The Star Of Thor: Ragnarok Says Change Is Necessary And He Needs To Be Terrified

This time around Thor loses his hammer and his big hair – so how did Chris Hemsworth adapt to change, and is taking creative risk necessary to stay on top of your game?

RISING You’re back as Thor in the new movie – fans will notice that the power metal hairdo has been chopped – do you miss it? CHRIS HEMSWORTH, ACTOR ‘The hair was my idea. Who says Thor can’t get a haircut? He needs to change it up like the rest of us, haha! I was sick of the hair, I had it on five movies, so I put the foot down and said: “The hair's going. Thor needs a makeover.” And by the grace of whoever, the studio and Taika agreed with me. And it made sense, he's getting old, his hair would start to thin a little. A lot in this instance. That's what happens to Norse gods – they’re not completely infallible!’

RISING Thor goes through a lot of changes, the hair, the hammer, was all that intentional? CH ‘I would have been really bored if we went down the same path, so you know, losing the hammer, losing the hair, it's thrown him for a loop, shaken things up, made it compelling for everyone involved. Including me.’

It's good to take a chance and risk it all – otherwise, what's the point?

RISING Does there come a point as an actor where change is necessary for you to be totally engaged? CH ‘I mean, you know, I don't want to get myself in trouble here by saying anything sensitive but everything I had done previously as Thor, was starting to feel a little, a little familiar and had we stayed very blinkered on this path – I don't know how much more enthusiasm I would have. It's like anything you work on, variety keeps it interesting. And Taika has taken this machine and re-energised and tinkered away and delivered what I think is a very unique, never seen before movie in the Marvel universe. It's good to take a chance and risk it all. Otherwise, what's the point? And you're obliged to the fans to do that. I'm a fan, if I see a sequel that's a complete regurgitation of the last? “Not happy – where’s my money back, I'm not happy.” So we all want the same thing.’

RISING Did the change allow for more creativity on set? CH ‘This Thor, who's loose, who likes to joke, that’s so much more who I am rather than this stern, stoic guy. I couldn't be further from that guy. And that was all down to Taika Waititi [director]. There was a sickeningly brilliant diet for improvisation on set. It was infectious the more it happened. But the best came from this young guy, Darcy, who was visiting the set from the Make a Wish Foundation. What became the norm between everyone during takes was shouting ideas at each other and during the coliseum piece between Hulk and I, Darcy shouts: “You should say: I know him, he's a friend from work.” Bang in there, the best line in the whole movie.’

RISING You’ve teamed up with Mark Ruffalo again for the movie – do you miss the other Avengers? CH ‘No! Haha. It's retribution. Pure retribution. They all went off to do Civil War and we weren't invited. So we got together and have made what is probably going to be the biggest Marvel movie ever. I hope! I remember doing the press for Age of Ultron and just kept hearing Downey and Chris Evans and Scarlett saying, ‘Civil War, Civil War’ while me and Mark were kicking dust on the sides.’

RISING You filmed the movie in Australia this time – what was working with Cate Blanchett’s Goddess Of Death villain like? CH ‘I got to work opposite Cate Blanchett. The Cate Blanchett. Where do you begin? There's no way to prepare yourself, I was shaking. My heart was going. And she was coming in as a newcomer, I've worked with these big names before but I don't know, when it comes to Cate, she's revered. Maybe it's an Australian thing? It's a world thing, what am I saying! Seriously, she's the most down to earth soul there is. Respectful to everyone, there to do the work, no bull. When someone is that elevated on a professional level, you can encounter less than ideal behaviour. Cate couldn’t be further away from that.’

Wonder Woman rules my household – she’s actually my favourite superhero

RISING You’re fairly laid back for a movie star too, though? CH ‘It's an Australian thing. We don't go for that, haha!’

RISING So, whose diva behaviour have you encountered then? CH ‘I don't like to say but I think it's worth putting out there, Mark Ruffalo's the biggest [diva] there is. And Chris Evans, those guys are the worst. Outlandish demands, the not looking in the eye stuff. The worst. You didn't hear it from me!’

RISING We hear you were trying to avoid the all obligatory shirtless scene this time around? CH Yeah, that was what I was most pumped about – there was no shirt-off scene in this one and I could have a gym holiday. For the most part. But then Taika says to me: “I think we need one.” And I'm like: “No we don't, it' s been done before, we said we weren't going to repeat ourselves.” And he's like: “Well we aren’t but you’re taking the shirt off. Go to the gym now! This is not going to be the first Thor movie that bombs just because people are pissed they didn’t get to see your muscles!” I basically made a huge mistake first time round with Ken Branagh. I set a precedent that’s impossible to maintain. I trained for eight months for him, really went for it, and now I have to keep that up. I want to keep my clothes on. Firmly on, haha!’

I need to take real, dangerous risks, you've got to be smart in this industry but you also have to feed the soul

RISING You got to commute home after the day’s filming this time – are your kids big Thor fans? CH They love him. But only when they're watching the movies. With all the effects and looking as real as one of these movies can. But when they come on set, they're pretty unimpressed. They see it's all fake. They hate it, they never want to come on set again! Although they're happy to come to the Avengers set when Chris Evans is there, especially my son Sasha. He says to him, he loves Captain America, “up up” and Chris is walking around with him all day. He's the greatest free babysitter a dad can ask for. Highly recommend! My other son, he loves Thor. He won't let me or his mum cut his hair, which I'm quite delighted by. And my little girl, she loves Wonder Woman. Well actually they all love Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman rules my household. She's actually my favourite superhero.’

RISING You're filming Infinity War right now, but do you know when you're done? Officially done with Thor? CH ‘I do know. My contract has an expiry date yes, but quite honestly, after the amazing time we had on this one and if you lot buy enough tickets, I think a fourth one could be in the works. A fifth one. You never know.’

RISING What about life and career after Thor – do you think about that? CH ‘I do, of course, I do. I have anxieties about that. I know I'm on a trajectory that could easily veer badly off course. Those niggles are in the back of my mind undoubtedly. I'm not preparing but I'm probably quietly bracing myself for it.’

RISING Do you think you'll head in completely different direction? CH ‘I need to take more risks, real dangerous risks, you've got to be smart in this industry but you also have to feed the soul, give it the dopamine it needs. I do want to take huge risks, I want to be terrified and scared.’

WHAT NEXT? Watch the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok out in theatres now…