Chris Hemsworth is easily one of the most likeable figures in Hollywood – he just is.
The Australian actor is best known for playing the heroic (and very handsome) Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
He defeats evil, his mighty Stormbreaker hammer in hand.
And he’ll do it again come July when the fourth instalment in the Thor franchise lands in cinemas.
But before then, fans of Hemsworth will watch him step into a different role.
This time, you might not root for him.
From hero to … mysterious visionary
Hemsworth stars in Spiderhead, based on The New Yorker short story, Escape From Spiderhead, by George Saunders.
Described by Netflix as a “darkly funny psychological thriller”, Spiderhead boasts an impressive cast and crew.
Joseph Kosinski (Top Gun: Maverick) helmed the title from a script written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool, Zombieland).
The synopsis goes like this: In a state-of-the-art penitentiary run by brilliant visionary Steven Abnesti (Hemsworth), prisoners wear a surgically attached device that administers dosages of mind-altering drugs in exchange for reduced sentences.
“There are no bars, no cells, or orange jumpsuits. In Spiderhead, incarcerated volunteers are free to be themselves. Until they’re not,” the synopsis reads.
Abnesti is convinced his experiments will save lives, but they seem to push the boundaries of free will instead.
When two subjects, Jeff (Miles Teller) and Lizzy (Jurnee Smollett), form a romantic connection, their path to redemption takes a twisty turn.
They begin to rebel against Abnesti and his attempts to control them.
Hemsworth is unsettlingly charming in the trailer for Spiderhead, aware of his looks and how to use them to his advantage.
“Beautiful people get away with too much,” his character says as he watches a drugged inmate struggle, “I say that having benefited myself from time to time.”
Gone is the Thor accent we’ve grown accustomed to. Instead, Hemsworth speaks in an American one, proving that he is more than just the god of thunder.
And back to being a hero
Playing the bad guy is nothing new for Hemsworth, who starred as a disturbing cult leader in 2018’s Bad Times at the El Royale.
But he is often typecast as a hero.
Come July 6, Marvel fans will flood cinemas to watch Thor: Love and Thunder, directed by Taika Waititi.
The fourth instalment in the franchise finds Thor on a quest for inner peace. But his retirement from beating up the bad guys is interrupted by Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) who, as his name suggests, is hellbent on ridding the universe of gods.
Preferring not to die, Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Waititi) and his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who now inexplicably wields his magical hammer, Mjolnir, as the Mighty Thor.
But wait there’s more, because Hemsworth has been a busy, busy man these past few years.
In March, the actor wrapped production on Extraction 2, the wildly successful action thriller from director/stunt co-ordinator Sam Hargrave.
The film was a surprise hit for Netflix in 2020 and, before long, the streaming giant gave the thumbs up for a sequel about black-market mercenary Tyler Rake (Hemsworth).
In a video of himself surrounded by the cast and crew of the film, including director Hargrave, Hemsworth thanked them for making such a difficult movie, full of intense stunts, happen.
“I remember the first couple of days of shooting, sitting on the train – snow, weather conditions – trying to land a helicopter on a moving train thinking, ‘How the hell are we going to do this?’” Hemsworth said.
“And here we are, four or five months later having done that and much, much more. It’s thanks to every single one of you and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the hard work.”
Netflix has yet to announce an official release date for the sequel, but it’s expected to premiere later this year.
And when Hemsworth isn’t trying to land a helicopter on a moving train, he’s drumming up interest in his fitness app Centr.
The actor created Centr in 2019 with a vision to share his health, wellness and fitness experience with a broader community.
The app gives users access to Hemsworth’s team of experts, offering tailored workouts and meal plans.
In late March, he announced he had sold his app to Mark Bezos, the younger brother of Jeff Bezos, whose company HighPost also acquired Inspire Fitness, a maker of exercise equipment.
The plan is to combine the two brands, which would up its overall value to more than $US200 million ($285,459,400).
According to Bloomberg, Hemsworth is the second-largest shareholder behind HighPost.
The god of thunder is certainly making plenty of noise.
Spiderhead premieres on Netflix on June 17