Chris Hemsworth Interview – Talks ‘Thor 2,’ ‘The Avengers’….
Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, who starred in the title role of Thor in Kenneth Branagh’s well-received film version of the Marvel comic book ‘Thor,’ has become one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood. This summer he’s starred in two of the biggest blockbusters in Marvel’s ‘The Avengers,’ where he reprises his role of Thor, and ‘Snow White and the Huntsman,’ opposite Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron. Hemsworth next stars in the lead role in Ron Howard’s drama, ‘Rush,’ in which he plays British Formula One driver, James Hunt. He recently starred in the Joss Whedon–scripted ‘Cabin in the Woods’ and also stars in Dan Bradley’s remake of ‘Red Dawn’ in the role originated by Patrick Swayze. Hemsworth made his US film debut in JJ Abrams’ ‘Star Trek,’ playing the pivotal role of George Kirk, alongside Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana. Here’s what Hemsworth had to say about his recent career at Wizard World Comic Con 2012.
What do you think fans can expect from ‘Thor 2,’ which is being directed by Alan Taylor? Have you seen the script yet?
Chris Hemsworth: I honestly haven’t seen the script. I know that Alan Taylor is directing, I’ve had a few conversations with him. If you’ve seen the ‘Game of Thrones’ series, it has such a mythical element that Thor has, but also such an organic reality. A lot of real locations, as opposed to green screen, a lot of great sets. I know that is certainly something they want to do with the sequel, ‘Thor 2.’ Make Asgard more liveable and more tangible.
I can imagine one of the biggest challenges of Thor is making him relatable to the audience?
Chris Hemsworth: Yeah absolutely, especially considering that the character begins with kind of the opposite of how the normal superhero is constructed. He doesn’t earn his powers through the film, or begin as a normal man. Thor, he’s already a God. It’s quite the opposite, we have to break him down, build him back up. Kenneth Branagh just kept saying to me, “Lets make it truthful, lets make it real. It’s you talking to your brother or it’s you talking to your father, don’t try to play a God.“ The costumes, the sets, everything else around us did that for us. For us it was about simplifying it and humanising it.
The Hulk/Thor fight scene in ‘The Avengers’ was definitely one of my highlights for that movie, what went into building that?
Chris Hemsworth: It was tough, a lot of the time it was basically me with a harness on just getting ratcheted into a wall, then they were like, “Throw yourself on the ground.” I was like, “I’m not doing too well in this fight!” (Laughs) It was rather painful, but then we have the nice big uppercut which I was thankful for. With that fight, a lot of the time it was me having to pretend….it was like being a kid in the backyard swinging a stick around. And then watching it come together and seeing that CGI creature in there, it was just very impressive. It would be funny to see of the outtakes without the CGI (laughs), me sort of shadow boxing the air.
When you first saw ‘The Avengers,’ did you realise the enormity of it? Considering that its been so well-received and has been breaking records at the box offices?
Chris Hemsworth: Yeah. I saw it actually in LA for the premiere, with a huge big audience. Your there with your fingers crossed and hoping, but then everyone started cheering at the right moments. From the get go, every character was introduced and there was a big uproar, it was awesome.
Do you have a favourite Avenger besides Thor?
Chris Hemsworth: Iron Man kind of started it all, so Robert Downey Jr is sort of the godfather of the Marvel world for all of us on that set. He kicked it all off and led the charge. I loved what Mark Ruffallo did with The Hulk, he’s one of my favourite characters, watching what he did – and especially those sequences of Thor and Hulk fighting. Hulk backhanding Thor through the wall. Reading that, and on the page it said, “And Hulk smashes Thor and his big Norse face.” (Laughs).
You’ve worked closely with Joss Whedon now on ’Cabin in the Wood’ and ’The Avengers,’ what it was like working with him?
Chris Hemsworth: Joss wrote ‘Cabin in the Woods’ with Drew Goddard, who directed it. And Joss, even though he wasn’t directing ‘Cabin in the Woods,’ he was on set all the time. He was right in there with input and what have you. But he’s just like the work you see, whether it’s ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ ‘Cabin in the Wood,’ or ‘The Avengers,’ there’s just that great sense of humour and lightness to the characters, yet they’re always interesting and complicated. There’s a whole lot more going on underneath it all, and that what’s so good about him, he has this sort of one-two gag, but if you look closer there’s often a pretty strong message under there. He’s highly intelligent, witty, funny. And working on ‘The Avengers,’ it was much different working with Kenneth Branagh, that was much more of actor/director discussion about character. Joss is like a fan, he would be like, “[putting his thumb up] Cool, that’s awesome. Next shot!” (Laughs) He’s a lot of fun to work with.
There must be a number of differences in playing Thor in his solo film, compared to ‘The Avengers‘ as a part of a team….
Chris Hemsworth: Yeah, there’s a couple of things. ‘Thor’ was obviously Thor’s journey, which is great because you get the attention of the director and it’s a lot more just you and them, lots of discussion, rehearsal. You really know what you’re doing, you know your through line. But it’s also nerve-racking because you’re carrying the thing on your shoulders. It was nice to walk onto ‘The Avengers’ and have that responsibility shared. But that’s also intimidating because there’s Robert Downey Jr, Samuel L. Jackson, a bunch of people that I’ve admired for years. There’s different directors with different processes, and I’ve never played the same character with two different directors. It’s interesting how the character does change slightly according to that. But both times it was certainly a lot of fun.
Working on ’The Avengers’ with all those guys, can you remember the funniest thing you witnessed on set?
Chris Hemsworth: There was this constant thing of wardrobe malfunctions. You know, you see the movie and everyone looks very cool and heroic, but then you’re doing a scene with Loki and one of his horns has fallen off (laughs). Me and Tom Hiddleston had a lot of fun on ‘Thor’ and ‘The Avengers,’ most of our stuff was always together – and especially our fight scenes. They would start off great, but then the both of us would get a little bit too hyped up. He’d end up smashing my head with has spear, or I elbowed him in the nose at one point, which was kind of an accident (laughs)….but he started it (laughs).
I have to ask, what has been like working with Anthony Hopkins as Odin?
Chris Hemsworth: It was on the highlights of my career and my life, you know? He’s always been a big hero to me. With people like that you can’t help but absorb and learn from. There’s absolutely no ego with him, with him being someone everyone on set kind of wants to bow to (laughs). There was always advice if needed and there’s such appreciation for the business even how many films later, he’s been in the industry for this long, but he still loves making films. That’s infectious to be around.
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