Who saw Thor: Ragnarok over the weekend? If you haven’t, make plans to go! The movie ragnaROCKS (read our Thor review here) and we loved talking with some of the talent & filmmakers during the #ThorRagnarokEvent press trip (invited and hosted by Disney)! So today we’re sharing our interview with Rachel House (who plays Topaz in Thor: Ragnarok and played Gramma Tala in Disney’s Moana last year).
Rachel was so kind and humble and funny! In her role as Topaz in the film, she plays the role of Topaz – a bodyguard of sorts to the Grand Master (played by Jeff Goldblum). So, she shares A LOT of her camera time with Jeff (which must have been hilarious on set). Her character was SO dead pan in the film, but Rachel is nothing like that! She was a joy to talk to. Q : While you were filming the scenes, there was a lot like really dead pan stuff. How hard was it to keep a straight face with all of that, which is hilarious?
RH: “You know, I’m pretty used to keeping a straight face, ‘cause I’ve done a lot of Taika’s films, and he, it’s always like that. But some of the other actors weren’t so good at it. [LAUGHTER] Like they were losing it, especially with Jeff Goldblum, ‘cause he was so funny. And, you know, that’s not even half of it what you see. It’s not even a quarter of the improvisation and stuff that we were doing, you know? And Jeff was just so masterful at improvisation.”
Q : Speaking of that, what was your favorite scene that didn’t make it, or something that you wish had made it in?
RH: “You know, there’s a lot, and I think, I believe that they’re gonna do a little kinda gag real maybe with the release of the film. There’s a whole thing we do with writing out a check, which is so bizarre in that environment. [LAUGHTER] You know and I’m kind of giving instructions on how to write out a check in my stupid Kiwi accent as well. It’s pretty funny I think. But yeah, Jeff was fabulous.”
Q : What’s your favorite part about working with Taika?
RH: “Just the fun. Yeah, the fun of it is really good. But, I mean, this is the first film he’s done. The others were very independent, therefore we had a very limited amount of time to shoot. So, you know, we [filmed] people with five weeks. And we had to literally run around the bush, and the mud, and the snow, and the rain. It was a lot of fun. But we had no time, you know? So, we just had to keep going. Whereas in, in Thor, because of the scale I think as well, we got to kind of breath a little bit. So, and Taika was allowed to play as much as possible. So, so, that was really great seeing him able to do that without any kind of time restraint, uh, as much, you know.”
Q : How did you first get approached for this film? Did he come straight for you?
RH: “No, he didn’t. I got a top secret kind of audition that I had to do through my agent. And she said, “Oh, it’s for Marvel.” And I said, “Well, that’ll be Taika.” [LAUGHTER] And she went, “Oh yeah, of course it will.” And then I was given this tiny little saying with a few lines. And then [I] got a very kind of drawl, uh, email from Taika saying, “Oh, by the way, you got the role.” You know, which is really lovely. I don’t know if they saw any other people. I’m not sure. But he sort of, I think he kinds of made it what he wanted to see me do, even though most of it hasn’t ended [LAUGHS] up in the film, but that’s okay. There’s better stuff in the film.”
Q : How did you get involved with Taika in the first place?
RH: “He was in a play in this little theater in Wellington, and he was the best thing about it, you know? I was a couple years older, and at drama school at the time. And, Wellington and I just met him after and said, “You were so great. You know, thank you so much.” And then started becoming a fan of his little crazy comedy stuff that he’d do with Jemaine and Bret, and, um, another guy called Nigel Collins. They’d have sword fights with straws and reenact Star Wars. And, you know, that was their comedy. So, I became a very big fan. From then, we just kept staying in touch. I mean, I had no idea he was gonna end up being a awesome film director. He was an artist, and an actor, and a comedian.”
Q : Do you have any favorite one liners from the movie?
RH: “You know, I probably do, but they haven’t made it in. I mean, the burnt toast line I really liked. That was one of about a 100 different things I said. And that’s the one [LAUGHS] that made it in.”
Q : Can you tell us a little bit more about any of the cut scenes that you really enjoyed seeing come into production, but didn’t see come into the movie?
RH : “Yeah. There was this whole scene where Jeff does a song at the keyboards. And, he made it up…right there. It was really cool. I mean, I think he had a tiny little bit to kind of go with, but then he just kept expanding. You know, he is a wonderful jazz musician anyway. So, he just expanded that, and then I would, I was sort of his back up, really bad back up singer as well. So, that didn’t make it in, which is a bummer.”
Q : Did you get along with Tessa Thompson in real life?
RH: “Oh, yeah, she’s a darling. What a darling. She’s wonderful.
Q : You made us laugh and cry in Moana. What was that like transforming to this character?
RH: “Um. Kind of easy-ish. It’s a kind of character that Taika always makes me play. [LAUGHTER] You know what I mean? It’s funny, ‘cause I just play all these really mean characters, and I’m not mean at all. I’m sort of really ooh about meanness. So, I think he kind of enjoys that.”
Q : Was it intimidating to step into the Marvel universe?
RH: “Yes. [ALL LAUGH] Yes. I’m from New Zealand, of course it was. But you get, you get over that really quickly. You know, when you meet people and there’s so many wonderful people involved in the Marvel universe, and just meeting them. And, yeah, they’re just people. They’re just normal people, talented people. So, yeah, the intimidation didn’t last long.”
Q : What did you think about seeing the movie with all of us last night?
RH: “Great. And, I mean, it’s so Taika. So full of comedy, and his unique brand of humor. And, yeah, and Korg was so great. It was amazing. And, you know, people back in New Zealand are just gonna fall about, because it’s such a familiar character. You know, that character is very real in our neck of the woods.”
Q : You worked with Taika a lot. You’ve been coined as his good luck charm. How do you feel about that?
RH: “Yeah, not good, because when you put that out there, you know, it can reverse. And for that I was really scared. I was thinking, oh no, maybe that’s gonna, you know, implode. But, it didn’t, thank goodness.”She was so great! So, make plans to see Rachel as Topaz in Thor: Ragnarok– in theaters NOW!!!!
Disclosure: Disney hosted me in LA in order to attend the film screenings and to participate in group interviews & media events. As always, all opinions, experiences, and love of Disney are entirely my own! All photos above are courtesy of Disney/Marvel and Allison Waken at Allfortheboys.com