THOR IN A COMIC MOMENT
Another Marvel flick has inspired Aussie star Chris Hemsworth to add a bit of humour to his portrayal of Thor in the new Avengers film
Last year, Chris Hemsworth was kicking back watching Guardians Of the Galaxy (2014’s monster Marvel hit about a band of ragtag occasionally not-sosuper superheroes), when a thought struck him about his own godly onscreen alter ego, Thor.
The dude with the big hammer needed to lighten up.
“It made me realise that I definitely wanted to have more fun with Thor,” says Hemsworth, down the line from Los Angeles.
“I thought there was a bit of humour in the first Thor film, and then we went way too earnest in the second one.
“Guardians Of the Galaxy was a really good lesson in what audiences want to see.
‘‘It showed that people buy into these fantastical worlds through humour, not some godly god that no one can relate to.”
Thor, of course, is back in the latest Avengers film, Age of Ultron, the sequel to 2012’s box-office busting The Avengers.
Hemsworth believes Joss Whedon – he of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame and the writer/director behind Ultron – nailed the balance for Avengers fans wanting to see the usual fantastical elements of their beloved superheroes, while adding in the minutiae of what makes them human as well.
“Joss wants to understand what makes people tick and to get to the heart of these characters,” Hemsworth says.
“So to have these largerthan-life personalities, and to have someone who wants to ground them, is what’s impressive about him and, ultimately, what makes these films work. He’s looking at the smaller details, which we can all relate to.”
In Age of Ultron, Thor and his friends, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), are up against Ultron, an AI-type robot (voiced by James Spader) who has been created by Tony Stark, but who goes berserk on a misguided quest to save mankind by destroying it.
This time around, 31-yearold Hemsworth felt much more at ease on the starstudded set.
“For me, the first film was very much like the first day of school,’’ the Australian says.
‘‘I had this crazy nervous energy, worrying about getting to know everybody, whereas this one felt like a high school reunion, and just catching up with old mates.
“There was an ease to it, which is a luxury, because most of the time you have to force or fake an emotion with other actors. But this was easy. We were very fortunate.”
To get a good gauge on his popularity in the US, you need look no further than his taking of People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive title in 2014.
Hemsworth, though, wants to be thought of as more than just a bit of beefcake.
He credits director Ron Howard with changing industry and audience perceptions about what he is capable of by casting him as the late Formula One driver James Hunt in 2013’s Rush.
“Ron’s kind of a genius, and he brings something else out in me that I’m thankful for,” says Hemsworth. “It’s nice to be able to defy expectations.”
Hemsworth and Howard will capitalise on their something special by reuniting for In The Heart of the Sea, the true story of the sinking of the whale ship which inspired Herman Melville’s literary classic, Moby Dick. The film will be released in December.
Hemsworth had to drop a ton of weight for the role. “It was exhausting,” he says. “In fact, losing the weight for that film was more exhausting than putting on the weight for Thor.”
Hemsworth says he is happy to keep swinging Thor’s hammer “as long as anybody wants me to”.
He enjoys Thor because “it’s playing make-believe, it’s living out childhood fantasies, playing dress-ups and being a superhero’’.
Indeed, Hemsworth credits the birth of his three children (three-year-old daughter India Rose, and twin one-year-old sons Tristan and Sasha) for prompting a nostalgia for his own childhood.
“It sounds like a cliche, but all of a sudden you care about something else more than yourself, which has been a very good thing for me,” he says.
“I had been very selfish for a really long time.’’
Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in Marvel’s
Avengers: Age of Ultron.