Asked what drew him to Thor, Hemsworth joked, "Being part of a franchise so I can pay rent. I mean, look, when this came along, this film, I was knocking on every door trying to get a job. Once having the job, I’ll tell you about what excited me. I love the Norse mythology aspect of it all. I think the Viking era is fascinating. He has a great journey. He’s a brash, cocky young warrior and he’s got to learn some humility along the way. Anything to do with brothers and fathers, I have a great relationship with my brothers and fathers and stuff to draw from. That stuff always lights a fire in me. Even when I see it on screen it affects me. The warrior aspect and the people involved was all appealing."
Chris Hemsworth on ThorHow much pressure do you feel playing Thor in Thor?
Chris Hemsworth: "Well, there’s a lot of pressure with something that has existed for so many years before you were involved and already has a fan base. But, you don’t let that affect the way you approach the film. For me, you do it as well as you can whatever it is, whether it’s a small film or whether it’s something like this here. But it’s as exciting and daunting as each other."
How important is the relationship between Thor and Jane in the film? Is it set up for later films?
Chris Hemsworth: "Yeah, there’s a bit of that but also it’s a big sort of breaking point in Thor’s journey, learning some humility. He starts out as a brash, cocky young warrior and she certainly influences him in a different direction, gives him a different angle to look at life from."
In your performance and the way you think about Thor, how do you balance his hubris with his heroism? Do you think one exists in spite of the other?
Chris Hemsworth: "I think they do. I think it’s his ongoing battle, taming the berserk kind of warrior that is in him. Certainly that’s a big part in this film, he’s still got to be that warrior. He still has to have those elements. That’s what makes him Thor, but also you don’t want to watch a guy on screen that is just a jerk all the time. You’ve got moments of it, yeah, that’s kind of cool and bad, but then it just gets old. So finding that balance and then at times, sneaking a bit of it back in at the right time."
How do your mates back home treat you now? Did your brother hit you up for a role as an Asgardian?
Chris Hemsworth: "No, I have enough trouble getting myself a part let alone my brother, but we both auditioned for it funny enough. I had an audition, didn’t hear anything, then he was in Australia and sent a tape across. The next minute I heard they were flying him over to meet Ken and he was down to the last four guys, and I was like, 'What?' He went in, did a great job and it didn’t end up happening. Then I got another phone call and was like, 'Sh*t, what worked, what didn’t? Tell me what he said.' I got some advice and here we are."
What was the process of working with Kenneth Branagh?
Chris Hemsworth: "Brilliant. It was the most amount of character development and discussions on scenes and backstory that I’ve ever had. He always had the attitude that we could talk for hours, read books, read this, look at all these influences. Maybe it means nothing or maybe it gives us one moment in the film and it’s worth it. It’s part of the fun for me, that research and speaking to as many people as you can and soaking up that stuff."
What examples did you get from the comic books?
Chris Hemsworth: "Ken gave me Siddhartha, actually, a Herman Hesse book about a man trying to find his place in life and going through all the temptations. Thor in effect was different to Siddhartha but it was a human being trying to find out his purpose and how he was going to go about his life. That was the same thing. Ken said, 'Look, this was a just great book that I loved. It might give you something for the film or it might just personally.' It’s certainly one of my favorite books."
This is a physically demanding role. What preparation did you have to do?
Chris Hemsworth: "It was a lot of protein shakes and chicken breast, a lot of calories, a lot of food, a lot of working out and try to get as much rest as you can. That’s the other 1/3 of the equation. I put on 20 pounds and lost a lot of it since shooting purely from not eating that amount."
Are there prosthetics involved too?
Chris Hemsworth: "Well, the costume is a big heavy chain-mail leather costume, but when it’s me, it’s me. It’s not fake arms."
Who wins in a fight between Captain America and Thor, or between you and Chris Evans?
Chris Hemsworth: "He’s here. We’re going to sort that out later."
Do you have a favorite Thor story from your research?
Chris Hemsworth: "The stuff with The Avengers I really liked. There’s one particular one where they approach him and Thor’s sitting on a beach in a party or something. There’s fire and people sitting around playing guitar. Thor’s there drinking a beer and up walk out SHIELD and I think Iron Man. They’re like, 'Supposedly you’re a god and we want you to join our team.” He’s like, 'Psh, I’m not joining nothing.' I think one of them says something like, 'I don’t believe he’s a god anyway.' Thor makes big rain and thunder and they scurry away. I enjoyed that moment."