As we wait with the most bated of breath for May 1st to roll around and Avengers: Age of Ultron to finally get its strings on us, we’ve been thinking a lot about each of the Avengers and how they will or won’t fit into the greater story arcs at work. We were worried, needlessly it turned out, before Joss Whedon‘s first Avengers over how he’d manage to get all of the disparate elements together. We weren’t sure how the godly being of Thor would be able to mix with the others. As it turns out, Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder fit like an Asgardian gauntlet. With his mighty Mjolnir in tow, he skirmished with Iron Man and Captain America, and proved he is the only power in the universe able to slow down the Hulk mid-smash. Now, following another solo movie, what does a team-up sequel have in store for the blond-and-bearded one? We spoke to Chris Hemsworth last year on a set visit to get the scoop on the giant hammer-wielder’s story.
Unlike many of the other lead actors, Hemsworth wasn’t a household name before becoming Thor, but The Avengers changed all of that. As such, he was very excited to see what Whedon’s script would be like. “It was awesome,” he said. “Coming off of Thor 2 and Avengers, I couldn’t wait to read this. And I just loved how it upped it in a way that wasn’t just bigger and flashier. I mean, everything had been amplified but in an intelligent way. All the stories are relevant to what’s going on in the world as far as the exponential growth of technology and artificial intelligence and then the questions of good versus bad and the AI world.” He was particularly impressed how so many characters have once again been given their time to shine. “[Joss] managed to bring all of the Avengers back in and give them a relevant reason to be there and justified their conflict,” he said. “I mean it’s a tricky balance. I’m glad I’m not the one writing the thing and having to pull that off.”
Following Thor’s decision to stay on Earth after Thor: The Dark World, Hemsworth told us how his character is adjusting to living full time on Midgard. “He’s part of the team. This is his home for the moment. And the initial threat attack from Ultron is personal because it’s at all the Avengers, and Thor then begins to see a bigger sort of picture here about what this threat could be, potentially, and how it begins to tie in to all of our films.”
Hemsworth was intensely aware that he wanted Thor to be there for a specific purpose and not just because he’s under contract to stand in a room with the other heroes. “I just sort of kept saying to Joss ‘Okay, what do I bring to the table though, you know besides kind of Thor being one of the foot soldiers and the muscle in a bunch of fight scenes?'” he said. “Like what is his knowledge he can bring to it? And trying to incorporate, okay, he’s from another world because if you get that too, all of a sudden you’re standing there in these conversations and you go ‘well, hang on, he’s from another planet. What’s his thousands of years of existence? What information can I bring?’ And so he calls upon some of his Asgardian knowledge in this and is able to go into, you know, say another realm to pull out something that’s hugely useful, some information that certainly benefits where they’re at at that point.”
It’s not all dour fighting for Thor again, though, and Hemsworth was happy to showcase the character’s lighter side. “He’s loosened up a bit,” the actor told us. “I think we lost some of the humor and the naïveté and you know the sort of fish out of water quality of Thor from the first Thor into the second one. And there were things I loved about what we did in [The Dark World], too, tonally, but you know that sense of fun, I would have liked it to be there a bit more. So this time, and Joss I think felt the same way. There’s more humor in Thor, or he at least because he’s been on Earth, he’s a little more humorous, a little more accessible now. He’s off Asgard now so he doesn’t have to be as regal and kingly as he is in that world, which is nice. Here you can have a gag with the guys and he can throw away lines and be a party scene with them in civilian clothes, which is nice.”
A certain scene in the Avengers Tower features Thor in his aforementioned civilian clothes, and Hemsworth told us the other actors almost didn’t know how to take the usually-caped hero. “I was in a nice coat and jeans and the guys just kept joking, “When did Thor go shopping?” Did he buy this online or did Jane do it, or did he actually go shopping? And, so you don’t see him go shopping but the question’s raised because he’s not dressed in his Asgardian attire. Yeah, he’s more human in the film definitely.”
No single person has fought more individual Avengers than Thor himself. After tangling in the woods with Iron Man, and a little bit with Cap, he had a lengthy fight with the Hulk. That doesn’t change in Age of Ultron; the day we were on set was a massive fight scene between Hemsworth’s Thor and Paul Bettany’s Vision in the Avengers Tower. While Hemsworth couldn’t talk too much about that specifically, he did share that it’s not just Vision who faces the hammer. “He has a pretty solid battle with Iron Man in this one, which is cool. It’s a lengthy fight scene of destruction and, you know, yeah.”
Bettany isn’t the only new face, of course, with James Spader as Ultron, Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver, and Elizabeth Olsen and as Scarlet Witch joining the cast. We asked Hemsworth what the new faces meant for Thor and for filming in general. “It’s awesome. It shakes things up because you–and I find this in my individual films–you get comfortable. You get into a rhythm or a routine and you think you know it,” he said, frankly. “Until that’s challenged you kind of go ‘oh, yeah, that’s right, there is another option here,’ and you know we keep changing it and mixing it up.”
“And you know,” he continued, “this new cast all of a sudden breaks the familiar rhythm that we may have and makes it a bit more unpredictable. We’re lucky; to come back and actually want to come back and work with these guys and hang out again and pick up where we left off is a pretty special thing. And it’s been great. I do, I love working on this set.”
We’ll see how Thor matches up to all the new challenges when Avengers: Age of Ultrons zaps its way onto cinema screens Friday May 1st.
(All Images: MARVEL)