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‘Avengers’ star Hemsworth powering up his screen presence
LOS ANGELES — Chris Hemsworth’s real superpower seems to be that he’s everywhere at once.
The star of last summer’s superhero hit “Thor” reprises his role as the Norse god of thunder in “The Avengers,” which opens in the U.S. on Friday, just weeks after his horror tale “The Cabin in the Woods.”
On June 1, Mr. Hemsworth will be back opposite “Twilight” star Kristen Stewart in the fairy-tale makeover “Snow White and the Huntsman,” and late this year, he co-stars in a remake of the action flick “Red Dawn.”
Meantime, he’s preparing to shoot “Thor 2,” due out next year, after he wraps production on Ron Howard’s race-car drama “Rush.”
It sounds like a superhuman workload worthy of Thor’s godly lineage, but “Cabin in the Woods” and “Red Dawn” are leftovers from before Mr. Hemsworth shot to stardom when he was cast as the Marvel Comics hero. The two releases were delayed for years because of MGM’s bankruptcy, leaving the 28-year-old Australian actor a little edgy about how those older performances of his will play with audiences.
“Selfishly, I look back each week and think, ‘Oh, jeez, I knew nothing last week, and now I get it.’ So to go back three years, I sort of cringe at the thought of what I did then as opposed to now,” Mr. Hemsworth said. “So that’s sort of nerve-racking to think that I’ve learned more than what’s going to be shown on the screen.
“But you have no control over that. That’s the nature of the business. I’m proud of all of those films and had a great time making them, and they all kind of are pieces of the puzzle that got me to where I am now.”
Where he’s at is an enviable place among young actors. The middle brother of actors Luke and Liam Hemsworth, he’s at the center of the big-screen mania for comic-book superheroes and has quickly branched into a nice range of other roles.
In “Rush,” Mr. Hemsworth plays British Formula One driver James Hunt. In “Snow White,” he’s the huntsman of the title, a rough wreck of a man who starts out as the fairy-tale princess’ would-be assassin but ends up her ally, training her to take on a wicked queen (Charlize Theron).
Mr. Hemsworth hesitated about the huntsman role at first, thinking the fantasy trappings might be too similar to “Thor.”
“Then I looked at the character and read the script and thought, ‘OK, I haven’t seen this version of it before.’ He’s a drunk and a mess. He’s an open wound, and I thought, ‘OK, this is a different entry point,’ ” Mr. Hemsworth said. “It’s kind of ‘Lord of the Rings’ on steroids. When I saw a cut of it recently, I was just blown away.”
In “The Avengers,” Thor’s evil brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) schemes to turn alien invaders loose on Earth. So Thor teams with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Mark Ruffalo’s Incredible Hulk, Chris Evans’ Captain America, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye to bring Loki down.
That’s a lot of superhero ego in one room, as most of the characters are used to having things their way rather than working as a unit.
“They all come into the film with a great amount of strength but then soon realize that none of their strength is as powerful as it can be unless they work together,” Mr. Hemsworth said. “It’s a bit of a message that working together is far more powerful than any individual cause anyone could have.”
To hear the cast and “Avengers” director Joss Whedon tell it, the same thing happened with the actors.
“I’d like to tell you some great story about someone being a diva or something, but everyone was pretty well-behaved,” Mr. Hemsworth said. “We kept each other in check.”
By Tom Fitton
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