Chris Hemsworth talks about stepping back into the character of Thor for Marvel Avengers Assemble and why discusses working with Joss Whedon for a second time after The Cabin in The Woods and why he likes mixing his time between blockbusters and smaller movies.
Do you think your Thor costume looks cool? I gather you had costume envy with Mark Ruffalo?
Chris Hemsworth: Mark had this stretchy, comfortable looking leotard/tracksuit thing on for the CGI reference and the motion capture, while we were strapped in leather and rubber and metal and capes and it was incredibly hot and uncomfortable. So, for the pure comfort factor and practicality of what he was wearing I would have liked to have swapped.
So, does that mean you don't think your Thor costume looks cool?
Chris Hemsworth: Even now, there's times when I go 'this is silly'. When you see it on-screen, you go 'oh, it works, it fits in'. But the truth is that it's not something I've worn before. They're incredibly uncomfortable and it's only once you see it on-screen amidst all the special effects that it seems to fit in. If you went walking down the street in it, in general, you'd get arrested.
The portrayal of your character in Marvel Avengers Assemble is somewhat different to the one we saw in Thor. In Thor, you were heroic and a God and people were in awe of you, whereas here you find a lot of other characters making fun of you. What did you think about that?
Chris Hemsworth: That's interesting. I do remember feeling quite protective over Thor when [Robert] Downey [Jr] was making references to Point Break, or Shakespeare in the Park. But I think a lot of that was about realising what Joss [Whedon, writer-director] is so good at - and that's [finding] that voice of the audience where everyone thinks it but no one says it. Having humour like that allows you to then accept it, I think. People are then on board and they buy into the fantastical world that you've created and accept these outrageous costumes. But what was tough about doing this, or what I think was tough about continuing with the character, was that the first film had a sort of 'fish out of water' naivety and child-like quality to the character that allowed for out of place statements. And I loved that because we were able to find some great humour. So, as he matures and becomes more aware and less naive, there's the risk that it then just becomes boring, predictable and straight. So, I think the challenge is to never lose that quality... that sort of unpredictable nature, or that child-like element of owning his environment and demanding things that others may think is out of place or unacceptable.
You've recently done The Cabin In The Woods with Joss Whedon as well. So, how did you enjoy working with him on both occasions and playing two such different characters for him? What do you think of Joss' talent?
Chris Hemsworth: Oh, it's great. The Cabin In The Woods, Avengers and all of his work has that common thread of intelligence and witty humour and, as I said before, the voice of the audience. He really lets things play out so well. The Cabin in The Woods was about four years ago and I was pretty nervous about it coming out, based on whatever talent I thought I had - or didn't - and what I'd learned since doing it. You look back each week and think you know more than you did then, so to look back four years is a scary thought! But that film is great too and it's been received really well and it was nice to have a rapport with Joss already because I kind of had to hit the ground running with Avengers. I'd come off the Thor press tour and there was no great rehearsal period for me or discussion. I finished on Friday and started shooting on Monday, so it was lucky I had a hand-to-hand with him. But I really enjoy working with him. Mark has said this a few times but he's much more of an actor's director that people sometimes give him credit for.
You've played Thor three times in a row now. Do you constantly have to hit the gym to stay in that shape?
Chris Hemsworth: Definitely through Thor and Avengers I maintained that weight and towards the end of Avengers took it off and pulled it back because I wanted to take it off for the next things I did. It was actually harder taking it off. And now the thought of putting it back on is a little daunting! It'll be endless buckets of chicken breasts, brown rice and broccoli.
How are your brothers in real-life? Not like Loki, I hope?
Chris Hemsworth: Not quite as mischievous as Loki... well, sometimes [laughs] - but definitely not as evil as that guy. But I can relate to the competitiveness. But the competitiveness with my brothers doesn't tend to relate to anything of any great importance... it's video games or surfing or back yard cricket.
Where do you live now?
Chris Hemsworth: I've sort of been all over the place. I've been in London for the last eight months shooting a couple of films and Thor 2 is back here in London so this is kind of my home at the moment.
Did you have a favourite superhero as a child?
Chris Hemsworth: It was more kind of just superpowers in general, playing dress-ups and inventing your own costumes and powers and trying to run through walls... which wasn't too successful.
A lot of actors seem to split their time between independent, Sundance-sized films and blockbusters. Do you feel there's a void developing in the middle of those types of films?
Chris Hemsworth: I think they support each other. I think it's easier to write off a blockbuster film, or performances in those films, because of the budget behind them and the special effects... therefore, it can't be as serious as something that's much more intimate and small and costs less. But the reality, I think, is that what gets films made is bringing an audience to it, so if you have an audience through doing bigger films that reach a larger audience, then it only helps that smaller film you want to get made to get financed. It is a different process for me doing a smaller film versus a bigger one... the smaller one can be more intimate. But not always! Also, on the bigger films they can feel like independent films. But it's more about good scripts and good directors, wherever they fall.
Interview: Rob Carnevale Photo: Marvel/Disney