Thor Ragnarok Chris Hemsworth Inteview

In September of 2016, /Film was invited to visit the set of Thor: Ragnarok. We already dove into everything we learned during our time on the Australian set, but we also got to spend time talking to franchise star Chris Hemsworth about various aspects of the sequel.

As soon as Chris Hemsworth walked into the room, he noticed my Ghostbusters shirt (which wasn’t intentionally worn for this day), prompting him to immediately, playfully ask, “Are we friends or no?” That’s the kind of fearless charisma and personality this guy has. In our full interview, Chris Hemsworth talks about Thor’s journey in this movie, having fun with Benedict Cumberbatch on set, dealing with criticism and more.

Read our Thor Ragnarok Chris Hemsworth interview in its entirety below.

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Can you talk about Thor’s arc? In the first movie he has to learn a lesson in humility, the second movie evolves from there. Is this movie meant to be a completion of Thor looking to be the king that he was meant to be?

Chris Hemsworth: It’s obviously kind of a lot of his- Thor’s story is, as you said, from the first film, being the rightful king earning the right to take that position in power and taking on that responsibility.  In the second film he’s kind of pulling away from it.  I think there’s still kind of a reluctance with it all.  I think he spent a lot of Earth, he’s part of that team now and that world.  And we ended Avengers with him saying there’s something going on out there. There’s some bigger questions I need answered. So he’s on this sort of a personal journey to his own discovery and then find these answers for himself.  Then his, what would you call it, his origin, where he’s home, it calls him back, or has drawn him back, and he’s drawn to this thing. So if there is a reluctance, it’s not necessarily him trying to, as you say, now search, or become the king.

He kind of has no choice, I think. Then he gets completely torn out of anything familiar and it shifts again. This is totally where the whole film sort of shifts and we’re on different worlds that we haven’t seen before. There’s different looks to all the characters.  There’s different dynamics. I think the coupling of myself, working with Ruffalo as well, brought out a whole new tone for both of our characters. Which we were like, “Wow, this is very far [removed from the other films in the franchise]. Is It too far?” But I said, it’s good to play with that. Let’s send it off world and then we’ll make it somewhere in the middle. That’s been really enjoyable because it’s kept us on our toes. I think it’s gonna keep audiences on their toes, too. There’s just a whole different energy, look, and feel to any of the Thor films we’ve seen before. I think even different to any of Marvel films, which is great.

Director Taika Waititi said that he’s bringing more humor to it than before, because he loved how it worked in the first two, and it just wasn’t enough. So what has that changed what you’re bringing to the character?

CH: Well, I always felt the same. I felt in the first film we had a lot of fish-out-of-water humor and it was the origin story, so there was a lot of naivety. It was sort of Crocodile Dundee, something we’d laugh about. In the second film, tonally, because of the story, that didn’t lend itself to many opportunities to have those moments of humor. And I’ve missed that. At the time, I thought, where can we put in some more [funny] stuff here and have more fun? Then when I saw the film, I was happy with it, but I thought the next one’s gotta be more fun.

I was a big fan of Taika’s work and think that, in all of his films, he strikes this beautiful balance of humor and heart. It’s all grounded in a reality we can kind of relate to. But it’s fun and enjoyable. And that’s what we’re gonna do with this. Again, what I said before about pushing it in that direction, this could be a flat out comedy if we wanted, or we could pull it back and meet it in the middle.  But I’ve never improvised so much within this character, which has been really exciting. Taika will just yell suggestions while rolling – try this, try that and so on – and that has really come to change the game for myself and for the film.

You mentioned how the joy of the comedy in the first film is the fish out of water.  Now Thor is a much more knowing character, and you want to stress that he’s really come into his own in a new way. How are you finding new shades of humor in that version?

CH: The comedy, as far as the world we’re in, he’s very much fish out of water again, I guess. The situations he finds himself in are very much removed from any kind of Asgardian, ethereal tone we had before. But there’s greater awareness now, obviously. As you say, there’s a maturity to him, so he can’t go back and back in a completely adolescent way like he may have felt the first [couple] times. I think it takes a lot more work in that sense. We’ve gotta go, “Okay, what was specifically here? What would we expect Thor to do or say? And how can we come out from the other direction?” That lends into going, “Oh, this doesn’t even feel like the character anymore.” Which, I think is a good thing…more interesting things happen.

One of the more fascinating parts of the franchise has been the relationship between Thor and Loki.  Obviously they’re brothers, but they’re always at odds. It seems like you guys are working together even more this time as allies than in Thor: The Dark World.

CH: Well, not really. Without giving too much away, one thing I said was I don’t wanna repeat that relationship either.  And I think, Tom [Hiddleston] felt the same. All of us were like, “What can we do again here?” I’m sorry, I’m walking a fine line kinda what I can do, but there’s a bit of reversal. In the first films,  a lot of the time you’re seeing Thor going, “Come back, Loki, and da-da-da-da.” I think there’s a feeling from Thor now that’s just like, “You know what kid, do what you want. You can’t hate me for trying. You’re a screw up, so whatever. Do your thing.” So there’s a bit of that, which is fun, but also something we haven’t sort of played with as much.

Thor Ragnarok

The cat came out of the bag online and then they told us today, Doctor Strange is gonna be popping up.

CH: Oh really? I didn’t know that, too. Okay. It’s online, right? Isn’t it?

*A member of production clarifies that at this time, they’ve only revealed an image of Doctor Strange’s business card.*

CH: Sure. Oh, yes. Yeah, yeah, right. Okay.

How was it with Benedict [Cumberbatch] for the first time? Or have you not filmed that yet.

CH: Uhhhhh…He’s fantastic. But, um, yeah, I don’t know. Sorry, man. I don’t know what’s online and what was referenced. Sorry.

Well, you’re working with Cate Blanchett in this film. What have you been able to teach her about acting? *Laughter*

CH: Oh, that’s been a real bore. She’s like, “Chris, please, I don’t know how to approach this scene. I don’t know how to walk. I don’t know how to talk properly. And the accent.” So that’s been exhausting having to kinda teach her. *laughter* No, I’m in love with Cate. My wife is too, so I can say that. *laughter* The fearlessness, she’s just insanely funny and smart and talented. It’s sort of too good to be true. Kind of like, what’s the catch?

When she came on set, she was talking about villains and how she’ll walk totally different than what you’ve seen.  And I thought, “Oh, I wonder what she’s gonna do.” And I had a sort of image in my head. Then she came on and I was like “Wow, that’s what you do if you’re Cate Blanchett.” That’s why she is who she is. It’s so far from anything I’ve seen before and as intimidating and scary as it is interesting. You have an empathetic view, feeling toward her a lot of time, from what she’s doing. You’re kinda like, “Ah, she’s got a point maybe.” And then you’ve gotta remind yourself, she’s trying to kill us all.

She’s worked really hard at the start of the film, or pre-production, saying, “What does she really want?” What is it that Cate can relate to here and say, “I get what she is and her frustration, or what’s driving her.”

You’ve got somebody you’re working with we believe in the next couple of weeks, Jeff Goldblum. What are you anticipating from that?  Have you talked to your brother who just worked with him on Independence Day: Resurgence about that?

CH: I think he’s Liam [Hemsworth’s] favorite person in the world. Seriously. Had such a great time with him. He’d talk about him all the time – he did to me – maybe more than the film. Have you guys seen that light bulb commercial he did? Oh my God. I’ve never seen that. I’m like, oh yeah, Jeff Goldblum, he’s a good actor. And he is. He’s funny, but then I saw that commercial, oh my God. That felt, in a big way, sort of like an audition for the film. Many colors of that character, I think, I hope, will be in this film.  Certainly on the page there were some tonal similarities.

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