Wizard World Philadelphia has come to be known for its celebrity guests, such as Stan Lee, Bruce Campbell, and Patrick Stewart. But how do you top some of the biggest names in the geek fandom hierarchy? You summon a god.
One of the biggest draws at this year’s convention was none other than Chris Hemsworth, star of Marvel’s Thor and The Avengers. With fans practically breaking down the doors to get a glimpse at the Aussie heartthrob, Chris spent some time with host Clare Kramer and an auditorium full of fans, and answered any questions they had for him.
And keep an eye out for a Fridgecast coming out later this week, where we discuss all things Wizard World Philly — including this Q&A with Hemsworth. And if that alone doesn’t entice you, well, then maybe we saved a few of Thor’s best quotes from this panel exclusively for our podcast listeners…
Chris Hemsworth: Thanks to everybody for coming out here. I know a lot of you have come pretty far. I met someone who came from Germany and another from London. And to the rest of you from wherever, thank you very much. It’s much appreciated.
Clare Kramer: I am a huge fan and I have a ton of questions for you, but I know everyone here has been waiting patiently, and they are very excited to ask you some questions. So, I’ll turn it over to the first gentleman at the mic right here.
How are you, Chris?
CH: Great, thank you.
Since you were technically captain of a starship for 12 minutes [in Star Trek], did you try to make your case to get on the [5 Captains] panel later?
CH: They couldn’t get me a ticket. I tried. They’ll have to sneak me in the back.
Playing Thor, the god of thunder, did you find it challenging to make a god relatable to the audience?
CH: Yeah, absolutely, especially considering the character begins as the opposite of your normal superhero. He doesn’t earn his powers through the film or begin as a normal man. He’s already a god. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – we had to break him down and build him back up. Kenneth Branagh kept saying, “Make him truthful, make him real. It’s you talking to your brother. It’s you talking to you father. Don’t try to play a god. The sets and the costumes do that for us.” So, it was all about simplifying [Thor].
Hi. It’s my birthday.
CH: Happy Birthday!
Can I have a hug?
CH: Sure. [applause]
Cabin in the Woods was one of the best horror movies I have seen in years. If you had to choose one of the creatures from that movie to actually go up against, what would you choose and why?
CH: Uh, as me or as Thor? [laughter] If it was me, I’d try and find the least threatening one, probably the small, zombie-like girl. If I was Thor, I’d try to take on a bunch of them.
Hi Chris. How are you?
CH: I’m very well, thank you. How are you?
Good. I just want to let you know that I’m a really big fan of Thor. Your movie was awesome.
CH: Thank you.
I could watch it every day, any time of night… [laughter] …and you’re gorgeous and I love you! [laughter, applause]
CH: [laughs] Thank you. [fan goes back to her seat] Oh, is that it, no question? That’s good, I like that! More of those.
Chris, thanks for being the voice of comic Thor in my head now. I can’t read it without hearing you. [laughter]
CH: Sure. Just give me a call and I’ll narrate for you over the phone. [laughter] Or if you’re having trouble sleeping… [laughter]
Going forward, do you see yourself going for more action roles, or something more laid back?
CH: I’ve kind of fulfilled the action desire with Thor and Snow White and the Huntsman so I think I need to do something else at this point. I did a film recently with Ron Howard and it was nice to play a human being, grounded in reality…with no weapons. Previously, a hammer or an axe was a prerequisite. It’s going to be a spoon next. [laughter] A romantic comedy with a cooking show or something.
Are there any characters that you’d like to bring to the screen, other than a comic book character?
CH: The film I just did with Ron Howard is based on a guy, James Hunt, who was a Formula 1 race car driver in the 70s, and that was exciting. I was a fan of that guy. Formula 1 is not very popular in this country, but I think it’s the biggest sport in Europe. But we enjoyed the challenge. In the 70s, four or five people were dying a year racing these cars and they were like gladiators in this highly dangerous, adrenaline-fueled world. This character, James, had an animalistic approach to life and to racing, all fueled from the gut. A fascinating guy. That was a dream, to take that and bring it to the screen.
Chris! You pulled off a pretty cool Thor, man! I think you did a wonderful, wonderful job!
CH: Thank you very much. I wouldn’t want to see you disappointed. [laughter]
Before you became an actor, and took the role in a comic book movie, did you have an interest in comic books as a kid?
CH: Not so much comic books. I loved films with big characters and fantastic universes and heightened realities. I read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and fantasy novels. That, I think, kicked off my imagination very early on and then led to my appreciation for this stuff. I wish I had discovered comic books earlier. I feel like I’m constantly playing catch up.
During Thor, what was it like working with Anthony Hopkins?
CH: It was the highlight of my career and my life. He was always a big hero to me. People like that, you just can’t help but absorb and learn from. He’s someone who everyone on set wants to bow to. He still loves making films and that’s infectious to be around.
I just want to point out that here in Philly it was very hot and humid, but all of a sudden, the god of thunder arrives and it starts raining and thundering. [laughter]
CH: Yeah, it looked a bit dry. [laughter]
Can you give a little background on how you started and got into acting?
CH: When I finished high school, I did a couple of drama courses and just fell in love with acting. I did a couple of TV shows and a soap opera for three years in Australia, which was some of the best training I could’ve had. It was like 20 scenes a day and 5 episodes a week and scripts that weren’t that good a lot of the time. It’s the kind of thing where you’re thrown in the deep end and have to sink or swim. Then you get on a film set and you get a script that’s been worked on for years, with millions of dollars put in, and it takes three days to shoot one scene. That was my foundation during that show.
My question was already answered, but I do have a request. It may not be my birthday. But can I have a hug?
CH: We’re going to have to start a line pretty soon… Go on, get up here.
I think I speak for the women of the planet… [laughter] …when they are thankful that you are supernaturally hot. [laughter]
CH: Thank you.
Thank YOU. I also wanted to ask you about surfing. I know you’ve been a surfer and I’ve known a bunch of surfers in my time and it can be very intense and spiritual. I was wondering if you feel that being a surfer has affected your acting career or you as an actor.
CH: I think any sort of sport or hobby or anything you do that you love or are passionate about helps you grow as a person. Growing up, when I was stressed about something, like work, surfing was something I could do that would get rid of that for me. There was a guy who worked on Thor, he was a movement guy, and he helped me with the fight sequences. He kept asking me, “You surf, right? That’s the sort of stance you want.” You look at the comic books and [Thor] has that sort of posture. Funny enough, there was that bit of a connection.
CK: Do you have much time to surf in LA?
CH: If I’m not working, yeah. I’ve been in London for a while and there’s no surf there.
Does Thor have any other brothers who want to destroy earth? [laughter]
CH: Hmmm. Not that I know of. Someone, I’m sure, knows the comic books better than I do. Is there another brother?
CH: Baldur! He’s a half brother, though, right? I have a couple of brothers who have tried to destroy the earth. [laughter]
We all saw the Thor/Loki relationship and how complicated it is. Anyone who has a brother, like myself, knows that those kinds of relationships can get pretty crazy. Did you take any part of your relationship with your brothers and bring that over to your relationship with Tom [Hiddleston] and Loki.
CH: Yeah, when we were growing up and they were attempting to take over the universe…[laughter] I would have to say, “That’s silly. That’s impossible.” I’ve disagreed with my brothers before and the three of us can be pretty passionate and certainly have an opinion. That helped. Especially in Avengers, there was the idea that, “I can punch my brother and tell him off, but no one else can!”
CK: Ok, we have time for just one more question.
Young Child: How does it feel to be Thor? [awwwww]
CH: It was fantastic. Nerve-wracking at the beginning just because it was a character who is loved so much and has been around for so long. A lot of people knew a lot more about it than I did. I had to do a lot of research, but once I got on set on the first day, being in full costume, and seeing Anthony Hopkins, we both looked at each other and he said, “No acting required here. Look at these costumes. We don’t want to get in the way.” It was just so much fun. It’s like being a kid and playing a really expensive version of dress-up.
CK: Thank you all, so very much for coming. One more round of applause for Chris Hemsworth!
It was an absolute thrill to see Chris Hemsworth in person, and to see how nice of a guy he truly his. A big thanks to Wizard World and to Chris for this opportunity. Stay tuned for our recap of the 5 Captains Panel!