Chris Hemsworth: The Final Avengers Is 'Even More Shocking' Than Infinity War
Chris Hemsworth is disarmingly friendly. He is also, as you already know, remarkably handsome and successful. This seems unfair on a cosmic level. I’ve long held that in the trifecta of kindness, looks, and success, we mortals should be granted just two, to keep us grounded. Hemsworth has the hat-trick, which should inspire some degree of disdain—but somehow, it doesn't. So it’s fitting, after all, that the guy cheerfully defying mortal law would be most famous for playing a character who’s not mortal.
When the first Thor hit theaters in 2011, it was far from a given that Hemsworth’s god of thunder would prove a lynchpin of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But then The Avengers happened, and Thor was set. Hemsworth’s blond beard and gigantic biceps—plus, you know, the rest of him—became part of the core crew, appearing most recently in the (very funny) Thor: Ragnarok before rolling into Avengers: Infinity War with the team.
But the 34-year-old Australian actor hasn’t spent his entire life saving the universe. He’s also been Chris Pine’s dad in Star Trek, a guileless secretary in Paul Feig’s (underrated, if you ask me) Ghostbusters, and legendary racecar driver James Hunt in Ron Howard’s acclaimed 2013 film Rush. It was that last one that brought Hemsworth together with Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer, a motorsports legend in its own right. He’s now a brand ambassador. Which is why, this past weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 102nd running of the Indy 500, I sat down with Hemsworth to chat about racing, what we can expect from the final Avengers movie, and what it’s like being one of the Four Famous Chrises.
He waved the green flag at the Indy 500, and he was kind of nervous about it.
My love for Motorsports started when I did Rush many years ago, and that’s how this relationship with TAG actually first started. But this is one of the biggest motorsporting events going around. I’d never been before, and I’m very excited to be here, getting to wave the flag, which I’m a little nervous about, actually. I’ve [been working on my technique.] I’ve been using a little too much shoulder. It’s more sort of forearm/elbow. It’s all about the wrist and figure-eight movements.
The final Avengers movie is going to be a doozie.
If you were shocked by [Infinity War], I think the second one is even more shocking, for other reasons entirely. That’s what kind of blew me away the first time I read both scripts, is how they managed to orchestrate so many different characters but give them each their own separate shot and moments, and have it be elevated and feel fresh and unique—not just like a messy, thrown-together assembly of these guys.
The second one I’m probably even more excited about. Just for people to see. I just think it’s another step again. Each step we seem to take with these films, I’ve loved the fact that there’s been growth and evolution and it continues to surprise people as opposed to sort of flatlining, which was obviously always a fear—that they’d run out of ideas or run dry of creative excitement. For me, this whole experience has been incredible. In particular the last one.
He’s proud to be the first Avenger with a beard—and he’s got some feelings on Captain America’s facial hair in Infinity War.
I’d like to say I was the original, if that means anything. [Chris Evans] certainly, I feel like, copied me. Quite cheaply.
He’s buddy-buddy with the rest of the Famous Chrises.
I have different affections for different reasons. Chris Pine is my son, on screen, with our Star Trek history. Chris Evans is probably my closest Avenger friend. And Chris Pratt and I, it’s the freshest, newest friendship. So I’m thankful for all of their high-fives and good times that we’ve had.
He’s got some words of wisdom for hopeful actors.
People ask me, what’s your advice on getting into acting. I say, ‘Just have your name be Chris, and have brownish hair and blue eyes, and off you go. That’s the first step.’ It’s an automatic pass. [Laughs] It’s all kind of ridiculous, isn’t it?
His work with Paul Fieg on Ghostbusters was the first time he really improvised for a role.
That was some of the most fun I’ve ever had on set, and probably my real jumping-in point to improvisation. Prior to that, I’d always wanted to be very confident in the fact that I knew exactly what was on the page, and I had my options worked out and I knew where the scene was going to go. Playing it safe, to a degree. And we just threw all that out the window in that film, and it really opened up a whole other side to my sort of process, I think.
It was way more freeing and a lot more creatively satisfying, and just more enjoyable, you know? Because there’s a spontaneity that’s created that you just can’t get in a scripted scenario. Now I kind of want to put myself in a position where I feel like I’m right on the edge of getting it wrong and kind of not really knowing what’s happening—losing control of it—and I think that’s, to me, the key ingredient. You want to keep people guessing. You want to keep yourself guessing. That’s what I find is interesting to watch.
That improv mentality is to thank for the humor in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War.
It does [happen on the Marvel sets.] From Thor 3, definitely, it became hugely improvised. And I’m so glad I’ve been able to work with Paul prior to that. And I’ve done Saturday Night Live a couple of times; I have a movie called Vacation. So by the time I got to Thor 3, I was incredibly enthusiastic to do it. Taika Waititi, the director, had the same opinion. And we carried that into Avengers.
One of the Avengers can’t be trusted to keep a secret.
Mark Ruffalo, without a doubt. The amount of times he has potentially derailed these films. But he’s also the person I probably love the most. He’s just the most—just one of the kindest people you’ll meet. And so, completely forgivable every time he gives away some plot point. He could get away with murder. Anyone else, it might be highly scrutinized and punished, but he’s beyond forgivable.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.