As Marvel’s comic book heroes assemble for the ensemble AVENGERS movie next summer, this summer we get the origins and first movies for Thor and Captain America (THOR and CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, respectively).
Of course, bringing these heroes to life all starts in the casting with somewhat newbie British newcomer Chris Hemsworth takes on the mantle of the Asgardian God Thor who is banished to earth by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins).
It’s a role Hemsworth had a blast with – not only playing in the Shakespearean fantasy world of Asgard, but also getting a chance to play light comedy as his earth exploits find with without his super-powers and falling for a pretty scientist (Natalie Portman).
While promoting THOR, which opens this Friday, Hemsworth spoke about preparing for the role, working with the heavy costume and being Marvel Comics’ latest super hero to get his big screen close-up.
On his first superhero memories …
“I think Superman was probably the very first one I was aware of, and you know, I would run around the house pretending to be him,” says Hemsworth. “At some stage when I was a kid. I also had a Robin costume, Batman’s sidekick, which is [laughter] a nice pair of green underwear and a yellow shirt and red cape. “
On beefing up to play the Mighty Thor …
“The most uncomfortable thing was the eating,” Hemsworth admits. “I didn’t mind so much the working out – I’d never really lifted weights to that capacity beforehand, and it was certainly a whole new sort of education, for a good six months. I just don’t naturally sit at that weight, so I had to force feed myself with 20 chicken breasts and rice and steak – and all the very boring to the plain things. It wasn’t the fun stuff, either. It wasn’t hamburgers and pizza and what have you.”
On boning up on the THOR comics and the origins of the Norse mythology as well …
“I started with the comic books, but I didn’t read all [of them],” he admits. “There are thousands of them – 40 to 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 and they’re not swayed easy. And that spoke volumes to me about the character. 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.”
On working on the huge sets that were build for the film …
“We actually didn’t do a whole lot of green screen – we were lucky enough to work on these big, beautiful sets,” says Hemsworth who was also a fan of the exterior, CGI-created part of the world too. “I was blown away by the Asgardian palace and found it visually stunning – the waterfalls in space drifting off to nowhere and these ethereal castles which are a blend of Viking and futuristic elements in it.”
On working with director Kenneth Branagh …
“I had a great script and there were many different possibilities to the character,” says Hemsworth. “Ken was about exploring different ideas and not locking into one version. It was no longer walking that tightrope of right and wrong. Previous to this, I’ve been much more trying to micro-manage my performances and ‘my character only does this or this.’ Having Ken, someone you trust so much, give you that many options, it’s best experience I had. I completely gave in to his guidance and handed it over to him.”
Check out the theatrical trailer below
CLICK HERE for Exclusive THOR premiere photos