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Chris Hemsworth: There was such a sense of accomplishment in filming Extraction

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Chris Hemsworth: There was such a sense of accomplishment in filming Extraction
In the film, Chris is Tyler Rake, a fearless blackmarket mercenary with nothing left to lose. His life changes when his skills are solicited to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned crime lord.

Viewers are going to see a “next-level” Chris Hemsworth in the action-thriller Extraction.

That was what director Sam Hargrave told the Philippine press during a virtual roundtable interview last week while describing his film’s lead star.

He also promised that the 36-year-old Australian star will show audiences a side of him that “they haven’t really seen.” Or at least, “not to this level.”

“They’ve seen him as Thor, who swings a hammer and punches you in the face. But this is the next-level bit of action, and truthfully, we’re just scratching the surface for this guy,” said Hargrave, who was stunt director for Marvel movies, etc., before making his directorial debut in Extraction.

Chris with his young co-star, Bollywood actor Rudhraksh Jaiswal, in a scene from the film

Based on the original script by Joe Russo (Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame), Extraction goes into the underworld of weapons dealers and traffickers, where a young boy (played by Rudhraksh Jaiswal) becomes a pawn in a drug war. Trapped by kidnappers inside one of the world’s most impenetrable cities, the deadly mission to save the boy calls for the “unparalleled skill of a mercenary” who has nothing to lose, Tyler Rake, played by Hemsworth.

Filmed in India and Thailand with an international cast and crew, Extraction is produced by Netflix, AGBO Films and TGIM Films, Inc. It will world-premiere on Netflix come April 24.

During the video-conference chat with the Philippine media, Hemsworth said that it wasn’t hard to draw some inspiration for his character portrayal.

“We had a beautiful building block which was the script, which both Sam and I responded to obviously, and jumped onboard. The character, you know, at any time, there is something you can relate to, having children myself. That idea, that anything of that being jeopardized or threatened, there’s an extra layer of truth within your performance that you can use there,” he explained.

David Harbour and Chris getting on-set instructions from Extraction director Sam Hargrave

Also, it helped that he and Sam were on the same page when it came to the anti-hero attributes of his character.

“The idea for both Sam and I throughout the early discussions and throughout the film was to not have this guy be one-dimensional, and you know, the hero of the film (that’s) simple, indestructible, terminator-esque. It was about having someone who is flawed, vulnerable, has demons and is emotionally complicated.

“That then dictated his fighting style. That sort of kamikaze, suicidal push with his movements, and the way he would push through the mission, you know, very little regard for his safety. And so constantly sort of tracking that, and also his emotional arc and change, as he meets this young boy, and how that affects him, I was very thankful for, in this setting, in an action film, to make it sort of an action-art film, if you can call it that. It was a unique opportunity.”

Action-wise, the things Hemsworth did for Extraction gave him a great amount of pride and a huge sense of accomplishment.

“The entire film for me was the most exhausting ride I’ve ever been on. There was such a sense of accomplishment each day or each sequence, to be honest really, because it was so challenging!”

There was one stunt that was so complicated that it took the team two weeks to complete it.

“We had this sort of 12-minute sequence, a series of single shots seamlessly aligned and cut together that they looked like a single take. That was so (laughs) incredibly challenging. Because of these big, wide shots, we couldn’t have stunt guys coming in and switching (with us). If we made a mistake, we couldn’t cut to another angle. It had to be all in camera. It had to be made right in the thick of it. And Sam right there, with the camera, on the front of the car, dogging across buildings, you know, amongst the fight sequences. But once we pulled it off — I think it was a two-week shoot to get that 12 minutes — it truly felt that we had done something pretty unique and pretty special. I’m really excited for people to see it.”

To be able to do all that, he credited Hargrave for the direction and motivation. “I’m really proud that we had Sam choreographing, directing, organizing all of that and running the show because it wouldn’t have been that way without him.”

Amid the high-octane action, Hemsworth said that the story’s got heart. The physical and emotional parts informed each other, he noted.

“It’s a fine dance between having incredible action where you’re invested in it because it’s visually new, unique and exciting, and then you gotta sort of pull the breaks a little bit and there’s something different in order to have people continually engaged and reveal new things about the character.”

Hemsworth reiterated that it was the script that gave them the foundation to carefully tread the balance. “It was something we also had to continually track, that continuity, and sort of (say) okay, where are we emotionally in the film and how does that dictate the fighting style here?

“Is this blind rage at this point that he doesn’t care if he dies or is the stakes now high because he has something invested in now, that he truly does want to protect this kid? Does he fight differently now? Is it coming from the heart as opposed to just pure gut, instinct?

“And that was fun! I’ve never had such a detailed track of the physicality of the character like that or the emotional journey.”

CHRIS HEMSWORTH

DAVID HARBOUR

SAM HARGRAVE

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