Stuart quits Thor movie over 'creative differences'

Caitlin McBride

Irish actor Stuart Townsend has left the big budget film adaptation of popular comic book Thor, after creative differences arose between him and the production team.

The star-studded cast was set to start filming today under director Kenneth Branagh, and in spite of Stuart's abrupt departure, he has already been replaced by up and coming actor, Joshua Dallas.

The Howth native (37) had signed on to play Fandral, an ally of Norse god Thor in the film, and while the full details of his departure still are not known, his decision has been put down to creative differences, according to sources.

Thor tells the story of a warrior cast down to Earth to live among mortals as punishment for his reckless actions, which rekindled an ancient war in the realm of Asgard.

The Marvel comic already has a huge fan base and the film is being tipped as one of 2011's biggest blockbusters.

The A-list production sees former Home and Away star Chris Hemsworth in the title role, alongside award-winning actors Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman and Rene Russo.

Townsend is no stranger to last minute recasting of big budget films. He famously lost the part of Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, when reports emerged that director Peter Jackson thought he was too young for the role.

He was later replaced by Viggo Mortensen (45).

Townsend had carved out a relatively modest acting career before catching the eye of US film bosses in the 2000 film About Adam, in which he starred alongside Kate Hudson.

His big break was the 2002 vampire film Queen of the Damned alongside late singer Aaliyah.

He is in a relationship Academy Award winning actress Charlize Theron, whom he met when filming the 2001 thriller, Trapped. The couple regularly visit Ireland and have attended the IFTA awards and Meteor Awards in recent years.