Chris Hemsworth On Training and Prep for ‘Thor: Love And Thunder’
Chris Hemsworth is one of those guys who has managed to stay authentic through a meteoric rise to stardom. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that when the Australian actor isn’t portraying a Norse god for Marvel or doing hit action flicks like Extraction for Netflix, he is back home surrounded by family in Byron Bay.
“It’s all about staying true to yourself“ Hemsworth told Men’s Journal. “Trying to live a life of integrity and honesty. And pursuing your dreams with a real commitment and passion.”
That down-to-earth attitude plays into everything Hemsworth is involved in, from showbiz to his new BOSS Bottled campaign with Hugo Boss. Being the face of a fragrance is not for everyone, but he wears it well, because we know he doesn’t just sit pretty. Odds are that once the photo shoot is wrapped, he’s ditching the suit for gym gear or his surfing wetsuit.
We spoke to Hemsworth about Australia, his latest training methods, and what to expect from the next Thor.
Since you are someone that is constantly evolving with your training, what new methods and exercises are you excited about?
I’ve been training with Ross Edgley, who was the first person to swim around Great Britain, and the list goes on of incredible feats. He’s an absolute beast. But just a ball of positivity and knowledge. There’s not a subject in the field of health, wellness, training, repair, recovery, strength, speed, endurance, whatever, that he isn’t versed in. So, I’ve just been savagely stealing all of his knowledge as much as I can.
I’m shooting a documentary for National Geographic and Utopia, who also did One Strange Rock with Will Smith. And Darren Aronofsky’s overseeing the whole thing and directing a lot of it, and it’s all about longevity and health. And Ross has been quite central to a lot of those episodes, so he’s out here currently in Australia. And with Thor next year, we’re already doing a lot of strength work and power work and building muscle, but really concentrating on having it be functional too. So, incorporating swimming with it, incorporating functional movements.
I found that in the past, when I just lifted heavy weights, I put the mass on, but my joints were stiff, there was no functionality to it. And I’ve never seen anyone at his size or that size also have such athleticism, and that’s what’s impressive. He does not look like a swimmer, but if he didn’t have that muscle mass on the swim around Great Britain, his tendons would probably have torn off. So, he’s a very unique individual and it’s been fantastic to work so closely with him lately.
How have the workouts evolved since those interactions?
Just being really smart with the training. But to be honest, we’re training in less time, but with a greater intensity. So, big power movements, building up to them, and then mechanical drop sets, hitting it from different angles, one after another. Doing big, heavy chest and then holding an isolated half push-up position, so isolated holds after a big set. But just explosive eccentric movement and then slow on the concentric.
The wheels are in motion for the next Thor, when did you start training for it?
I ruptured a couple of ligaments in my ankle, so we really had to alter the training. This was last month, so I’ve had to work around that and have it in a moonboot for a bit. But that’s actually starting to feel good now, so working with a great physio on directional change stuff and stressing the ankle in similar positions under a safe space, so that it can build up scar tissue in that movement. Not completely staying away from it, which I hadn’t worked with before.
Normally, in injury and tendon damage, you just stay right away and don’t touch it, which we did for a period of time, but he said it was just as important to get back and stress it in the same way just to build strength there again. We’ve been doing that, but again, I couldn’t swim properly, so I’d be swimming with a pool buoy, flotation device in between my knees. So, I could still do upper body and still get some sort of core movement workout.
Do you make it a point to recreate the physicality that you have in previous Thor movies? Or do you find yourself trying to adapt his look depending on the script?
Depending on what version of Thor we see, and we saw the different condition he was in in End Game. If I’m playing a healthy version of Thor, I want to step it up a notch and I’m definitely looking at evolving again. With all the muscle memory, you only look a certain way after years and years of doing it. There’s a different sort of density to your muscle mass.
This is something I say all the time, but I want to be able to have function to it. You can see people who just do strict body building, they move a certain way. There’s an impressive visual image there, but for me, it’s got to be agile and mobile and have flexibility to it. So, I like to think we’re all pretty excited that we’re ramping it up again and Ross is going to give me a hand with that. I’m in good hands.
I heard that you and director Taika Waititi have been having script meetings on the new one, Thor: Love and Thunder. Can we expect some big action?
For sure. Always! That is something that I said to Taika early on, because he’s so incredible with story, and character, and humor. And what was so amazing about Ragnarök was that it had all those elements, but I also heard from people that they loved the big action scenes. The opening with the Fire Giant, and the battle on the bridge. Those big cinematic, launch-off-the-screen experiences. So I really think it is about that fusion. The attention to all of the spaces. It is one of the funniest scripts I have read in years, and I have read a few. I haven’t been this excited for a long time.
I remember speaking to you when you first got the role of Thor, you were prepared to work, but did you ever see coming up on a decade of playing the character?
I couldn’t have seen this coming. I didn’t realize the health journey it was going to send me on. I wish I knew what I know now back then. I have learned how important those early years are for setting a foundation, and getting the mechanics right. Not stressing the parts of the body that people are usually stressing, the knees and the back. These days I feel healthier than I ever have and that has a lot to do with the abundance of people that I have interacted with. It is about staying open to new ideas, and not thinking you have all of the answers.
During that time, you became the face of BOSS Bottled, as their Man of Today, what did you like about the campaign?
They are timeless, and I believe that message of staying true to what you are really connected with me. That’s been the ethos for the brand since I first joined and, I think, for a long time. So, it’s great to be part of that kind of a positive message.
Being the face of a fragrance, what smells do you find yourself enjoying the most?
I have to say the smell of Australia. When I step off a plane having landed back home after traveling. The first thing that hits me is that Australian bush life, the eucalyptus and crackling plant life. There is also a frangipani tree that grows at our home, that just brings me peace. They grow in the places of course, like Hawaii and Indonesia. If I come across one of those out in the world, it just brings me back home. And then the beach and everything that comes with that. The ocean, and the smell of surfboard wax. Those scents are very grounding for me.