director will say, “If he can look like that on this, what can he look like on this?”
AFC: Right, you had no time to prepare!
Cody: No! I got the full script on day 4. There’s gonna be some really epic stuff, like OMG they shot this in 12 days, and there are going to be some days that were a little more difficult since they had such limited time to do visual effects stuff. We were definitely going for an action-packed adventure, so you’re gonna see non-stop action. Everyone knows that Thor has his hammer Mjolnir, but this is set before he gets Mjolnir. So, you’re gonna see Thor with all types of weapons that he wouldn’t typically handle, and the way our film is set up is that in Asgard you can’t have modern weaponry. When he arrives in Midgar, in L.A., it’s the first time he gets exposed to modern weapons, so you have him picking up an Uzi at one point.
AFC: That’s what I like to hear, non-stop action.
Cody: I did all my own stunts for this film, too. Literally, every time you see me, it’s me. I did everything. At one point I was doing wirework and they shot me 20 feet in the air, and about 10 feet down the wire snapped, and I plummeted down to Earth. SAG actually stepped in and said there were unsafe conditions, so we took a break for a little bit and then got back to work after a couple of days.
AFC: So you didn’t get hurt, then, in your plummet to Earth?
Cody: Haha, no, thankfully the Gods were on my side, so I turned out ok. But anyway, for the swordfighting I did for the movie I trained with the guy who did the sword training for Robin Williams in Hook, and Russell Crowe in Master and Commander. He had six months to train Robin, and six weeks to train Russel, and he had six days to train me.
AFC: It seems like it just wouldn’t be a Syfy film if you weren’t pressed for time and money while making it.
Cody: Yeah, but it gave me an opportunity to really learn and kind of show what I’m made of. I mean, the trailer for it got 125,000 hits on YouTube in just 5 days, which is unheard of for a Syfy film, and a lot of the other people I’ve done interviews with have said that they’ve never seen so much hype for a Syfy original film, so it’s pretty cool.
AFC: So, you’re six foot three?
Cody: More like six three and a half, but I play it down because to some people that’s almost too tall.
AFC: And your co-star Kevin Nash, he’s six ten, right? What was that like having him tower over you?
Cody: It was really weird. I played college ball, so I’m used to being around big people, but Kevin’s six ten, and if you see a picture of us together he makes me look little. I think we made a perfect father-son pair, you know? Odin’s supposed to be all-powerful and Thor’s all heart.
AFC: Are you planning to see the Marvel Thor?
Cody: I’ve already seen it, actually. I saw it a day or two before I saw the final cut of our Thor movie, and to anyone comparing the two I’d say that you can’t really do that. I mean, ours is a low budget Thor competing for TV ratings, and theirs is a big-studio Thor competing for blockbuster dollars. It’s like comparing Michael Jordan and Lebron James, I mean, they’re basketball players from two different eras, so you can’t really do that. I think that ours is the one that shows that you don’t have to have 150 million dollars to have a good story.
AFC: Did you have any specific favorite parts of Almighty Thor?
Cody: Yes, there’s one part for me personally as a new actor, it’s something I hadn’t really experienced. It’s a scene between Thor and his father, and we were very pressed for time because the sun was going down, and as I did it, we did it in literally two takes and we were done. And when we finished out the scene, Kevin Nash gave me a big bear hug, and said “Cody, man, when we were doing that scene I felt like that was really happening to you.” And my brother, my acting coach, the second director, all of them were really impressed with my performance. That was the first time, for me, that I felt like I hit that game-winning shot as an actor.
AFC: So is there any one person that you dream about working with in the future?
Cody: Brad Pitt. He’s a really great actor, and just seems like a real guy, y’know? I mean, he’s the guy who got started dressed up as the El Pollo Loco chicken, and I’m the guy who got started as Roman soldier at Caesar’s Palace, so I feel like we’ve got similar backgrounds, and he’s a big source of inspiration for me.
AFC: So, where all can people find you on the internet?
There you have it, folks! Check out the Almighty Thor this Saturday on the Syfy Channel!
This is the Action Flick Chick, and you’ve just been kicked in the ass.
- The Action Chick Doll Has Arrived!
- Thor (2011): Will You Be Thunderstruck?