Few actors in Hollywood have as much of a sense of humor about themselves as Chris Hemsworth. If you need any proof, just look at the Ghostbusters remake and the criminally under-appreciated comedy Vacation. But most of the world has gotten to know him as the titular character in Thor. Though it may be hard to believe for a leading man as jacked as Hemsworth, the sort of actor who is as much of a fixture on muscle magazines as professional athletes, the role almost didn’t go to him, but to his younger brother Liam. The way Hemsworth tells it, his audition had gone so badly, he didn’t hear back from producers for months while his brother was called in several times for the part. Eventually, a little sibling rivalry kicked in, and, when he was finally called back, he scored the role. The rest, as they say, is history. In an interview for W‘s Royals portfolio, Hemsworth recalls his start in acting, and pokes fun at his brother’s sometimes gratuitous Instagram posts.
What was the first thing you auditioned for in your whole career? The first thing I auditioned for would have been a commercial. I did a lot of commercial auditions and I remembered walking in and having to tell them about myself and who I am, where I’m from. None of it was very interesting, obviously, because I never got those jobs. And, the first job I booked was a famous Australian TV show called Neighbors. Basically, one of the lead characters had been robbed in the café and I had to come in and say, ‘What’s going on? Quick. Call the police.’ And that was my big moment.
And then didn’t you have a regular gig on Neighbors? I had a regular gig on another soap opera, the sort of rival soap opera to that one, Home and Away. I did that for three and a half years, which was great. Spent a lot of time on the beach and went through every melodramatic tragedy that one can go through—plane crashes and fires and robberies and landslides. All sorts of ridiculous things would happen to my character. I had three different kids. All three kids with three different women across that show. I was 19 on the show for three years, five days a week. I just never aged.
Did your mother and father watch you? My mother and father watched the show for a little bit I think. I mean, it’s the show that’s on in everyone’s lounge room at dinner time. So you become kind of part of the family or there’s an ownership they have to you, you know? So being in public after being on that show, there’s a big lack of boundaries with people because they’d run up and grab you in a headlock and say, ‘Hey, we watch the show and saw you last night. Give us a photo and do this and do that.’
Did you have an itch to move to America or were you happy? Were you always thinking about things, as many Australian actors do, in Los Angeles? I was. It was during high school, I kind of had a different idea every week of what I wanted to do and most of it was motivated by getting out of the neighborhood I was in and not being stuck in some job I didn’t enjoy. We grew up with very little money and that kind of frustrated me as a kid listening to my parents talk about bills every week and sort of seeing the sort of weight that put on them. I thought, ‘That’s it. I’m gonna make money and pay off their house.’ So I thought, ‘I’ll be an actor,’ and very naively kind of ran into that world and started auditioning. Then I love film, but I didn’t have any sort of experience or great knowledge with acting and kind of learned on the fly and learned on the job and got a few lucky breaks. It was great and eventually did pay off my parents house and then kind of went, ‘What do I do now?’ But I think I unconsciously loved acting.
So tell me my favorite story, which is when you auditioned for Thor because I would have thought that you walked into the room and they said, ‘Okay. That’s it. We’re done. He’s the guy. There can’t be anybody better than this.’ But that’s not what happened. I remembered reading the breakdown for Thor and it said, ‘Must be over 6’3″ and 200 pounds,’ and so on. I thought, ‘Oh cool. This is the one thing that sort of fits me.’ Most of the time, I’d have to lie about my height and say I was a little shorter and so on. I’d only get cast or auditioned for the football player or something. So I thought, ‘Great. This is up my alley.’ I came into the audition with Kenneth Branagh and thought I nailed it and then never heard anything back. Months went by and then my brother, my little brother, Liam, was in Australia and sent a tape across and he got a call back, then another call back and then was down to the last kind of four or five people for it. I remember sitting in Vancouver, shooting Cabin in the Woods with Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon. Both of them were looking at the trades at this sort of top five guys for Thor and saying, ‘Why aren’t you in the mix here? What happened?’ I said, ‘I don’t know. I blew my audition I guess.’ None of those guys got it. My manager then called up and said, ‘You know, he’s got an older brother. Can we bring him back in?’ So I did an audition in Vancouver in this hotel room with my mum reading Anthony Hopkins’ part. She must have nailed it because it got me back in the room and that second audition was a lot different than my first one. I came in kind of with a little, I guess, motivation and maybe frustration that my little brother had gotten further than me. It’s a little family, sibling rivalry sort of kicked up in me. Then it moved pretty quick from there. It was cool.
Do you have his hammer? When I interviewed Chris Evans, he’s got Captain America’s shield and stuff in the house. You’ve got boys. Have they experienced the hammer? I do have the hammer at home. Because each film each director sort of alters it a little bit, so I’ve got a couple of them. They’re a little heavy for me kids to pick it up, but one of my boys in particular is obsessed with Thor and the whole world. The other two are like, ‘Yeah. Dad’s Thor. Whatever,’ but my son, Tristan, jumps off the kitchen bench on a daily basis. He yells all sorts of motivating warrior cries and so on. I come home from work and he’s like, ‘Papa, did you fight the monsters? Did you beat up the monsters?’
Then I heard another great story that you have to tell, that Natalie Portman couldn’t make a re-shoot, so your wife, Elsa Pataky was Natalie. That’s right. We were in Hong Kong doing re-shoots for Thor and I was actually shooting something else at the time and then I had to do this re-shoot. So we got called in and I get to the studio. The director comes up to me and he says, ‘So, basically, it’s just final kiss of the movie. You have to kiss Natalie, but she’s not here, so we brought in these girls.’ He said, ‘I know this sounds awful or whatever, but he said, ‘Do you want to pick one? Who do you want to kiss?’ And they had these young ladies who were all wonderful and I said, ‘My wife’s around the corner. Let’s get her in and she’s the same height and I won’t have to explain to her what I’ve been doing at work from having to kiss someone else.’ So she came in and that’s the final kiss in that movie is between my wife and I.
Do you have any secret skills that we don’t know about? Like somebody the other day said they were good at baking. Like somebody, a man, went on and on about how good a sewer they are… Well, it’s funny you should say sewing because as kid, I had a real sort of interest in sewing. I think it’s because I couldn’t afford any cool clothes, so I was like, ‘I’m gonna make them myself.’ I remember doing cross stitch and for whatever reason, anything for me as a kid, I had a lot of trouble kind of focusing on one task and sitting still. I was pretty active. But anything really detailed where I had to sort of physically and mentally be involved and anything could hold my attention was a big plus for my parents, in particular. For some reason, cross stitch was one that I enjoyed. Then I remembered buying or getting sort of patterns for clothing and trying to make pants and things. I don’t think that went very far. I think I might have sewed a leg together or something. But there was a period when I was like, ‘I’m gonna be a designer!’ As I said before, I had a different idea every week of what I wanted to do professionally. Then the next day, it was like, ‘I’m gonna be a professional boxer,’ and then the next day it was like, ‘I’m gonna be a lawyer or a doctor.’ I’d see movies and be inspired by things. I guess that’s why acting fits because I get to pretend to be all those things with no great amount of risk or effort. I don’t have to do a seven year law degree to be a lawyer in a movie, you know?
18 Photos of Chris Hemsworth and His Glorious Superhero Physique
A young Chris Hemsworth attends the Star Trek Los Angeles premiere in 2009, wearing a slim fitting suit .
While out in Santa Monica with wife Elsa Pataky, Hemsworth shows off his toned biceps in a casual tee.
At the photocall for Thor in Madrid in 2011, Hemsworth wore his blonde locks combed over with a fitted navy button-up.
Rocking bleach blonde tips and chiseled abs, Hemsworth takes a trip to the beach for a quick surf.
Arriving at the taping of the Late Show With David Letterman in 2012, Hemsworth paired his blonde man bun with a fitted leather jacket.
Hemsworth showed off his toned arms while walking the streets of London.
While vacationing in Sydney, Australia, Hemsworth shows off his poolside toned abs wearing his hair in a sleek bun.
At Byron Bay in Australia, Hemsworth was spotted out surfing rocked his toned physique.
While out in Los Angeles, the Thor actor wore a sleeveless shirt that showed off his ripped biceps.
Taking a break from waves in Byron Bay, Hemsworth shows off his chiseled torso.
While hosting Saturday Night Live in 2015, Hemsworth shows off his toned abs during the sketch.
Hemsworth paired his toned physique with a baseball cap and sunglasses while out surfing in Australia.
The Thor actor is spotted surfing back at Byron Bay revealing his athletic physique.
Rocking tousled waves with his toned biceps and chiseled abs, Hemsworth looked relaxed at Byron Bay in Australia.
Chris Hemsworth is seen on July 19, 2018 in San Sebastian, Spain. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Chris Hemsworth is seen on January 10, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Molly Smith (C) and Chris Hemsworth attend The “12 Strong” World Premiere after party on January 16, 2018 in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Chris Hemsworth is seen on April 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, CA. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Your brother was in this movie where he had clothes made for him, The Dressmaker. There’s a totally gratuitous scene where he’s just standing there basically naked. For the whole scene. I know. Shameful. That was probably his idea.
Well, he just posted a picture of himself that’s very revealing the other day. I saw that. What did he say? He used ice baths and short shorts. I was looking for the hidden sort of message in there, Liam. That sounds like a Friday night after you’ve had a few beers kind of Instagram post, doesn’t it? And you wake up Saturday and go, ‘No, I didn’t, did I?’
Royals 2017: Why Pharrell Williams, Winona Ryder, Tracee Ellis Ross and More Are the Role Models of Today
Winona Ryder wears Fendi dress; Angela Friedman bra; M&S Schmalberg brooch; Fogal tights; Gucci shoes. Beauty: Chantecaille.
Tilda Swinton wears Loewe jacket, shirt, and pants. Beauty: Chanel.
Hailee Steinfeld wears Valentino dress. Beauty: Maybelline.
Tracee Ellis Ross wears Vetements dress. Beauty: Lâncome.
Saoirse Ronan wears Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello shirt and pants. Beauty: Nars.
Chris Hemsworth wears Boss shirt and pants; his own belt and necklace. Grooming: Hugo Boss.
Pharrell Williams wears Sacai shirt; Bulgari necklace (top); his own necklace. Grooming: Giorgio Armani.
Robert Pattinson wears Dior Homme turtleneck; Haider Ackermann pants. Grooming: Dior Homme.
James Corden wears Ann Demeulemeester shirt and hat. Grooming: Neutrogena.
Jared Leto wears Gucci jacket, shirt, and pants; M&S Schmalberg brooch; Artemas Quibble belt. Grooming: Gucci.
New Royalty: Movie Star
My first kiss was on set. It was my very first film as well. My character really liked this boy, and she didn’t know if he noticed her. In the end she got to kiss him. At that time, I was only 11 years old, and not ready to kiss a boy. I asked the director, “How long do you want me to kiss him? How many seconds?” And the director said, “Three seconds.” So while kissing, I counted in my head. Every single take I was like, One, two, three. And then: “Okay, kill, cut!” I definitely suffered for art.
Ronan wears a Louis Vuitton top, cape, and shoes; Falke tights.
Classic Royalty: Movie Star
Is there anything that scares you? I’m not easily scared, and I’m wary of being bored. I think risk-taking is a subjective thing. One person’s risk is another one’s comfort zone. And, to be honest, I’m too lazy to get easily scared. Maybe I’ve got a bit of my brain missing, but I love not knowing what I’m doing next. What about when it comes to clothes? Did you always have a fashion-forward outlook? Again, what somebody might think of as unusual is, to me, supercomfortable, inspiring, and interesting. I’ve never truly been that aware of fashion; I’m interested in style.
Swinton wears a Haider Ackermann shirt; Alexander Calder necklace from Stephen Russell, New York.
New Royalty: Renaissance Person
Where do you get your ideas? The shower is a frequent place. Actually, near any running water—whether it’s the faucet or the shower. And sometimes I get ideas on a plane because of the sound deprivation.
Do you record your ideas on your phone? I just hold on to them. The best way to remember something is if you home in on the excitement. That you don’t forget.
Is there a song that makes you cry? It’s been maybe 10 years since I heard something that made me cry. There is an old Donny Hathaway song called “Take a Love Song,” and it would make me emotional. But I think I was eating a lot of weed candy at the time, so that may have pushed me over the edge.
Whom do you consider Royal? Wes Anderson. I love what he does. Bill Murray running from a playground in Rushmore made me very happy. Anderson’s composition is amazing: his color, the music that he uses. I’m not an actor, but, in a heartbeat, I would just walk by or whatever he asked me to do in one of his films.
Williams wears a Chanel jacket and necklace; G-Star pants; Adidas Originals = Pharrell Williams shoes; his own shirt, belt, bracelets, ring, watch, and socks.
Classic Royalty: Renaissance Person
When did you start dancing? When I was 3. I loved it. I did recitals and I loved being onstage. I particularly loved the collective mind of the audience. Applause was nice, but I liked the silence of the audience better. The silence means, Oh, my! You have their rapt attention.
MacLaine wears an Akris turtleneck.
Classic Royalty: Activist
I came to New York in the ’70s to become president of Planned Parenthood. It was a time of great difficulty for the city—and for the country—but also one when women made tremendous progress toward being in control of their lives and their bodies. My position allowed me to be a spokesperson for women in the midst of the great changes that were taking place and the turmoil that occurred as a result of them. Today, 40 years later, the continuing opposition to Planned Parenthood comes from people who want to roll back the clock.
Wattleton wears a Row coat; Vhernier earrings; Verdura necklace.
New Royalty: Activist
When I was 11, my parents gave me an iPhone. I think it shaped who I am as a person because I had access to everything very, very early on. But now I’m 18 and I have gotten rid of it. I was worried about the mental-health effects it was having on me. The phone was taking over my life. I felt like I was floating away, and part of that had to do with being in a virtual world without any tangible substance. I felt like I was always refreshing Instagram instead of refreshing my life.
Stenberg wears a Prada top; Buccellati earrings.
New Royalty: Renaissance Person
To me, Paula Abdul is royalty. I just saw her live, and the whole time I was watching her, I was hitting the person next to me and saying, “Oh. My. God. Yes!” I’m late to the game, but Paula Abdul is completely amazing.
Steinfeld wears an Yves Salomon coat; Nili Lotan dress; Mahnaz Collection ring; Lynn Ban earring.
New Royalty: Renaissance Person
There were eight boys in The History Boys, and we were all at a similar point in our careers. The other seven would get incredible scripts for Spielberg movies or big HBO shows, and I would get a one-page script for the guy who drops off a TV for Hugh Grant. I remember thinking, These decisions are being made based on the way I look. I realized then and there that I needed to try and start creating stuff on my own. And I did.
Corden wears a Berluti jacket; Burberry shirt; Balenciaga scarf.
New Royalty: Society
The notion of being born into the right stratosphere no longer exists. More and more, young people want to dedicate their lives to doing something meaningful that has a positive effect on the world. That’s what is valued now—not your name or your lineage.
Bush Lauren wears a Ralph Lauren shirt; Zimmerli of Switzerland tank; Hermès scarves; Vicki Turbeville earrings; vintage bracelet from Stazia Loren, New York.
Classic Royalty: Society
You got involved with God’s Love We Deliver during the ’80s AIDS epidemic. It was a terrible time. We delivered meals to people who were sick. A lot of my friends thought I had lost my mind. There was so much fear.
How did you meet Robert Trump? At a fundraiser. We were married in 1984. But years later things changed, and, in 2007, we divorced.
Did you go to your former brother-in-law’s presidential inauguration? Yes. It was kind of an out-of-body experience. [Laughs] It’s like, Am I really here? I went to all the balls, and there was a wonderful small lunch, and Donald and Melania were there. She looked beautiful.
Is it strange to see your last name everywhere? Yes—very, very strange. I mean, forget paying with a credit card. It’s always, “Are you related?” It never ends.
Trump wears a Chloé dress; David Webb earrings.
New Royalty: Model
I always go into a zone when I’m posing for a photographer. I like to try and get into whatever character is wanted for the photos. For this shoot, I tried to be kind of vulnerable and soft because I can be quite hard with my resting bitch face. I wanted to look innocent, but mysterious. And royal. Very royal.
Aboah wears a Calvin Klein 205W39NYC dress; Stephen Russell earrings; Vhernier bracelets; her own rings.
Classic Royalty: Model
What is your secret skill? Fucking.
Fucking? Mm-hmmm. It’s an awfully good thing to be good at, no? And it goes on forever, guys and girls. You should remember that.
Hutton wears a Row coat.
Classic Royalty: Superhero
My first audition was for some random sort of commercial. I remember walking in and having to tell them about myself, and none of it was very interesting because I never got those jobs. My first regular acting gig was on a soap opera called Home and Away. I did that for three and a half years, and I went through every melodramatic tragedy that one can go through: plane crashes, fires, robberies, landslides. I had three different kids with three different women. And my character was 19 for three years. I never had a birthday. Never aged.
Hemsworth wears a Boss jacket, shirt, and pants; Western Spirit bolo tie; stylist’s own belt.
New Royalty: Superhero
I don’t fuck with karaoke. I tried it once, and it was the biggest disaster. The song I bombed on was “Eye of the Tiger.” It was at a wedding, in front of hundreds of people. The only line of the song that I knew was “eye of the tiger,” so I just mumbled, and it was awful. Deep shame. Now I stick to singing my own songs onstage with my band, Thirty Seconds to Mars. There are some things you just know you’re not good at.
Leto wears an Ann Demeulemeester shirt; Gucci pants; Mikimoto pearls; his own ring and necklace.
New Royalty: Television
As a boy, I was very, very sensitive. Ever the emotional young thing. In eighth grade, a drama teacher put me in a play, and I got really involved with theater. Within a year, all the kids who were making fun of me were my allies. I remember thinking, Instead of being a weird guy in the corner of the classroom, now I’m the weird guy that everyone has to pay attention to! And, like, Wow—maybe someone will kiss me!
Middleditch wears a Prada shirt; Coach 1941 pants; Artemas Quibble belt; Calvin Klein 205W39NYC boots.
Classic Royalty: Television
Since signing on to Stranger Things, I’ve become a binge-watcher of TV. My favorite show is The Americans. It’s brilliant, and Keri Russell is just mind-blowing. I watched the entire last season all at once, and I was crushed when it ended. I met Keri, and I was like, “What’s going to happen?!” I had turned into a fan-geek. But she wouldn’t tell me. Everyone in TV has to keep things a big secret—which I’m learning.
Ryder wears a Dior dress and hat.
New Royalty: Movie Star
I didn’t think I could play Dr. Dre in Straight Outta Compton. I was asked to audition, and I remember saying no because I didn’t want to be the one to mess it up. I was nervous because it was Dr. Dre. And now, after the film, I walk down the street and people ask, “Is that Dr. Dre?” Nobody did that before Compton. Now everybody does it.
Hawkins wears a Giorgio Armani jacket, shirt, and pants; Tom Ford shoes.
Classic Royalty: Movie Star
What was your first acting job? When I was 15 or 16, I was cast as Reese Witherspoon’s son in the film Vanity Fair. I went to the screening, and no one had informed me that I had been cut from the film. But the casting director felt so guilty that she gave me a first run at the part of Cedric in Harry Potter, which I booked. So, in the end, I was quite glad to have been cut from Vanity Fair.
How did you prepare for your role as a bank robber on the run in Good Time? I stayed in character for several days and got a job at a car wash. I wanted to change myself so that people would not be able to recognize me for the whole shoot. And it worked. We were filming in a packed subway at rush hour; I was directed by text message, and no one could tell we were making a movie. Not one person took a cell-phone picture, which would have ruined the whole thing. It was great to not be recognized.
Pattinson wears a Berluti jacket; Charvet scarf.
Classic Royalty: Television
After Everybody Loves Raymond ended, it wasn’t hard to say no to other sitcom offers. This sounds awful, but I had all the money I needed, my wife had all the money she needed, and creatively I wanted to do other things. I thought, Suddenly I have time, I have money, I have a bit of fame, and this is going to be fun. After three months, it wasn’t fun anymore. I had a kind of emotional breakdown until I started creating the next show. People ask me sometimes, “How do you keep going?” And I like to say, “I have to keep moving, or I catch up with myself.”
Romano wears a Balenciaga shirt.
New Royalty: Television
Your mom is Diana Ross. Did you ever borrow her clothes? I’m not going to lie: It was more like stealing. One time, she left the house and I saw her car go down the driveway. I marched myself into her bathroom and started taking clothes. I liked to put them in my closet and live with them as if they were mine. Just as I was loading up, my mom walked into the bathroom. She said, “What are you doing?!” I was like, “I’m organizing your closet for you!” To this day, I visit her closet and call it shopping.
Ross wears an Alexander McQueen dress; Gianvito Rossi shoes.