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