Chris Hemsworth: “We grew up broke. I always thought about earning money to pay off my parents’ debts” | People



Seven days, four countries and three continents. This is the world tour in which Australian actor Chris Hemsworth (Melbourne, 39 years old) is immersed to present his new film with Netflix: tyler rake 2, which will premiere on the platform on June 16. Hardly resting, the interpreter landed in Madrid this week for an intense, but exciting promotion. It is he himself who opens the door of his room in a central hotel in the capital to receive EL PAÍS. “I’m happy. Madrid is one of my favorite cities in the world”, affirms the actor while a stopwatch marks the time limit established for the interview: 14 minutes. The affection received from his Spanish followers was not expected, although he admits, with a laugh, that he does not have the answer to so much love: “I don’t know if it’s because of me or because of the fact that I married one of the most charming Spaniards [Elsa Pataky]but it’s been amazing. This is one of the biggest receptions I’ve had in my career.”

With an imposing physique and 1.90 meters tall, he is always close, friendly and, above all, very joking. He has been in the world of acting for more than two decades, but he has gained worldwide recognition thanks to his role as Thor, the god of war and savage fighting in the Marvel franchise. He now returns to the screen as Tyler Rake, a mercenary who fights against everything and everyone to complete his missions. “What unites us is that we have the same height, the same eye color and a similar complexion,” he jokes. But he soon turns serious: “We both have a moral compass about right and wrong, justice and injustice. But we do it in different ways, because we have different histories.”

The most important link between Hemsworth and his character is that of being a father, something that has helped him in this interpretation. He has three children with the also actress Elsa Pataky, with whom he has been married since 2010: India Rose, 10, and the twins Tristan and Sasha, nine. His character has one who dies of cancer. “I empathize with the character for the damage that has caused him. I knock on wood because it has never happened to me and I have not experienced it. But thinking about it during that year has opened an emotional wound in me. Playing the character if I didn’t have children wouldn’t have been so easy, ”he admits.

The first installment of Tyler Rake It is the ninth most viewed film in Netflix history. A success that has helped the production of its sequel: a similar script, more action, more camaraderie, and which also helps to learn more about the character played by the Australian. “The emotional journey is important, the development of the character, the motivations he has, why he does what he does… All this complements the action. The integration of both is important because if you only have spectacle, visual effects and impressive stunts, you do not generate emotion in the public, it is all noise”.

The filming was “exhausting and very demanding” for the actor: “I came from recording Thor, in which he had to be as strong and as robust as he could be. A month later we started with this one. I didn’t have time to lose that complexion. I drastically altered my training, I reduced my calorie intake, I began to be more functional in my movements and more flexible, I had more martial arts training… We were filming 14 hours a day and rehearsing the stunts at night.” But, without a doubt, the most difficult thing for him was maintaining concentration during the four months of recording: “It is a story with great emotional weight. He would spend many hours a day convincing me that he was that person, as well as trying to maintain enough energy for the more physical parts. I still have a hangover and side effects from those days.”

Australian actor Chris Hemsworth at the 'Tyler Rake 2' premiere on June 7.
Australian actor Chris Hemsworth at the ‘Tyler Rake 2’ premiere on June 7. JPGANDUL (EFE)

The passion for action movies comes to him since he was a child who lived between Melbourne and Bulman, a city located in the north of Australia. “I grew up with the great films of Schwarzenegger, Van Damme or Stallone. I would see what they were doing and go to the backyard with my brothers to recreate the scenes. They were simple childhood experiences that motivated me to want to be an actor. At first it was just a game, being in an adventure, but then I realized that art resonated with me and that it was the way I had to bring out my most creative side”. A childhood that was also marked by the profession of his parents: “They worked in child protection for many years. My father put aside his dreams to dedicate himself to helping children, that is why I have had all the influence of my parents, because I grew up in that environment. That motivation was a great inspiration. You have to know how to put aside your own personal well-being to help others”.

The advice and influence of his family have been very present in Hemsworth’s film career. Despite being a god in fiction and the fame that surrounds him, he has learned to always keep his feet on the ground and change his mentality: “My mother told me years ago to have fun, but I got stuck in expectations. and the dreams that I wanted to achieve. I wanted to shoot for the stars and that was a lot of weight to handle. I have learned to stop looking so far away ”, he adds in an interview in which he does not say a word in Spanish – the few that he uttered at the premiere in Madrid were written in his hand.

In his early years as an actor, the motivation was clear: to bring home money to help his family financially. “We grew up penniless, broke. I always thought about earning money to pay off my parents’ debts, pay off the house, and help friends and family. You have to stay true to yourself and be aware of the constant changes in your life. It’s my only rule and it will never change.”

Another of the rules on which he is focusing the most in these last years of his career is to choose well what role he accepts and the development that that character can achieve. At all times he has left the door open to a third installment of Tyler Rake, but with nuances: “It requires and deserves something unique and fresh.” Something that he has already asked to continue his role as Thor in Marvel: “In the movie Thor: Ragnarok i experienced it. It’s important to stay the same character but have the ability to surprise the audience and not get locked into a box and be predictable. The public deserves and expects you to change things, that you surprise them, that there be spontaneity”. Although at no time has he closed the door on continuing to play Thor, he will if there isn’t a good story behind it: “I am confident in my ability to recreate the character and do something fresh. But I don’t want to keep playing it when people get sick of it or they’re taking me to the set in a wheelchair and still trying to swing the hammer. There is a moment where he decides to go out before that happens.

More than 56 million people follow Hemsworth on his social networks. A number that is dizzying. Even so, he prefers to stay away from opinions and the criticism that comes to him through them: “It is natural that those opinions affect you. I’ve gotten better at it. I like to think that it’s not so much because of me, but it depends on what that person is going through. I empathize with it.”

Despite his busy schedule in recent days, he has been taking a break since the end of 2022. Last November, Hemsworth discovered that he was at increased risk of Alzheimer’s, something that has made him realize the importance of time: “ I’ve had seven months off and it’s been great. I have recharged energy and spent time with my family. I needed to rest to continue being creative.” The timer comes to an end. He gets up from his seat and with the great kindness that characterizes him he says goodbye. With some interview pending and a flight to catch the next day, he has little time left to rest and visit Madrid.


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