That 2012 horror hit was filmed in early 2009, well before the Aussie actor entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2011’s Thor. “He got Thor while we were shooting Cabin,” Goddard told Yahoo Entertainment during a recent stop into Los Angeles studios to promote his new film, Bad Times at the El Royale. “In the middle of shooting we’re on set and he looks at [co-writer/producer Joss Whedon] and he goes, ‘You guys know anything about this Thor character? There’s an audition coming up. We’re like, ‘Yeah, you should be Thor.’ In fact, I took him to a comic book store to buy Thor comics in Vancouver in the middle of it. I was like, ‘Let’s start our education.’”
The rest, of course, is history. With a full standalone Thor trilogy plus three Avengers ensembles (two directed by Whedon) under his magic belt, Hemsworth has become one of the MCU’s most celebrated heroes.
In El Royale, though, he plays decidedly against type as Billy Lee, a cult leader so manipulative and maniacal that Dakota Johnson’s Emily had to kidnap her younger sister Ruth (Cailee Spaeny) in an attempt to liberate her from his psychotic clutches. (The sisters end up among a group of strangers crossing paths one night at the titular hotel, where all hell breaks loose.)
“Chris knows me pretty well, and he knows that anytime I’m writing, I’m gonna find something for him. We just go back, you know?” Goddard said. “I think he was really excited to play something different. … I think he was itching to flex his muscles in another way.”
Speaking of Hemsworth’s muscles, his fans will be glad to know that following a long tradition in Marvel movies, he once again sheds his shirt in El Royale.
“I think shirts just don’t stay put on Chris,” Goddard laughed. “I think he tries to put them on and they just pop off.”
In this case, though, there was a very deliberate intention behind the skin-baring. “It’s very much about masculinity, and in some cases toxic masculinity, and how toxic masculinity can be an aggressive weapon. And we wanted to show it, and show it onscreen. So Chris understood what we were trying to do with the look and the feel of the character. And boy, he just went for it.”
Bad Times at the El Royale opens Friday. Watch the trailer:
Read more on Yahoo Entertainment:
- Film Review: ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’
- ‘Men in Black’ spin-off set photos show off Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson
- ‘Star Trek 4’: Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth ‘drop out’ of film