What exactly does it sound like when a magical mallet strikes an impervious shield? Don’t think Chris Hemsworth hasn’t thought about it.
“I’m sure that’s up there on the list of possibilities, that would be something to see at some point,” the star of “Thor” said cryptically when asked if his character might tussle with Captain America in the classic Marvel tradition of superhero sparring. “I’ve thought about that too.”
The characters are facing off in a different way this summer. ”Thor” has pulled in $266 million in worldwide box office to date while the star-spangled superhero gets his turn in July with the release of “Captain America: The First Avenger,” which stars Chris Evans in the title role. “I have brothers so I know about competing with someone at the same time you’re cheering for them,” Hemsworth said of the back-to-back Marvel Studios releases.
Those two heroes with a history of winged headgear will join the Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), the Hulk (with Mark Ruffalo as his human alter ego), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in “The Avengers” next summer. That film will be directed by Joss Whedon, and Hemsworth said he has no anxieties about his peers (it’s an ensemble that includes four Oscar nominees) or the handling of his character in a different sort of film forum.
“I’ve worked with Joss on ‘Cabin in the Woods’ — he wrote it with Drew Goddard and Drew directed but Joss was on set and very collaborative with ideas, so I got a sense of his personality and who he was. So I feel less cautious now, knowing him and really liking him. I’m really excited to work with Joss and to see where he takes Thor and all of the Marvel characters.”
Hemsworth knows Whedon’s reputation for crackling dialogue and, in particular, his affinity for group dynamics. It comes as a relief because after his positive experience with “Thor” director Kenneth Branagh he feels particularly protective of the thunder god. Hemsworth cut his teeth in soap operas in Australia and he knows too well that a recurring character can suffer when there’s a handoff (or frequent handoffs) among the creative team behind the camera.
“Working on a TV show years ago we’d have different directors coming through all the time and one of the frustrating things was having a different director come in with a completely different take on a character. You’d want to stop things and say, ‘Wait, this isn’t consistent with what I did last week.’ But as you go along you sort of learn to be less fragile. The more you’re open to new ideas, the more opportunity you have to really do interesting things. The character still looks the same — it’s me standing there –and the performance puts the stamp on it. If a character is inconsistent, well people are inconsistent in real life too. “What makes a character interesting is the uncertainty and unpredictability of it. I’m excited to hear some new ideas that take [Thor] in some new directions.”
Hemsworth chose his words carefully when asked about the “Avengers” project, which is now filming in New Mexico. The cast and crew know that Marvel Studios is eager to keep a lid on the film and its plot, at least as much as is possible. “I’m having a moment now — what am I allowed to say? I need to be careful.”
He said the one topic he feels comfortable addressing is his excitement level.
“Jeremy, Chris Evans, Scarlett, Mark Ruffalo, all of them, wow, it’s going to be fun,” said Hemsworth, who before “Thor” was best known to American audiences for a fleeting appearance in the J.J. Abrams “Star Trek” film. “I really feel like a fan in all of this because I’ve seen all these individual characters come to life. Now to throw them together, you feel like a kid in a way, there’s really a giddy feeling. I’m looking forward to being in a room with not just those actors but those characters, these larger-than-life characters, and seeing how that turns out. I want to see how Captain America and Thor and Iron Man react to one another.”
– Geoff Boucher
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