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Have You Ever Wondered Where Adventures in Babysitting Got Its Thor Obsession?

By Fred Topel

Have You Ever Wondered Where Adventures in Babysitting Got Its Thor Obsession?

This year, Thor is headlining his third solo movie and his fifth big screen movie in the MCU. 30 years ago, Thor was still a year away from appearing on The Incredible Hulk Returns TV movie. Children of the ‘80s remember meeting Thor, kind of, in the comedy Adventures in Babysitting. Nine-year-old Sara (Maia Brewton) was obsessed with Thor comic books and covers her room in his pictures. So when they met the late night mechanic Dawson (Vincent D’Onofrio) with his flowing blonde hair and sledge hammer, Sara thought the future Kingpin was Thor. In disguise, of course. And didn’t remember who he really is because he wasn’t wearing his helmet. Yeah, that’s why a Chicago inner city mechanic didn’t respond to the name Thor.

At a Q&A following a screening in Hollywood at American Cinematheque’s Egyptian theater on Friday night, screenwriter David Simkins shared how Thor ended up in Adventures in Babysitting. First, he had to go back to his first draft, where Sara was not a comic book fan at all.

“In the original script, she had a crush on Dan Rather,” Simkins said. “I kid you not. She was a news junkie. It went through many iterations. Then she had a crush on the Chicago Bears. This was when [Jim] McMahon was big and [then Touchstone executive] Jeffrey Katzenberg wisely said no because ‘in 10 minutes nobody will remember them.’”

On the pro side, Dan Rather could have beaten Matt Lauer to the news cameo punch. But on the con side, a Dan Rather cameo would’ve only been funny to parents taking their kids to see Adventures in Babysitting. Cinematic history was made when the filmmakers went with Marvel, but Thor was not their first choice.

“Then we started landing on comic book characters and we tried to get Spider-Man,” Simkins continued. “That was our big push and that’s who we wanted. [Marvel] were like no, no, no.”

Simkins said they went down the Marvel roster asking for names, but it seems Captain America, Iron Man, Daredevil, Wolverine or any others were off the table. And this was before the rights were split across multiple studios!

“We went through the whole list and then finally I think Marvel came to us and said, “We’ve got this Thor guy. Just take him and use him and do whatever you want with it. It doesn’t matter to us.’” Simkins said. “We were like, ‘Okay.’”

At the time, Simkins admitted, Thor did not feel like hitting the jackpot, but he quickly proved to be a boon to the film. “So we got the runt of the litter, but thank God we did.”

Nobody tell Chris Hemsworth he's a runt.

Images: Touchstone Pictures