What a difference a few minutes make. Before J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek hit theaters a couple of weeks ago, few knew of Chris Hemsworth outside his native Australia. (Okay, Joss Whedon knew there was something about the actor…and he cast him in his MGM horror flick, Cabin in the Woods, currently in production under Cloverfield director Drew Goddard’s watch.)
But, in the wake of Hemsworth’s dashing appearance as the doomed Captain George Kirk — who, as Bruce Greenwood’s Capt. Pike put it, “was captain of a starship for 12 minutes and, in that time, saved 800 lives” — in the opening sequence of Trek, the 25-year-old has been tapped for two major roles. He’ll rock the Asgard as the hammer-wielding title character in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, the latest entry in Marvel Comics’ bid to swallow Hollywood whole, and he’ll take over the Patrick Swayze role in a remake of Red Dawn.
I suppose the question is, why him? I’m sure some of it comes down to that age-old formula of talent plus luck. But I also think that he looks like, you know, a man. He registers on screen with a heft and a presence; he’s not a kid pretending at being an adult. Maybe it’s an Aussie thing — that’s the same vibe one gets from Terminator Salvation’s Sam Worthington.
Is Australia the last breeding ground for American heroes?