‘WE MAY HAVE PUSHED IT TOO FAR’

With the next Thor movie set to hit screens in Novem­ber, Chris Hemsworth chats to Selina Den­man about films, fam­ily, fash­ion and fra­grances

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With the next Thor movie set to hit UAE screens in Novem­ber, Chris Hemsworth chats to us about films, fam­ily, fash­ion and fra­grances

I t’s hard not to roll out the clichés. The shoul­ders are broad; the eyes pierc­ing; the voice deep and sonorous. It would be churl­ish not to ac­knowl­edge, straight off the bat, that Chris Hemsworth is ab­surdly hand­some. The point, how­ever, is that he man­ages to claw his way back from pure car­i­ca­ture by be­ing al­to­gether rather like­able.

We are talk­ing about fash­ion, so I ask him who the most stylish per­son he knows is. He pauses, takes a mo­ment to con­sider. “My mate, ac­tu­ally, from high school,” he says. “He has, for a long time, sported a very tai­lored, nar­row-legged pant, with a rolled-up an­kle and a pair of loafers. And we’d all be say­ing: ‘What are you wear­ing, mate? That’s ridicu­lous.’ And now we’ve all caught on and re­alised, oh, ac­tu­ally, that’s pretty cool. He’s my as­sis­tant and I’ve worked with him for years. He’ll laugh that I’ve said that, be­cause I used to give him so much grief.”

That’s the kind of guy Chris Hemsworth is. The kind who has a school friend as an as­sis­tant; and the kind who shares screen time with the likes of Robert Downey Jr and Tom Hid­dle­ston, but still main­tains that his mate is the best-dressed per­son he knows.

Our in­ter­view takes place in the min­i­mal­ist con­crete­and-glass head­quar­ters of Ger­man fash­ion house Hugo Boss, in the in­dus­trial heart­land of Met­zin­gen in the south-west of the coun­try. We are here be­cause the brand has just (in a top-se­cret event that, in that won­der­fully Ger­manic way, still man­ages to be com­pletely un­der­stated) named Hemsworth as the new face of its Boss Bot­tled fra­grance.

In­spired by the smell of ap­ple strudel, Boss Bot­tled came into be­ing nearly 20 years ago, and is still a best­seller. “I wanted to make some­thing dif­fer­ent,” says An­nick Me­nardo, the per­fumer be­hind the now fa­mous scent. “Fruity notes are o en as­so­ci­ated with fem­i­nine fra­grances, but I wanted to use them to cre­ate a mas­cu­line scent, which was chal­leng­ing.”

If Hemsworth is to be be­lieved, there is fit­ting sym­me­try to his ap­point­ment as an am­bas­sador for a Hugo Boss fra­grance. “This is not a line; this is the truth,” he tells me earnestly. “The first fra­grance I ever wore was given to me by my mum when I was 16, and it was by Hugo Boss. It was Hugo Man – the one with the green lid.”

Since 2014, cam­paigns for the Boss Bot­tled fra­grance have adopted the strapline “Man of To­day”, with the aim, says Ingo Wilts, chief brand of­fi­cer at Hugo Boss, of ini­ti­at­ing a con­ver­sa­tion about mas­culin­ity and suc­cess, and how these con­cepts are evolv­ing.

Hemsworth is a canny bit of cast­ing. There’s a real­ness to him that is ab­sent in many Hol­ly­wood

stars – a sense of hu­mil­ity and hu­mour in the way he talks, jokes and laughs at him­self. “Chris Hemsworth re­ally em­bod­ies the per­fect man,” says Wilts. “He’s suc­cess­ful and strives for the best. He’s very hand­some, but also very fam­ily-driven; and he’s very nice and easy to work with, which makes it eas­ier when you have to spend so much time with him.”

In­deed, if you were look­ing for an ideal of 21stcen­tury mas­culin­ity, you could do a lot worse than Hemsworth. Not just be­cause of his looks and ca­reer tra­jec­tory (which in­cludes films such as Rush, two edi­tions of Snow White and the Hunts­man, Ghost­busters,

In the Heart of the Sea, and, most fa­mously, a re­cur­ring role as Thor in the Mar­vel se­ries), but be­cause he clearly places great stock in fam­ily and friend­ship, and in main­tain­ing a healthy work-life bal­ance.

“For me, suc­cess is about the fam­ily and friends you keep; the peo­ple around you that you share your life with,” he says. “I feel very suc­cess­ful in the re­la­tion­ships that I’ve been able to form in my life. I’m very lucky in that sense. I have friends and fam­ily who are very hon­est with me and tell me how it is. But they are also very com­pas­sion­ate and kind and sup­port­ive. My big­gest suc­cess would be hav­ing chil­dren and hav­ing a fam­ily of my own now. It’s a lot of work, with kids, but it’s the great­est thing in the world.”

Hemsworth mar­ried Span­ish model and ac­tress Elsa Pataky in 2010; their daugh­ter, In­dia Rose, was born in 2012 and twin boys, Tris­tan and Sasha, fol­lowed in 2014. A er nearly a decade liv­ing in Los An­ge­les, Hemsworth and his fam­ily moved back to Aus­tralia a cou­ple of years ago, set­tling in the coastal town of By­ron Bay. He was at a point in his ca­reer where he felt like he didn’t have to be in the thick of it any­more, and had al­ways main­tained that he would like to bring up his chil­dren in Aus­tralia. Even when he talks about his favourite smells – “eu­ca­lyp­tus leaves, es­pe­cially in the sum­mer when they are dry and crack­ling and the smell is ev­ery­where, sur oard wax and co­conut sun­screen” – it is clear how in­grained the Aus­tralian life­style is for the Mel­bourne-born ac­tor.

“One of the great­est lux­u­ries, for me, is the abil­ity to live back in Aus­tralia now, and to come and go with work,” he says. “For a long time, I had to be in LA, right in the cen­tre of it, liv­ing and breath­ing and work­ing. And now I have the chance to come back to Aus­tralia, switch off in a dif­fer­ent world, a dif­fer­ent set­ting, spend time with my kids and spend most of my time out­doors. That’s pretty spe­cial.”

Hemsworth may have a predilec­tion for wear­ing Hugo Boss suits on the red car­pet, but will hap­pily ad­mit that his own style sen­si­bil­i­ties sit firmly in the board shorts and T-shirt cat­e­gory. “My wife says I have more board shorts than most fe­males have shoes,” he jokes. “I have a strange kind of ad­dic­tion to them.

“Grow­ing up, I never thought about fash­ion too much. No, maybe that’s not true. I was very par­tic­u­lar about what board shorts I wore, or what T-shirt. But to be able to wear beau­ti­ful clothes be­cause of my work is a real lux­ury,” he says.

“When it comes to suits, it’s got to be com­fort­able, so the ma­te­rial can’t be too heavy and stiff. It’s got to have enough strength to it that it doesn’t wrin­kle up and get crum­pled. I think it’s about hav­ing a great tai­lor. Be­cause there are not many, if any, suits that fit me off the rack, I al­ways have to have them tai­lored. I do like dress­ing up for an event or pre­miere, but at home, it’s board shorts, T-shirts and tank tops.”

My wife says I have more board shorts than most fe­males have shoes

The next time we see Hemsworth in a suit will prob­a­bly be for the pre­miere of his lat­est film,

Thor: Rag­narok, which is out on Novem­ber 3. So syn­ony­mous is Hemsworth with the gruff-yetendear­ing prince of As­gard that it is al­most im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine any­one else play­ing him. But, in truth, Hemsworth very nearly didn’t get the role.

The cast­ing call went out for a man over 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weigh­ing more than 90 kilo­grams. Hemsworth fit the bill, but had an un­suc­cess­ful first au­di­tion with Ken­neth Branagh, who di­rected the first

Thor. As it turned out, Hemsworth’s younger brother and fel­low ac­tor, Liam, did get a call­back and ended up on the short­list for the role. Luck­ily for at least one Hemsworth, none of the short­listed ac­tors made it through, so Chris, fu­elled, he ad­mits, by a healthy dose of sib­ling ri­valry, de­cided to give it an­other go. The rest, as they say, is Norse his­tory.

Thor fa­mously didn’t ap­pear in the last Avengers movie (if you haven’t seen Hemsworth and Rolling

Stone’s spoof skit ex­plain­ing why, Google it now), and is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some­thing of a re­ver­sal of for­tunes in Thor: Rag­narok. If you’re one of the few peo­ple in the world who hasn’t seen the trailer yet (within 24 hours of be­ing re­leased, it had gar­nered a whop­ping 136 mil­lion views, a record for both Mar­vel and its par­ent com­pany Dis­ney), here’s a quick re­cap: Thor is im­pris­oned on the other side of the uni­verse with­out his mighty ham­mer, which has been de­stroyed by a very pow­er­ful-look­ing Cate Blanchett, who plays god­dess of death Hela; As­gard has seem­ingly been de­stroyed; Thor’s lus­cious blonde locks have been un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously shorn off; and he has to bat­tle the Hulk (sans ham­mer, in case you missed that bit).

“That was our plan. To de­stroy him, de­stroy his world and ev­ery­thing he knows and ev­ery­one he loves, and just rein­vent it,” says Hemsworth glee­fully. “He hap­pens to be on a planet where ev­ery­one else is pretty damn pow­er­ful too. So he’s kind of a reg­u­lar guy in that sense. No one gives a damn if he’s the prince of As­gard or what­ever. It doesn’t mean any­thing on this planet. We wanted to strip all that back and make him more re­lat­able. I had also got­ten kind of bored with how I was play­ing it. I wanted to do some­thing dif­fer­ent.

“Taika Waititi, the di­rec­tor that came in, is a ge­nius and has such a le -of-cen­tre, wildly odd sense of hu­mour,” he con­tin­ues. “He said: ‘I don’t ever want to hear ‘Loki’ and ‘this madness’ again.’ And I said: ‘No, I’m done. I’ve said that a thou­sand times.’ And so any­time some­thing felt fa­mil­iar, we’d go the other way, throw it out of the win­dow and start again. We may have pushed it too far; I don’t know. But it was a hell of a lot of fun and it’s go­ing to be vastly dif­fer­ent and unique to what we’ve done be­fore.”

There’s a lot more hu­mour in it, too, par­tic­u­larly in the in­ter­play be­tween Thor and Bruce Ban­ner, who, Hemsworth re­veals, hap­pens to be his favourite Avenger. “Def­i­nitely Ban­ner, in this film. He’s dif­fer­ent, too. He just had such a dif­fer­ent en­ergy. And we had such a laugh. There’s a lot more im­pro­vi­sa­tion and com­edy. It was just cool. I love Mark Ruf­falo, too. He’s the sweet­est, kind­est, most in­tel­li­gent per­son. He’s just one of my favourite hu­mans.”

There he goes again with that hu­mil­ity and likeability. If you were look­ing for an ideal of 21stcen­tury mas­culin­ity, you re­ally could do a lot worse than Chris Hemsworth.

LIKE A BOSS The Boss Bot­tled tele­vi­sion cam­paign, in Ger­many, was helmed by Drive di­rec­tor Ni­co­las Wind­ing Refn and the print cam­paign was shot by fash­ion pho­tog­ra­pher Nathaniel Goldberg

SCENT OF A MAN Hugo Man was the first per­fume Hemsworth wore when he was 16, so it is fit­ting that he is the face of Boss Bot­tled, be­low, a fruity but mas­cu­line fra­grance

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