Chris Hemsworth: “ Give me another year and I will be speaking Spanish”
Less than two years ago, Chris Hemsworth was a barely known actor, struggling to make the jump from his native Australia to Hollywood. Today he is a major star thanks to movies like Thor, where he plays a superhero, and driving Formula 1 cars in Rush. Balanced and a hard working actor Hemsworth is married to the Spanish actress Elsa Pataky with whom he has a little girl called India. In a recent press event we had the chance to talk with this amazing Australian actor who is trying his best to learn and speak Spanish.
Q: Do you speak Spanish?
A: I’m learning. Not great about it yet but I’m learning. Give me another year. I do love Spain. We travel there as much as we can to visit Elsa’s family. We want our daughter to be bilingual in English and Spanish.
Q: Did you ever think that you would marry so soon? So young?
A: Yeah, I don’t know, my parents got married really young and when they were 22 or 21 or something and so it wasn’t odd that that had happened.
Q: You were a late bloomer within the family.
A: Yeah, I was behind the schedule there. (laughs)
Q: And do you enjoy now the gypsy life as to settle down and have a family and kids?
A: Sure, I mean having a family and kids, I feel you could still do with traveling, I mean, we were born in Melbourne and then we grew up on cattle stations, buffalo stations in Northern territory, and then we moved back to a different area in Melbourne and then down the coast and it was the best thing I think that could have happened to me, and we were exposed to different walks of life and different experiences and I think that teaches you more about the world than reading about it.
Q: How much has the Spain effect changed you?
A: We are pretty similar, I like to have a good time and that’s certainly there. She’s a strong, Spanish woman that’s for sure, (laughter) keeps me in line and it’s good.
Q: Can you read Spanish?
A: Not really. These days I read a lot of stories as Snow White or Cinderella to my little daughter. But what I do is watching Nadal playing tennis. I’m a big fan of that amazing Spanish player.
Q: Were you a big reader of Grimm tales when you were young?
A: Not really, I mean, I knew about Snow White and Cinderella and Rapunzel, all of that, I mean, I guess I read them at some stage, but probably from the cartoons, and you can’t not know about them. The books I sort of grew up that were read to me, like my dad read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and Terry Brooks novels, the sort of fantasy novels, and similar sort of things.
Q: Every few years, there is a new “It” boy in Hollywood, and you seem to be the one.
Q: So how does it feel and how would you describe yourself and your relationship with Hollywood and how much you kind of buy into being the “It” boy?
A: Look, I mean, there are a lot of guys at the moment, when I first came to the states like six years ago, a lot of responses I got from casting agents and producers were oh, there hasn’t been any men in the town, and its great and good and whatever, at the moment, there’s a number of guys I think are vying for that position and sort of, I mean, Tom Hardy and Chris Pine and Joel Edgerton, Sam Worthington, I mean, there are plenty of guys…
Q: Nobody has the Brad Pitt quality.
A: (laughs) Well thank you…
Q: And I see a young Brad Pitt…
A: Well thank you. (laughs)
Q: So how does it feel for you to be branded?
A: I don’t know, I mean, look, if it’s working in my favor, then fantastic, I don’t know, if it’s going to keep getting me work, great. I don’t know, I mean, you can’t really sort of listen to it, otherwise you do sort of end up losing the point, you lose your focus I think and what I’m going to do and any other actor in the business, is it’s got to be about the work, otherwise all that, you can look a certain way, or be perceived a certain way, but if the work isn’t there and the result, then they won’t ask for it all.
Q: Do you think to keep on growing, you will stay away from action roles? Do you feel like you need to be more independent maybe? More drama maybe, mixing it up a little bit?
A: Sure. Look, I mean for me, the attraction with Thor was the fact that there was sort of that element, but I got to do some acting, it wasn’t a blind action film. I mean, I was working with Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins and there was a chance to sink my teeth into something.
Q: So the affinity for physical roles is just a coincidence?
A: Yeah, I had my hand in a lot of things, but these were the ones that people said yeah, okay…
Q: But what else tempts you?
A: Its variety, I’m really looking forward to what I’m about to do next, because I’m not swinging any axes or weapons. That’s fun, but I’ve had my fix for that for awhile. (laughs)
Q: What would you think of romantic comedies…
A: I don’t know, I would like to do a comedy, rather than a romantic comedy.
Q: Does marriage make you more romantic?
A: I don’t know if it would make me more romantic, or someone decided that whatever hip level of romance I had was enough. (laughter)
Q: Can we talk a little bit about the Nicky Lauda film, how did you get cast for Ron Howard?
A: I play a guy called James Hunt, who is a British Formula One driver in the 70s, and the film is based on the 1976 Championship Season, when Nicky and James were vying for the championship, and the big sort of dramatic finish to it, and I mean the actual story was as good as any sort of script or what have you that someone could make up. I felt really passionate about it, and I’m just a big fan of his and so sort of took the reins for once.
Q: Besides the dressing part, how much do you discuss your career with your wife, her being an actress too, how much do you advise each other, and what roles you need to pursue when it comes to that?
A: As far as what roles we choose or don’t choose, I mean, for me anyway, I’ve only really had a choice very recently, you know, but the biggest thing we talk about career wise was trying not to work at the same time, (laughs) so one of us can be there with the other person. And everyone in the business seems to say that, is to try to work out your schedules to take turns, (laughter).
Q: Do you live here in LA?
A: Yeah, there’s enough space to put my surfboards in the back of it, but I grew up, my dad used to race motorbikes and so I sort of had a little bit of an introduction to that world of fast cars and bikes and race tracks and what have you. The Formula One world, I didn’t know much about at all, it’s only recently, and most of my knowledge now is based around the 70s in that era, I couldn’t tell you much about the current…
Q: Can you talk about your life in Hollywood, a lot of actors consciously remove themselves from Hollywood, physically, and you live here right?
A: Sometimes. I mean, I spent about two months here last year and the year before I did probably three or four months, I mean, I tend to come into town, as a lot of actors do whether you live here or not, for meetings and what have you, you are here for. It tends to be the place where my belongings are kept, and then I disappear into locations and at some stage I’d like to move somewhere else, but I’m not anywhere long enough at the moment.
Q: So you have a house here actually?
A: Yeah, we have a place here and then, I don’t know, if I had a good six months off, I wouldn’t stay here, it’s not cause I don’t like the place it’s just, I’d maybe like to go back to Australia, and go to Spain, but at the moment, you are living out of suitcases and you become a bit of a gypsy.
Q: And the surfboard, is it always there?
A: Yeah.Not very handy in London, but if there’s a beach somewhere, I’ll take it.
Q: Where do you like to surf more?
Q: Do you miss home?
A: I do yeah, I get my parents to come across and it’s obviously a piece of home for me, so at the beginning when I came here, I was getting back home two or three times a year, whereas I’m only sort of once a year at the moment, but I’d like to go back more.
Q: What’s important to you.
A: Family, but I don’t keep them in the closet obviously, (laughter) friends…
(c) America Reads Spanish