“Bodybuilding is seen as vanity, whereas if I put on a bunch of unhealthy weight, or got unhealthily skinny for a role, I’d probably be called a serious actor.”
Being ripped has its disadvantages, according to Chris Hemsworth.
Despite requiring much more work than getting unhealthily fat or indeed skinny for a role, putting on muscle does not quite garner the same thespian respect, the actor has lamented.
The Australian, who has perfectly played the muscle-bound Asgardian demigod Thor for more than a decade, told the Telegraph “There’s an aesthetic that the role requires.”
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“Bodybuilding is seen as vanity, whereas if I put on a bunch of unhealthy weight, or got unhealthily skinny for a role, I’d probably be called a serious actor,” he explained.
“The training across ten years of doing it is a full-time job. That and then a 12-hour shooting day – it’s real grind.”
About to play the God of Thunder for the eighth time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hemsworth has spent the last 12 months gearing up for “Thor: Love and Thunder” — and he claims to be in his best shape yet.
“This is probably the fittest and strongest I’ve been before all the Thors,” he said. “Having this time at home meant I explored different methods, to see how I can manipulate my body with just the right amount of powerlifting and bodybuilding workouts.”
He admitted that for previous Thors he “probably over-trained.”
“People who do muscle-building often don’t realize it’s a sport that shouldn’t be seven days a week, two hours a day. I was doing that in the previous Thors, and was coming up sorer, with less energy.”
While his Mjolnir-wielding arms are an obvious highlight of his fab physique (“that’s what you see the most”), he said you cannot skip leg day… or any other day for that matter; it all depends on what’s going to get displayed on screen.
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“Working with my trainer, we consider the costume and if it shows a lot of shoulder, or are we gonna see the bicep or the traps,” he said. “But you want it to be balanced, because there’s probably a shirt-off scene somewhere. You don’t want to look like Popeye with one section of the body blown up.”
Concerning future roles, the 37-year-old now takes two very important factors into consideration: the challenge, and the location.
Having been grounded by the pandemic, he has gotten used to spending more time with his family — wife Elsa Pataky and their three children, eight-year-old daughter India Rose, and twin seven-year-old sons Sasha and Tristan — and now doesn’t want that to change.
“I haven’t been this still for 15 years. The pandemic meant going from being on a plane every second week, to being 24/7 at home combining work and family life,” he said. “But I’ve really enjoyed being grounded. Not saying goodbye to the kids regularly has been fantastic.”
If a film offer is “around where I live, I’m a lot more interested now from the family practicality stance,” he added.
He also said he doesn’t want to play the same type of roles over and over.
“From an artistic point of view, anytime I feel like I’ve visited that space before, I either need to find a unique angle on it or find something else,” he said. “When I first started my career I had so much anxiety [about auditioning for new roles]. Some of that was detrimental, but it forced me to work harder. I made sure I was always prepped, and I’d done my research. I always rehearse and have a strong opinion on the script.”
“When you get too comfortable you don’t dig as deep. I like that reminder: you could slip and fall here, get it together. I think it’s a great motivation, feeling that uncertainty, having that little bit of fear knocking at the door.”
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