- The Lunch with L.A. Weekly Chief Film Critic Amy Nicholson: Tom Cruise, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ and ‘Snowpiercer’
- The Lunch with Director William Eubank of ‘The Signal’
- The Lunch with Gillian Robespierre, director, ‘Obvious Child’
- The Lunch with Alex Pappademas of Grantland.com on ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past …’
- The Lunch with AJ Bowen of ‘The Sacrament’
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Tag Archives: Chris Hemsworth
With his blonde hair, enchanted hammer and sci-fi/Wagnerian hybrid clothing, the mighty Thor is one of The Avengers; speaking to MSN Movies in L.A., Australian Chris Hemsworth is more mellow and more relaxed than his on-screen character. We spoke with Hemsworth about his anxieties in taking on the role, about whether the hair or the hammer makes the superhero, and playing make-believe with a $200-million budget.
MSN Movies: When it comes to those moments where you have to get into character as Thor, what helps more: The hair or the hammer?
Chris Hemsworth: The hammer. It feels right. I feel naked without the hammer. There were scenes where he doesn’t have (it), and I don’t even know where to put my hands.
You get a little fidgety, as a thunder god, without your hammer?
“Thor” had that big cosmic epic scope, that mix of science and Shakespeare. When you look around this, and you’re standing in a flying aircraft carrier and fighting alien monsters, how do you wrap your head around the muchness of it?
It’s all make-believe, whether you’re in another realm in the middle of Asgard in some sort of ethereal chamber, or some helicarrier, like in this. To be honest, right there whomever you’re acting with, that becomes your focus. A lot of that is green screen anyway so you can’t even see it. It becomes about the script, and about the interactions with the characters, and trying to find what’s the truth in that moment, and then you just step by step, and hopefully it all falls into place.
Speaking with the creators of the Marvel Comics adaptation “Thor” — where space-alien mystical beings worshiped as gods by the ancient Norsemen visit our mortal world — I asked director Kenneth Branagh if the film’s mix of mighty myth and bright-colored pop art, of Richard Wagner’s operatic scale and Andy Warhol’s color palate, was a tough sell. Branagh smiled. “I love that phrase: Wagner and Warhol. If I had thought of that phrase, I might have gotten the job quicker that way. I’ll tell you what: The challenge was we’re making ‘Thor’; we’re not making ‘Mr. Thor.’ It’s a summer movie, you’re on a big scale, big visual effects. A large check is being written to deliver a spectacle to the audience. Assume that these qualities are virtues. They make it distinct. You won’t see this as well sitting at home. In a big theater experience, that spectacle, that color, that size, that larger-than-life entrance into an epic world ought to be a fantastic escape.”
That scale and sweep can make it tough for the actors. I asked Tom Hiddleston, who plays the film’s villain Loki, how did he prepare to play a space-alien trickster god? He quipped, “I took my mobile phone out, and I dialed speed dial to my alien trickster god friend who lives upstairs, and I asked him, ‘What’s it like being you, man?’” I followed-up, asking him, more seriously, if the film’s distinctive costuming — capes, shiny armor and great horned helmets — helped him get into character or just made him feel like an idiot — or, as our British friends say, “a prat.” “I’d say it’s a mixture of the two,” he said. “I say you feel like a prat for about five minutes, and then you realize there’s a camera with film in it, and you have to convince people that you’re the god of mischief, so you better shape up for us. Actually, the weight of the costumes is so helpful, because they make you stand taller, and you feel bigger. The god stuff is being done for you by the costume and the set, but also the helmet. When you’re wearing a golden, horned helmet under film lights, the heat can’t get out from the top of your head. My brain would slowly turn to scrambled eggs, and I think that actually feeds Loki’s fire in many ways.”
Chris Hemsworth, in the title role, also noted the way looking the part helped him play the part: “It’s like Halloween. Then you get on set and you go, ‘This feels a lot better than that.’ In amongst those sets, you start to feel and see the comic books come to life. That setting makes such a difference, (when you’re) having to work on a green screen. We had these sets and these costumes to work off.”
Hemsworth is still wrapping his head around playing a role where his abdominal muscles will be part of the national conversation, where he gets his own 7-Eleven Slurpee cup and action figure. “It’s rather odd, isn’t it? It’s pretty surreal. You’ve got to have a laugh with it all, I think. It’s funny, especially when I see my older brother’s daughter running around with her Thor action figure and crashing it into walls and ripping its arms off.”
“Summer Blockbuster Season,” as it’s defined by the movies, seems to start earlier and earlier every year — for me, the moment it starts is when my local 7-11 starts having movie-branded Slurpee cups, which means that the arrival of “Thor” drink holders this week means blockbuster season is here. In the spirit of finding out which film this summer was going to be the guiltiest pleasure, I asked a group of 20 professional film writers which movie they were most looking forward to as a guilty pleasure — and while consensus was hard to come by, here are some of their picks, with the “winner” saved for last.
“Thor” — “I love when something seems just ballsy and ridiculous enough to work, and the idea of putting the Norse god/superhero on the big screen falls right into that wheelhouse. With Chris Hemsworth‘s rippling muscles and bulging Australian accent, Anthony Hopkins not just chewing the scenery but ingesting it whole and Kenneth Branagh no doubt working to perfect a camera that you can just spin like a top, what is not to enjoy here?” — Don Kaye, MSN Movies’ Parallel Universe
“Super 8” — “Because I’d like to re-experience the pleasure of those old feelings I had 30 years ago when Steven Spielberg held mountains in the palms of his hands and I was a loyal devotee who really admired him … unlike today.” — Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere
“Green Lantern” — “I will feel guilty when I go to see “Green Lantern” this summer, but not as guilty as I feel when I think about the $300 I spent on that Green Lantern ‘Power Battery’ prop. God, I’m a nerd. Can you believe a woman married me? Me neither.” — Matt Singer, IFC.com
“Friends with Benefits” — “Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake were both unexpected highlights of their respective Oscar bait hits last fall, and though the concept here seems both tired and too hip, I’m counting on them and “Easy A” director Will Gluck to make this one of those pretty, frothy summer romances that actually clicks.” – Katey Rich, Cinema Blend
“Captain America” — “Because its villain is The Red Skull. Whose head is a skull. And it’s red!” — Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” — “Hands down. I’m looking for the two pieces of the series finale, when taken together, to seamlessly blend into a cohesive, satisfying finale to my favorite ‘guilty pleasure’ series.” — Kim Voynar, Movie City News
“Final Destination 5” — “Like Caligula, I never feel guilty about my pleasures. And, like Caligula, I enjoy watching people get destroyed in creative ways. That’s why “Final Destination 5″ is the bottom of the barrel film I’m most anticipating this summer; so long as it delivers on the franchise’s promise of creative, gory deaths I’ll leave the theater sated.” — Devin Faraci, Badass Digest
The runner-up potential guilty pleasure that was named by the second-greatest number of film writers? “Fast Five.” As Jen Yamato of Movieline explained, “we’re talking about guilty pleasures, and it doesn’t come much guiltier than a five-quel about cars that drive fast starring a man named after liquid petroleum fuel.”
The film named by the greatest number of film writers as the summer’s greatest possible guilty pleasure, though? Well, it seems like a clear winner: “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” As Kate Erbland of Gordon and the Whale said, “If ‘Dark of the Moon’ is better than ‘Revenge of the Fallen,’ it will always carry that stamp of being, at the very least, satisfactory. But if ‘Dark of the Moon’ is worse than “Revenge of the Fallen,” it will be the theatrical equivalent of a scrap yard fueled by sewage — a glorious disaster, a failure for the ages.” Or, as Todd Gilchrist of the Wall Street Journal’s “Speakeasy” blog and Boxoffice Magazine put it, “There are plenty of people who thought “Revenge of the Fallen” was the worst p.o.s. even in summer movie history, but it set a potentially disastrous (-ly awesome) precedent: How much bigger and dumber can a movie franchise get, for worse, or in my case, for better? I truly can’t wait for more magnificent, moronic mayhem (although they are getting rid of the racist twin robots, right?)”
Last week in Las Vegas, the National Association of Theater Owners gathered exhibitors, vendors and studios for CinemaCon the annual convention where theater owners can sample anything from new popcorn toppings and different varieties of frozen beverages to footage from the summer’s upcoming films. On the opening night, Paramount Pictures showed footage from upcoming films that were introduced by their directors and stars. And while the footage was limited to snippets and flashes — there’s a CinemaCon joke that if you drank every time a director said “the footage looks rough,” you’d be in a coma in five minutes — the clips from upcoming films like “Thor,” “Kung Fu Panda 2,” “Super 8” and more still had the crowd oohing and aahing.
On the press line, I asked Chris Hemsworth, star of the upcoming Marvel Comics adaptation “Thor,” if speaking to the assembled theater executives felt like the equivalent of addressing the troops before the battle of the summer blockbusters. He laughed. “A little bit,” he said. “You’ve now made me a little anxious about my speech, with that introduction. I’m going to have to do some work on it. But absolutely, these are the people that you show the films. You want them to be excited and get behind it.”
Bringing up the rear of the press line was “Super 8″ director J.J. Abrams, there to show a 23-minute clip from his upcoming sci-fi film. I asked him how he, as a director, finds a balance between trying to find a maximum audience for a film with clips and teasers and making sure there’s still a movie left for audiences to be amazed by when they do get to the theater. “Like anything, it’s a gut thing,” he said. “You realize you need to — especially with something that’s not based on some pre-existing material — make sure that people get a sense of what it is, but you don’t want to give them answers to everything. In fact, the opposite: You want to make them ask questions so they’re compelled to figure out the rest of it.”
So, I asked Abrams, in our DVD/VOD/iPad age, does he sit down to write thinking, “OK, this has to be something you can’t watch on a DVD or on your phone. This has to be something you can only see 70 feet wide in the dark in a church full of strangers”? Abrams nodded. “I feel like that’s a great way to put it: a church full of strangers. I think that there’s a magic to being in the theater with an audience that is always going to be there. I think that though there’s, every day, a new mode of distribution and new opportunities to see stuff, I do think that the scale, the picture and sound quality — and, more importantly, the communal experience — is something that makes moviegoing into more than watching a movie. It makes it an experience. I’m a fan of the technology that exists now that allows you to watch things portably, but to me, moviegoing is not movie-watching, it’s moviegoing.”