Chris Hemsworth Wasn't Exactly Comfortable Stripping Down For Rush

While Chris Hemsworth is most closely associated with the Asgardian space god with a heart of gold, Thor, his career has taken him on a variety of twists and turns. Back in 2013, fans got to see Hemsworth take on a new acting challenge. In Ron Howard's "Rush," Hemsworth portrayed British F1 driver James Hunt. Playing a real person comes with its own set of challenges. You aren't designing a fictional character from the ground up, so there's a real need for accuracy, from the personality down to the physicality. There's almost an unspoken pressure to get it right.

In the case of "Rush," the film takes place at the peak of Hunt's career in the '70s, with the story focusing in particular on his rivalry with Austrian racer Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). In the film, an unfamiliar audience quickly picks up on the rookie racer's personality and reputation. Back in his heyday, the man was seen as a party animal. Arguably considered the rockstar of the racing world, Hunt lived fast and furious, always leaving a slew of sexual conquests in his wake. Given the picture painted of the racer, it came as no surprise that Hemsworth's role in "Rush" had to feature him naked at some point. 

As it turns out, getting naked for the role turned out to be a source of discomfort for the actor. Revealing this struggle during the "Rush" press tour made Hemsworth all the more relatable. 

All eyes on Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth knew in advance what the role would require of him. First off, it demanded a completely different physique than what audiences had come to expect from him. Hemsworth shared during an interview with Today that he had shed 30 pounds to get the racer's lean physique, especially since he had to fit his body into those tight Formula One cars. But that wasn't the only hurdle for him.

Getting lean and mean for the screen is a challenge for any actor, given Hollywood's high standards of beauty. Actually getting in front of the camera once you get lean and mean, however, is a whole other challenge. Hemsworth shared how he felt the pressure to get naked for the camera, saying that "it was more intimidating than the driving scenes. Are you kidding me? It's like 100 people standing around, 'Get (your clothes) off!' 'You going to turn around first? Turn the cameras off?' 'No!'"

We're used to hearing about what it's like to get on camera and do scenes involving nudity and/or sex from actresses, but it's not often that we hear the male perspective. Though he squirmed at first, as the gods would have it, Hemsworth has since become more comfortable with on-screen nudity. Reportedly, Hemsworth actually pushed for his character to get naked in "Thor: Love and Thunder."

From Rush to Thor: Love and Thunder

While being interviewed by Variety, the subject of Thor's nude moment, most prominently displayed first in the "Love and Thunder" trailer, came up. Hemsworth highlighted how getting naked no longer shocked him, since it wasn't his first rodeo. "I had had that out in 'Rush' many years ago," he recalled. "In a Marvel film, it was a very large screen, it was a very big pair of cheeks, and, I don't know, I had seen it before."

Getting Thor to bare it all on-screen was a longstanding project for Hemsworth. He shared further that as far back as the first film, he knew that this was a moment he had to work up to. "The first time I played Thor I took my shirt off and I thought, 'You know what's gonna sweeten this ... a decade from now it's all gonna come off."

Credit for this moment shouldn't be entirely placed on the shoulders of one film. Hemsworth's experience working on "Rush," having jumped every hurdle that comes with shooting a nude scene, paved the way for the glorious cheek shots to come.

From "Rush" to "Thor: Love and Thunder," what once intimidated Hemsworth is now a cakewalk.