LIAM HEMSWORTH

Home- grown hunk Liam Hemsworth is not go­ing hun­gry for high- pro­file roles in Hol­ly­wood, writes James Wigney

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

Hol­ly­wood hungers for our bright young star.

SOME­TIMES it takes a visit to his na­tive Phillip Is­land for Liam Hemsworth to re­alise just how bizarre his life has be­come.

As one of Hol­ly­wood’s ris­ing stars, and Mi­ley Cyrus’s boyfriend, the ex­tra­or­di­nary has be­come mun­dane for the 22- year- old Aussie ac­tor – whether it’s par­ty­ing at El­ton John’s post- Os­cars bash or turn­ing up to work with child­hood hero and veteran ac­tor Sylvester Stal­lone.

‘‘ I live in this town ev­ery day and I have a lot of friends who are in the in­dus­try now,’’ the for­mer Neigh­bours ac­tor says, sprawled on a couch in the Four Sea­sons Ho­tel in Bev­erly Hills.

‘‘ But as soon as I start talk­ing to my fam­ily or my best friends it’s great be­cause I can go back there and be­come in awe about it all again.

‘‘ I talk to friends I grew up with and see how crazy they think it is, then I can laugh about it and be ex­cited about it and think ‘ Wow, this is crazy what I do’.’’ Life is about to get even cra­zier for Hemsworth, thanks to his role as Gale Hawthorne in the ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated movie adap­ta­tion of Suzanne Collins’ best- sell­ing sci- fi novel The Hunger Games.

He has a small but cru­cial role as part of a Twi­light- style love tri­an­gle that in­cludes heroine Kat­niss ( Jen­nifer Lawrence) and ri­val Peeta ( Josh Hutch­er­son).

The first in­stal­ment of the tril­ogy is set in post- apoc­a­lyp­tic Amer­ica ( aka Panem), where a to­tal­i­tar­ian gov­ern­ment rules.

Once a year, a boy and girl aged 12 to 18 – in­clud­ing Kat­niss and Peeta – are ran­domly cho­sen from each of the coun­try’s 12 dis­tricts for the Hunger Games, a tele­vised bat­tle to the death in which there can only be one sur­vivor.

For his role as Kat­niss’s child­hood friend, the mega- buff Hemsworth lost weight to re­flect the de­pri­va­tion of the char­ac­ters.

‘‘ He’s not well- fed, and I wanted to know what it felt like to be hun­gry, so I went through days where I ate very lit­tle,’’ he says.

‘‘ You ar­gue with your­self a lot about eat­ing food or not eat­ing food, or what you are go­ing to eat. You get a re­ally short fuse at times.’’

Given the an­tic­i­pa­tion sur­round­ing the film, the com­pe­ti­tion for parts was fierce. Be­fore this, Hemsworth’s big­gest role was the 2010 ro­man­tic drama The Last Song ( where he met and co- starred with Cyrus).

Hunger Games di­rec­tor Gary Ross was im­pressed with Hemsworth from the start.

‘‘ First and fore­most, he is just a re­ally great ac­tor,’’ Ross says. ‘‘ It’s easy to lose that with Liam. He is such a hunk and he dates Mi­ley Cyrus and has all this stuff go­ing on, so some­times you don’t re­alise he is a re­ally tal­ented boy and I think he will have a big ca­reer.’’

Lawrence shares her di­rec­tor’s sen­ti­ments about hunks of­ten not get­ting due credit.

‘‘ Guys like him don’t get taken se­ri­ously,’’ she says. ‘‘ We all wit­nessed it in the au­di­tion room be­cause we were all like ’ OK, he’s a hunk and it’s so sad be­cause he is an in­cred­i­bly tal­ented ac­tor’. He would not only bring it on his own but Gary would give him a note and he could change just like that.

‘‘ He is a re­ally great ac­tor – it’s a shame he is so hand­some.’’

FUN AND GAMES: Liam Hemsworth in scenes from

and with co- star Jen­nifer Lawrence ( left).

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