Kenneth Branagh Says 'Thor' Filming To Begin In January, Hints At Potential Lead

Kenneth BranaghEven though Marvel's thunder-bearing deity is years away from making his big-screen debut in "Thor," director Kenneth Branagh is bringing the mighty hammer Mjolnir down on the project. Despite a delayed 2011 release date, Branagh is hard at work chiseling the landscape for the upcoming superhero film.

"I'm working currently on 'Thor' for Marvel and we're planning that one. We're having a great time at the moment. We're in intense pre-production," Branagh told IGN about the movie's development, adding that filming will begin in January of next year.

The gap in time between now and January means that Branagh can work on his telefilm series "Wallander," based on the Henning Mankell series of novels about an existentialist police inspector. Branagh plays the titular Wallander alongside Tom Hiddleston, an actor who may or may not be donning the winged helmet for Marvel's "Thor."

"Tom Hiddleston is a great actor and he, amongst a number of others, has been part of the group we've spoken to and all that's still a work in progress," Branagh said of his "Wallander" co-star's chances of playing Thor.

Hiddleston certainly has some stiff competition for the leading role -- including Alexander Skarsgård, Charlie Hunnam and Josh Hartnett -- but perhaps his previous relationship with Branagh will give him a leg up over the competition.

Whether or not Hiddleston lands the part, Branagh is looking forward to working with the actor on another "Wallander" series this summer before diving headfirst into the Marvel property. Interestingly enough, the director finds that there's something in common between the police inspector and the Norse God.

"Strangely, there's a weird, pleasing connection between the Swedish 'Wallander' and the Nordic 'Thor,'" he said. "And as I've played a lot of Danish Hamlets, I feel as though my Scandinavian trilogy is forming."

Do you think Tom Hiddleston would make for a strong Thor, or do you prefer one of the previously rumored candidates? Thunder away in the comments section!