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Why Hemsworth’s Thor is only MCU character with 4 solo films  

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Why Hemsworthâs Thor is only MCU character with 4 solo films   
Chris Hemsworth, as Thor the God of Thunder, embarks on a journey to selfdiscovery in Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder.
STAR / File

Chris Hemsworth jokingly said he’s not acting in the new Marvel Studios film Thor: Love and Thunder, where he reprises his role as the “God of Thunder.”

“It’s a documentary, actually,” the 38-year-old Hollywood star further quipped during a virtual global presscon recently with the lead cast and filmmakers of the latest from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The movie officially opens today in Philippine theaters nationwide or two days ahead of the US release.

In truth, Hemsworth was self-effacingly reacting to Taika Waititi’s remark that his goal as the film director was to make the superhero become more like Hemsworth. He described the Australian actor as like a hero in real life.

Chris Hemsworth reunites with Natalie Portman, who goes from Thor's exgirlfriend to The Mighty Thor in the latest MCU film.

“When you meet Chris, it’s very hard to figure out how to make him relatable (to the audience). And that was the big challenge, you know (laughs),” Taika said, obviously referring to his “god-like” looks.

“You know, I’ve become friends with Chris, and I think that just his personality and his energy and who he is, is the kind of person that I’d want to be on an adventure with. Someone who you can trust will be there to kind of look after you. Like a  real-life hero,” he said.

Thor joins the posse of the Guardians of the Galaxy in Love and Thunder.

“And so yeah, I just wanted to tap into those qualities that he’s got and sort of make Thor more Chris, really… He’s not acting.”

Turning a bit serious amid the banter during the presscon, Hemsworth said he found himself being able to connect more to his MCU character when the Oscar-winning New Zealand director-actor entered the picture.

He loved how Taika brought out the childlike wonder in him in his Thor films. Besides Love and Thunder, Taika also helmed Thor: Ragnarok, which was also his directorial debut back in 2017. He also voices Thor’s rock friend Korg.

“He brought out the immature, young, adolescent quality that I embody. And so does Thor now, which he didn’t in the original films, which was exciting and new and fresh,” Hemsworth explained.

The actor on director Taika Waititi: ‘Lots of improvisation and wackiness on set.’
Marvel Studios

“And that’s, you know, always the sort of North Star is about having fun. Embodying this space as a child would and enjoying all of it and being caught up in the wonder and the fascination of all of it. And not getting bogged down in the serious sort of nature that we can when making films.

“Personally, with these kinds of films, it’s got to be fun, and that’s what we’ve done. That’s what I’ve related to. That’s what Taika has kind of insisted upon, and it’s been fun.”

Asked about Taika’s directing style, Hemsworth summed it up as “different.”

As in Thor in Love and Thunder, off screen, it was also a “journey of self-discovery and exploration and fun and wackiness” for Hemsworth and the rest of the cast.

He added that there was always music playing, a lot of “free form” and “improvisation,” where Taika would be “standing behind the camera, kinda giggling and ruining most of the takes.”

“There was an enthusiasm that is infectious among everybody, and he loves it. He loves these stories. He loves these characters. He’s sitting there as a fan telling you what he’d wanna see, what a family would wanna see. ‘Try this or try that,’ no matter how ridiculous it is,” added Hemsworth. “And everyone’s on board for it. And this is why you get this spontaneity and unpredictable nature in any of Taika’s films.”

Meanwhile, it was Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige who addressed the media question on why Thor is the only MCU character/Avenger who has four solo films to date.

Feige said, “I think they (the audiences) respond to Chris Hemsworth, and I think they respond to everything that he can do. And Taika certainly brought another dimension that was always there within Chris. There were moments, even going back to EPK interviews between the two of them on our New Mexico set, where I was like, ‘Is he trying to be funny? Or is it…?’ ‘No, he is being funny. He’s, like, hilarious.’

“And it’s so… it’s like this expert timing. And Taika was like, ‘What are you guys doing with him just, you know, holding a hammer up with lightning? Let’s do that and tap into everything Chris can do.

“So, I think the audience responds to that. And for so long, we said, ‘Well, he’s a Norse god. How do we make him relatable?’ And spent so much time, I think, making sure that the audience connected with him, that they are so with him now that yes, we could go to a part four,” Feige added.

In “part 4,” Love and Thunder, Thor embarks on a journey to self-discovery and “holistic” transformation. This, after suffering an “existential crisis” in Avengers: Endgame following a series of big losses — his family and friends, his home of Asgard, his hammer Mjolnir, his battle with Thanos and his god-like physique.

His newfound life, however, gets disrupted by an intergalactic “serial killer” of gods, Gorr the god butcher, impeccably played by Christian Bale.

“He’s my favorite villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I love everyone I’ve worked with, but this was particularly special. And a lot to do with what Christian said before, there’s this empathic quality there, there’s a vulnerability,” Hemsworth said.

“You kind of find yourself going, oh what he’s doing is wrong, but I get the sort of the motivation behind it. And every time you work with someone different, different characters, they bring different things out of you, and that was the case here. And yeah, (Bale) did an incredible job.”

To deal with this emerging nemesis, Thor finds help in Korg, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who’s now in possession of his missing magical hammer, Mjolnir, as The Mighty Thor.

Having worked together again, Portman noted how Hemsworth would deftly shift from “serious scenes to serious comedy” in Love and Thunder.

“He has such incredible comedic talent. And he has such a quick brain for changing things, assimilating information, reacting in a creative way and coming up with new ideas,” the Oscar-winning actress said. “He’s so committed and works so hard, and it’s really, really impressive to watch him work. I always have to remind myself that I have to act in a scene, and I can’t just be an audience.”

Some of the film’s most hilarious scenes are brought about by Thor’s “complicated relationship” with his two hammers, including his current one, the Stormbreaker.

Hemsworth said, “That was kinda one of the funnest things (laughs) we got to do in the film. Look, it’s hard to see, you know, the ex-girlfriend turns up dressed as him. That’s a shock. And all the sudden the weapon that he held so dear, and so on, for so many years now belongs to someone else. And then he has Stormbreaker who starts to sense a little jealousy there, you know?

“So that kind of evolved through the film, didn’t it? I don’t think it was in the original script, but it was fun,” he added.

It was pointed out during the presscon that Hemsworth and Thor appeared to have grown up in MCU together. Since 2011, the actor has been in seven MCU movies, as well as Marvel Studios’ What If …? animated series, and as mentioned earlier, he is the first-ever character to lead four franchise films.

Despite his long and colorful journey with the character, Hemsworth still felt “compelled to explore and evolve” the role of Thor. As he said in another Q&A, he was under an immense degree of pressure to step up in Love and Thunder, where he also served as an executive producer.

Hemsworth said, “There was a huge amount of pressure coming into this. Thor is the only character to make a fourth film so far, so I wanted to do something different. I want to always do better with this character.”

CHRIS HEMSWORTH

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