In the interest of full disclosure, I had to thank Chris Hemsworth for something when I sat down to do our interview on Saturday, and it was the first time speaking to him, even though I visited the sets of the film in Manhattan Beach while it was shooting. He wasn't on set that day, so we only glimpsed him on-camera.
Recently, a mutual friend asked Hemsworth to sign a cardboard replica of Mjolnir, Thor's magic hammer, for my son Toshi, and that now resides in a very special part of the playroom, where Toshi can look at it but where it isn't being used as a toy. He knows it's special, and he loves the idea that Thor signed a hammer for him.
I made sure to thank Hemsworth for doing that as we were getting ready for the cameras to roll, and it occurred to me as we were talking that between "Star Trek," one of the first films Toshi fell head over heels in love with, and this movie, and next year's "The Avengers," there is a good chance that Toshi's going to imprint on this guy as one of his generation's movie stars, the way guys my age imprinted on Harrison Ford in the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" movies.
Seems like a good plan to me.
There's a reason that first scene in "Star Trek" worked to set an urgent, emotional tone for that whole film, and much of that reason involves Hemsworth and his performance as George Kirk, father to the eventual captain of the Enterprise. He manages to project decency and strength and tenderness, all while dealing with a crazy space battle. Physically, he's a whole new person this time out, but those same qualities shine through quite clearly in his work as the uber-arrogant Asgardian sent to Earth to be humbled. He has bulked up so he's credible on the physical side of things, and emotionally, he gets it right in scene after scene after scene.
In our conversation, we discuss "The Avengers" a bit, and it sounds like a lovely bit of timing that "Thor" is already open around the world and getting strong reviews. It's given him a boost in confidence just he steps into that incredible ensemble. I'm curious to see what happens once they not only release all of his currently unreleased films ("Red Dawn" and "Cabin In The Woods" both languish on a shelf right now, but at least "Cabin" may be coming out later this year), but when he starts taking post-"Thor" roles.
That may be about to happen, with word coming earlier today that Hemsworth is up for the role previous considered by Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender in "Snow White and the Huntsman." Since Kristen Stewart is the one who will be playing Snow White, I guess that makes Hemsworth The Huntsman. Charlize Theron is also set to star in the film that Rupert Sander will be directing. From superheroes to fairy tales, with a horror film and an '80s remake in the mix as well? Sounds like Hemsworth is quickly checking off all the types of roles available to young leading men in the year 2011, and so far, it seems like there's nothing he can't do.
And then check out my review of the film.
"Thor" opens everywhere this Friday, and is currently cleaning up worldwide.