Chris Hemsworth is Thor

TheThor star talks Avengers and Asgard.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel


Chris Hemsworth is the man of the hour. The actor chosen to play Thor is about to take his place in the Marvel Movie Universe. We got to hear his thoughts on Thor at the press conference last weekend, as he gets ready to reprise the role already in The Avengers movie.


The day Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston actually hit each other:

Chris Hemsworth: We were shooting a scene and Tom was wearing his helmet. It was incredibly hot and all I could see was the sweat dripping into his eyes and he started shaking and said, “It’s so hot, it’s so hot.” The stunt guys came over and said, “Just watch out because I think he’s losing it.” He just whacked me with his scepter so I gave him a little bump.


Don’t feel bad. Even Thor can’t keep those pecs up.

Chris Hemsworth: I read the comic books and noticed the character was about 10 times bigger than I was or was ever going to be, so that certainly lit some fire in me to get in the gym and force feed myself buckets of protein and what have you. It was probably more exhausting than the shooting of the film, that lead up. I heard quite a few people at the beginning say, “Oh, he’s too skinny. He’ll never do this, he’ll never do this.” That was my motivation. It was good old fashioned body building exercises and eating copious amounts. The moment we actually stopped shooting, I had a couple weeks’ break from the gym and it disappeared rather quick. My body didn’t sit naturally at that weight. I had to eat a lot.


Asgard was even cooler than Chris imagined:

Chris Hemsworth: For me, actually we didn’t do a whole lot of green screen. There were a couple weeks there where we were lucky enough to work on these big, beautiful sets and interact with. The little green screen there is, the world of Asgard they created in the exterior shots that we weren’t actually involved in, you have waterfalls in space drifting off to nowhere and big ethereal castles and there’s a blend of Viking and futuristic elements in it. I was just blown away by that big Asgardian palace and how they assembled that. I found it visually quite stunning. You certainly had Ken there to paint a very vivid picture of what was going on. Especially in the Frost Giant scenes, Ken would be describing the glaciers falling and how you’re being attacked from this side. It was the best of what we could have in that environment.


How to wield the hammer of Thor:

Chris Hemsworth: We had a few different versions in the beginning. We found if it was too light, it looked like you were spinning around a toothbrush. It needed to have some weight to it and that dictated the way you moved. You actually had to put your back and legs into it and it looked more impressive and powerful. I don’t have an exact weight but it was pretty heavy.


What being Thor means to Chris Hemsworth:

Chris Hemsworth: The same pressures of any film, you want to do a great performance and you want to make a great film. So far we’re getting great feedback and great response to it. Whatever comes now, if it keeps me working, keeps me in the job, keeps me here, that’s the focus. A year and a half ago I was banging on the door trying to get an audition. To be here now working is incredibly exciting. It’s by far the biggest thing we were involved in but just our passion and love for films and these type of films, we’d be very serious on set and then run off and go, “Oh my God, did you see what just happened?” It was like being a couple of little kids.


Thor shattered all of Chris Hemsworth’s ideas about acting:

Chris Hemsworth: I had a great script that had many different possibilities available to take the character. Ken was certainly about exploring different ideas and not locking into one version. It’s a very freeing way to work. You’re no longer walking that tightrope of right and wrong. We’d send him in a very arrogant direction and then very vulnerable and ridiculous and goofy. Previous to this, I’ve been much more trying to micromanage my performances, my character only does this or this. Meeting Ken and having someone you trust that much and you want to give them that many options was the best experience I could have. Through the film I was often going, “Who is this character?” because we would go in so many different directions. Just completely giving into his sort of guidance and handing it over to him.


The Thor homework:

Chris Hemsworth:  I started with the comic books but I didn’t read all 40 or 50 years’ worth.  But I certainly read enough to get a sense of who he was and the world he was from.  And then I read some things on Norse mythology and this sort of fatalistic view they have that everything’s preordained and that leads the Vikings into this fearless sort of attitude in battle and with their lives.  They certainly back their opinions, I think and they’re not swayed easy.  That spoke volumes to me about the character.  Then you fill your head with whatever information and research you have.  But on set, it was just about making it truthful and finding a way, a simpler way that I could relate to it. Instead of thinking, “How do I play a powerful god?” it became about scenes between fathers and sons and brothers.  You personalize that, and that helps ground the story, I think, for an audience.  And then we can relate to it and hopefully an audience can, too.


Let the helmet do the acting:

Chris Hemsworth: With Kenneth, one of my biggest notes, one of his biggest notes for me was just let the costume do it, because I had this huge helmet on my head and couldn’t hardly see. And Kenneth would just say, “Don’t worry.  Just live in it, and just stay as still as you can and just let the costume and the opulence – of where I was, my bridge, which is beautiful – do the work.” And the script, of course.


Sharing The Avengers with other superheroes:

Chris Hemsworth: We don’t balance all the other characters, I guess.  That’s just the writer and Joss Whedon, who’s the writer/director, his job is to sort of navigate that.  We come in and do our bit and that’s sort of all you can really concern yourself with. I definitely think it’ll be an interesting combination.  Why it will work is that conflict in those larger than life characters and egos clashing, there’ll be some great tension there.