As a strong woman, you use whatever you have to protect what is important for you.”
Pataky is hardly a predatory creature, but she relates to Adrielle on a broader cultural level. “It actually surprises you, in a way, how much power you have as a woman over men,’’ she says. “The most complicated part is when you are growing up. I think it takes teenagers years to understand it. At that young age, you are very insecure.
“Women from the age of 30 or 35 feel more confident because they know who they are and what they can do and what they want. It’s good to see how powerful women become as they mature. You know about the world and you have a lot of experiences; it makes you totally different.”
Pataky is supportive of the global #Metoo and #Timesup movements but occasionally worries the pendulum has begun to swing too far in the opposite direction. “To have change, you must always go to the other extreme, just for people to see it and have a voice. But we have to be careful. Because I have two sons and I don’t want my sons to be scared, either.
“I feel like men are scared to speak [now] because they don’t know what to say, because they feel like we are going to jump on them if they say the wrong thing, the wrong word – even to just talk about the subject.
“And they should talk. They are our husbands and the fathers of our children. We need to be on the same page.”
ataky describes her adopted locale of Byron Bay as pretty much her dream home.
“I grew up in a big city, surrounded by cars and pollution. I always wanted to be in a place that was surrounded by nature,” she says. “Chris is the same. He grew up being close to the ocean. It was important for us to give this to our kids and to be able to enjoy it, too.”
The couple has embraced free-range parenting – every now and then Hemsworth posts an image of one of his kids’ more outrageous stunts on Instagram. (There’s a great video of one of the twins freeclimbing up the face of the family fridge to reach some chocolate.)
Recently, Pataky posted an image of one of the twins sporting a brand-new cast. “He snapped two bones in his wrist,” she sighs. “It was pretty tough, but kids are always breaking bones and they heal so easily. Perhaps the mums suffer more than they do.”
Pataky acknowledges that her children are probably a little more feral than their city counterparts. “To be able to run around, to be free, gives them such confidence. When I come to the city, or we travel, I see them as wild kids in a way. But I love it. It’s who they are. They are not used to [traffic] – everything in the city scares them – but they are not afraid of big spiders or big lizards.”
Nor is Pataky, for that matter. Unlike most immigrants, Australia’s deadly wildlife doesn’t intimidate her. “I have always liked animals, been attracted to them, like my daughter is now. She’s an animal whisperer.” Adrielle Cuthbert is not Pataky’s first villain. “My first big role in Spain [in Al Salir de Clase, a European version of Beverly Hills, 90210] was pretty mean. I was young at the time and in the beginning it was hard for me to feel that people didn’t actually like me. I would go out on my own and they would be hating on me. I was like, ‘I am not that person!’ But over time, I learnt to make peace with it because villains are fun to play.” It follows that given his close and ongoing association with Thor, Hemsworth must be very much accustomed to the reverse reaction. “Exactly!” Pataky says. “It must be really cool having all that love from young kids, to be such an inspiration.” But even Thor forgets to put out the garbage from time to time. Or treks huge, muddy footprints all through the house. “Totally. There are a lot of jokes about it with friends and family, for sure,” his wife grins. And it turns out Norse gods also have their blind spots – with Hemsworth, it happens to be languages. The couple’s three children are all bilingual. “I speak with them all the time in Spanish,” Pataky says. “In the beginning, it didn’t make sense to them. There was no use for it. But when we started travelling to Spain, and they saw that it was difficult to communicate without it, they got more interested.
“Chris is always finding excuses: ‘ I have to study this accent or that accent.’ He needs to make an effort if he wants to understand because, at the moment, he doesn’t. It’s like our little secret.”