Thor :: he’s tall, blond, sexy and packs a mean hammer

by Jim Halterman

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday May 4, 2011

It's nearly impossible not to create a visual image when hunky Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor in the big budget movie of the same name, describes himself as wearing "a nice pair of green underwear and a yellow shirt and red cape."

Hemsworth wasn't talking about his current film project, but about dressing up as Batman's right-hand man, Robin, while growing up in Australia. This led us to wonder that perhaps the producers missed an opportunity here. While "Thor" will undoubtedly clean up at the box office, the sight of Hemsworth sporting sexy green undies would no doubt have swelled sales (amongst other things) with a certain demographic.

Alas, while there are no underwear scenes in the movie (though we can always hope for some bonus material on the home video release), Hemsworth still has ample time to show off his incredibly beefed up physique in a gasp-inducing shirtless scene, as well as a fight scene where Thor mud wrestles with an equally huge bad guy who is trying to keep him from his powerful hammer.

Speaking of the hammer... if this were the adult version of "Thor", the hammer might be regarding a more, um, intimate part of his anatomy; but in this Marvel version, Thor and his powerful hammer have been banished from Asgard by the ruler who also happens to be Thor's father (played by Sir Anthony Hopkins). With the arrogant Thor stranded on Earth without his powers, having to prove his worth before said hammer can be removed from the ground, he falls for Natalie Portman (who has traded in her "Black Swan" tights to play human scientist Jane Foster).

Will Thor get his powers back in time to save Asgard and his father and mother (Rene Russo) from his evil brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston)? Will Thor lose his arrogant attitude and learn humility so he can pick up that damn hammer? And if he's not wearing green undies, what color undies does he wear?

The exhausting part...

"The most uncomfortable thing was the eating," Hemsworth said about his intense fitness regimen to beef up his already ripped - but much leaner - physique. "I didn't mind so much the working out; I'd never really lifted weights to that capacity beforehand and it was certainly a whole new sort of education for a good six months. I just don't naturally sit at that weight, so I had to force feed myself with, you know, 20 chicken breasts and rice and steak - and all very boring...and that was the most exhausting part, I think, out of the whole film, actually was the eating. It wasn't the fun stuff, either. It wasn't hamburgers and pizza!"

Another thing outside of the dieting for the role was the incredibly heavy armor that Thor and the Asgardian characters wear in the film. Hemsworth said one of the biggest notes he got from the film's director, Kenneth Branagh, was "just let the costume do it because I had this huge helmet on my head and could hardly see [anything]. And Kenneth would just say, 'don't worry. Just live in it and just stay as still as you can and just let the costume and the opulence do the work.'"

Hemsworth's co-star Hiddleston (much more jovial and better looking than in the film) had his own way of explaining the heavy costumes. "It's kind of [like] if you got up in the morning and you wear a pair of shorts and a T-shirt and some flip-flops, it's kind of a signal that you might be going to the beach," he explained. "And if you get up in the morning and you wear a breast plate and a back plate and a cape, and a pair of golden Satanic horns on your head, it's quite clear that you're doing something else."

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Watch the trailer to Thor:

A fine bromance

While there were rumors about animosity between Hemsworth and Hopkins during filming, none of that was on display at the recent press junket for the movie and the cast, which also includes Idris Elba (Luther) and Kat Denning (The House Bunny), actually seemed quite friendly and jovial together. In fact, playing brothers actually came easy for Hemsworth and Hiddleston. "We got along and came into this at the same point in our careers, with the same sort of enthusiasm and love for these types of films," said Hemsworth of his co-star. "You either have chemistry with someone or you don't and thankfully I think it was there, and so to play brothers was easy and fun." Hiddleston added with a grin, "It's quite literally a bromance!"

Hiddleston continued and said he couldn't imagine going through the taxing work of this film with someone with whom he didn't get along. "It'd be just horrendous to go to work...[but] we just had a really, really good time. Also, there are so many things that went wrong that were just accidents that make you laugh. And it's such a huge journey. We both spent two years of our lives working on this film, and it's so nice that there's somebody else who's kind of alongside." Seemingly not as serious (or opposing) as their sibling characters, Hiddleston recounted "Chris had a few drinks at the wrap party and was hanging out the window on the way back to the hotel, saying, "You're the only one who understands me." After the laugher of the room subsided, Hemsworth added, trying not to smile, "I have no idea what I was talking about."

Sir Anthony Hopkins was in on the joking on-set, too, to hear Hiddleston tell it. "We were walking down towards the casket and [Tony] said, 'Can I tell you something, Tom?' And I went, 'Absolutely. Say it up straight. Tell me, tell me anything.' And he said, 'You're doing this very strange thing with your wrists.'" Hiddleston said in response, "'Oh, my God, what am I doing?' And he said, 'You're just - it looks a little bit camp. Maybe you can butch it up a bit.'"

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Watch this feature about Chris Hemsworth on Thor:

More Thor?

Since the actors know they may inhabit these characters for several more movies, Hiddleston broke down the dynamic of these characters and why they're as rich with story for as many films as Marvel wants to finance. "If you boil this film down to its barest elements, it's about a father and two sons. And both those sons are two brothers competing for the love and affection and pride of their father, Odin." Hiddleston also admitted that Hemsworth has the physical advantage to play the more heroic character of Thor. "I'm not built like a house like the man to my right," Hiddleston said, nodding in Hemsworth's direction. "And there's no way in Odin's Asgard I could have delivered what Chris has done."

While the fate of more "Thor" movies could be answered as soon as the opening weekend domestic box office numbers come in (the film opened earlier in International territories and is successfully filling seats), Hemsworth and Hiddleston are both signed on to appear in the upcoming 2012 film adaptation of "The Avengers", which will include a cluster of Marvel comic heroes including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and, of course, Hemsworth's Thor. What do the actors think is the biggest challenge in a movie with so many heroes and villains? "I think sort of the thing that looks like a challenge is actually the reason it'll work," said Hiddleston, "as in how can one movie contain so many different flavors and colors and characters. I think [the film's director] Joss Whedon has probably made that his strength and the conflict between each of them will be something that will be expanded on, I think."

Until "The Avengers" or another "Thor" movie comes, we'll have our memories (and Internet photos) of Hemsworth shirtless or, if we close our eyes really tight, wearing green superhero underwear.

"Thor" arrives in theaters on Friday.

Watch this interview Chris Hemsworth at last year's Comic Com:

Jim Halterman lives in Los Angeles and also covers the TV/Film/Theater scene for, AfterElton, Vulture, CBS Watch magazine and, of course, He is also a regular Tweeter and has a group site on Facebook.