From Asgard to Afghanistan, how Chris Hemsworth took on the Taliban in 12 Strong
Chris Hemsworth goes to war in a film that should be called Horse: Ragnarok.
IN THE MIDDLE of a New Mexico desert, tanks are aflame, explosions tear up the dirt and Afghan warriors on horseback ride into battle. It’s all in service to 12 Strong (formerly Horse Soldiers), the true-life tale of a squad of American Special Forces, dispatched to Afghanistan after 9/11 to fight the Taliban alongside local tribesmen, swapping modern machinery for mares to navigate the mountainous terrain.
After flexing his comedy muscles in
Thor: Ragnarok, here is a reminder that Chris Hemsworth can still do tough, serious, gritty action. He’s not phased by the conditions. “This is most days,” Hemsworth tells Empire on set, matter-of-factly. “Dirty, explosions, gunfire, running around in heavy gear in the sand. I’m fucking busy, but we’re getting some great stuff.”
Hemsworth is captain of a cast which includes Trevante Rhodes, Michael Peña and Michael Shannon — all taking orders from director
Nicolai Fuglsig, a photojournalist who swapped snaps for shorts and ads, now bringing the story of the unlikely Afghan-american alliance to the big screen. “I knew we’d put a strong team together, and I wanted to find a strong leader,” Fuglsig says. “Chris has such an exuberance of leadership.”
Inevitably, with such a cluster of testosterone, there were also workout competitions on set. Surely the God Of Thunder can bench more than most? “Not when
Trevante’s around!” chuckles Hemsworth, who met his match with Moonlight’s muscle-bound break-out star. “People were saying to me: ‘Aren’t you supposed to be Thor?’ Apparently not when I’m standing next to that guy!’” He may be back on Earth, but some Asgardian spirit remains.
Clockwise from left:
Geoff Stults and Chris Hemsworth mid-fray on location; Director Nicolai Fuglsig briefs his star; Michael Shannon takes aim.