The Marvel Cinematic Universe has managed to catapult several actors to stardom, and Chris Hemsworth is one of its best poster boys. Previously best known for playing Kirk’s dad in the opening minutes of Star Trek’s 2009 reboot, the first Thor movie from 2011 supercharged his career like a bolt of lightning, to the point where he’s got a new action franchise in the form of Netflix’s Extraction and the recent Disney+ series, Limitless.
Limitless recently premiered, and it’s during the fourth episode that Hemsworth learned he has a “strong” genetic pre-disposition to develop Alzheimer’s disease as he gets older. Both of his parents have the APOE4 gene, which is said to lead to an increased risk of the memory-losing disease. As a result, he’s announced a brief retirement from acting to spend time with his wife Elsa Pataky and their three kids.
“It really triggered something in me to want to take some time off,” said Hemswort to Vanity Fair. “And since we finished the show, I’ve been completing the things I was already contracted to do. [...] I’m going home and I’m going to have a good chunk of time off and just simplify. Be with the kids, be with my wife.” Learning of his potential health-related future is surprisingly candid, and despite Disney’s offer to omit those scenes, he chose to keep them in. “My concern was I just didn’t want to manipulate it and overdramatize it and make it into some sort of hokey grab at empathy or whatever for entertainment.”
Even with this brief retirement, Hemsworth took time to acknowledge the possibility of coming back to be Thor in the future. After giving the stock “I’m open to it if there’s more” response, he was more specific in saying that he’d be fine if that possible Thor 5 would serve as his last one. “We’d probably have to close the book if I ever did it again, you know what I mean? I feel like it probably warrants that,” he said. “I feel like it’d probably be the finale, but that’s not based on anything anyone’s told me or any sort of plans. You have this birth of a hero, the journey of a hero, then the death of a hero, and I don’t know—am I at that stage? Who knows?”
One of his future roles is in George Miller’s Furiosa, a prequel film for the acclaimed Mad Max: Fury Road film. His comments on working with Miller, who he described as “a genius, but not the mad type,” are perhaps a little illuminating for what the Australian wants to do for the rest of his acting career. “I said to my agent, ‘That’s where I want to spend my work hours; with someone who is kind and collaborative and interesting.’ [...] One that is very aware of how his energy affects others...and chooses for it to be a positive experience. The whole crew, everyone is in a better mood. It baffles me that some people in that position don’t understand that.”
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water.
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