Chris Hemsworth admits that even on his third time out playing a Norse god of thunder-turned-superhero, he’s not above hammering out a fresh approach.
“Every film, I look back and go, ‘Oh, okay, now I get it,’ and then I start the next one and go, ‘Oh, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing,’” chuckles the 6’4” Aussie actor, who reprises his role as Marvel Comics’ Asgardian Avenger once again for “Thor: The Dark World.”
It's Hemsworth's third stint as the thunder god in as many years (he originated the role in 2011 and brought the character into “The Avengers” in 2012). “It’s nice to be able to approach a character again and for the third time, attack it in a different way with a different director, and have a whole new bag of ideas and influences and ways to approach it.”
Indeed, building on the increasing successes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Dark World” is an even more ambitious outing than the first Thor installment, with Marvel putting the fruits of its pre- and post-“Avengers” box office successes on the screen with an even more elaborately rendered vision of Thor’s extra-dimensional homeworld and larger-scale Earth-bound action that threatens all of London.
The personal stakes are higher, too: more seasoned and grounded after his previous adventures, Thor has a deeper regard for his duties to the throne of his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), while still yearning for his mortal love Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and grappling with the malicious fires that motivate his half-brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), now imprisoned after leading an alien invasion of New York City. The majority of the original film’s ensemble – which also includes Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard, Idris Elba, Renee Russo and Jaimie Alexander – also returns.
“It was nice to have a more mature Thor who was less of a petulant and arrogant teenager as the first one was at times,” says Hemsworth. “That transition into him understanding the darker side of the throne and that responsibility and the sacrifices was fun to play with.”
Central to the dramatic success of the hero’s portrayal on film has been the engaging sibling rivalry dynamic that plays out between the gods of thunder and mischief, fueled by a convincing antagonistic chemistry that percolates between Hemsworth’s noble Thor and Hiddleston’s scheming Loki, now sharply developed over the course of three films together.
“There’s certainly a shorthand we have, and you don’t spend a chunk of your shooting time getting to know one another,” says Hemsworth. “We’re able to pick up where we left off, and have developed a great friendship along the way. From the beginning, we were lucky: we just had a chemistry and the same kind of enthusiasm.”
“I've had the best time with Chris, and I feel almost sometimes feel like he might as well be my real brother,” agrees Hiddleston. “I know he brings out the best in me, and I think it comes from trust. We completely trust each other, and we really engage with each other. I've always said acting's a bit like tennis, and it's all about what happens. You can practice all you like, but what happens on the court is where the magic is. And I feel the same is true of acting: the best acting I've done is because of the quality of the other actors and the things that I'm receiving from them. And with Chris, it's like it's good tennis.”