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Vulture’s 100 Most Valuable Movie Stars

Like the Norse god he played in last year’s $450 million-earning Thor and again in this summer’s $1.5 billion-grossing The Avengers, Chris Hemsworth seems to have fallen from the sky. Unknown to Americans prior to his short appearance in J.J. Abrams’ 2009’s Star Trek reboot (as Captain Kirk’s dad, who dies in the first ten minutes), this handsome Australian lug owes his high placement on our list mostly to his lucky, out-of-nowhere casting in one of the biggest blockbuster franchises in history (he narrowly outranks Chris Evans as the least famous Avenger).

But when he’s not fenced in by lame Asgardian dialogue, Hemsworth does radiate a subtle charm that makes his fast rise seem not quite so inexplicable. In Drew Goddard’s Cabin in the Woods (produced by Avengers director Joss Whedon, who suggested that Hemsworth play Thor), Hemsworth gave a sly, winking performance in a role that asked him to play not much more than a bland, unknowing horror-movie redshirt. And same goes for his part as Kristen Stewart’s grunting, meat-headed escort in Snow White and the Huntsman, which would have been thankless if Hemsworth hadn’t been so fully committed. A role that takes better advantage of his talents could really put him on the map. Maybe it’ll be next year’s Ron Howard-directed, Peter Morgan-scripted Rush, in which Hemsworth plays Formula 1 racer James Hunt, the rival of driver Niki Lauda, who nearly burned alive in a 1978 crash.

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