The first thing that you need to know about actually meeting Chris Hemsworth is that he's huge. Like the kind of huge that you imagine him having to turn sideways to fit through doorframes. He is every bit the god that he plays in the Marvel movies and on the day we were visiting the set, he stood side-by-side his stunt double and for size and height and muscle mass, easily dwarfed him. Chris Hemsworth does not mess around. And in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," he really means business.

For most of the day we got to watch a scene where Hemsworth, as mighty Norse warrior Thor, was battling The Vision, a new character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (portrayed by Paul Bettany, who up until this point had been heard but not seen in the MCU as the voice of Tony Stark's electronic butler Jarvis). Bettany looked amazing, with purple skin and a really cool costume (augmented, by the looks of the visual effects technicians that scrambled around behind him, with a computer-generated cape). And since they were fighting it seemed that Vision, a creation of this movie's titular villain, had yet to embrace his inner heroism and was, at present, still very bad. Still, if it's anybody who can put a super-powered robot in his place, it's probably Thor. Hemsworth described what they were filming as "a big fight scene" and you could tell just by looking at the set.

When he was asked about his first reaction to the script, Hemsworth was just excited. "It was awesome," Hemsworth said. "I mean you know, coming off of 'Thor 2' and 'Avengers,' I couldn't wait to read this. And I just loved how it upped it in a way that wasn't just bigger and flashier." Hemsworth then clarified: "I mean everything had been amplified but in an intelligent way. All the stories are relevant to what's going on in the world as far as the exponential growth of technology and artificial intelligence and then the questions of you know good versus bad in the AI world." Of course, as always, Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed both "Avengers" movies and has largely overseen the goings-on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is to thank. "He's managed to bring all of the Avengers back in and give them a relevant reason to be there and justified sort of conflict. I mean it's a tricky balance. I'm glad I'm not the one writing the thing and having to pull that off."

Since so much of the first "Avengers" dealt with Thor battling his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the question was raised as to how Thor fits into the larger Avengers universe in this film. "I mean we put up with Thor having stayed on Earth from 'Thor 2.' So he's here. He's part of the team. This is his home for the moment," Hemsworth explained. "The initial attack from Ultron is personal because it's at all the Avengers and Thor then begins to see a bigger picture here about what this threat could be potentially." That's right folks: Ultron could be endangering Asgard too (later Hemsworth said that the "third act" points him back towards Asgard and that – gasp! – Loki might be involved since it's "all too convenient").

One of the great joys about watching Thor on the big screen is seeing how out-of-place he is amongst the modern world, considering he comes from a far away, nearly fairly tale land. When someone asked him about what Thor will get to do in this film that he hasn't gotten to do before, Hemsworth explained that he's not quite as uptight as he used to be. "He's loosened up a bit," Hemsworth said... but then he doubled-down on what he liked about the character in the first place. "I think we lost some of the humor and the naïveté and the fish out of water quality of Thor from the first film into the second one. Joss I think felt the same way. So there's more humor in Thor or he at least because he's been on earth, he's a little more humor, a little more accessible now. He's off Asgard now so he doesn't have to be as regal and kingly as he is in that world, which is nice." Although not too accessible. When someone pitched a scene showing Thor and Natalie Portman's character going to the movies, Hemsworth lit up. "Yes, I pitched that!" he exclaimed. Then, somewhat sullenly: "But no." (Later Hemsworth said the character was "not dressed in his own guardian attire" and is "more human.")

Considering this was at least a few months before anybody had seen anything from the movie (and the production was quite coy about actually showing us anything even while we were on the set), the question about Thor's costume came up. To which Hemsworth explained that the costume had only been "tweaked" and that, unlike some of the other Avengers, Tony Stark hasn't gifted Thor with any upgrades. Still he admitted that Iron Man is his favorite Avenger. "I love watching Robert work in this setting," Hemsworth said.

Of course, some of the funniest and most memorable moments from the first film were the scenes in which Hemsworth's Thor faced off against Mark Ruffalo's Hulk. Sadly, Hemsworth informed us that they're "not as conflicted as we were before." Still, he pointed to the "lengthy" fight scene between Hulk and Iron Man that will satisfy fans of the Thor/Hulk dynamic from the first one.

One new addition to the team that Hemsworth really seemed to savor was James Spader as Ultron. "It's awesome," Hemsworth said. "It shakes things up because you get comfortable. You get into a rhythm or a routine and you think you know it." Still, the introduction of someone like Spader shakes that all up. "Until that's challenged you kind of go oh, yeah, that's right there is another option here and you know we keep changing it. And this new cast breaks the familiar rhythm that we may have and makes it a bit more unpredictable."

The question came up of how things are going to close out for Thor, since Hemsworth's contract is nearing its conclusion (he's got one more stand-alone "Thor" movie and one more "Avengers" outing). Turns out Hemsworth is just as curious as we were. "I have asked the question but the truth is no one has the answer yet. We don't know how it's going to end and the biggest concern is this one here, more so than two or three films in time. I know that I'm sure they are coming up with ideas and attempting to kind of have some kind of arrangement that five or six years down the track they go okay, this is where we're heading but they don't tell us until the day before usually." Oh and if you think this is an exaggeration, it's not. Even on a film as complicated and laborious as "Avengers: Age of Ultron," things are just sprung on him. "Like this fight scene we learned this morning," Hemsworth said. And we all laughed nervously.

Even before the infamous Comic Con footage that showed our heroes bruised up, bloodied, and beaten to a pulp, there was discussion about how the new character Scarlett Witch (played by Elizabeth Olsen) would be able to tap into the deepest, darkest fears of each Avenger and bring those fears to terrifying life. Hemsworth confirmed that Thor would be a victim of her magical mind games as well. "It certainly creates a conflict," Hemsworth said. "It's more in their individual selves rather than the team so much. I think they'll begin to have their fears held up in front of them and, and for Thor I think it's a corruption of power." The psychic stuff sounds like it's the escalation of the physical combat, too. With all of them having so much power and having the understanding that we're in this endless battle here. Even though the scene was being rewritten at the moment, so he didn't know what exactly it would look like in the final film (and he even suggested we ask Joss about it instead of him), Hemsworth admitted its significance. "It kicks in motion his movement. That's where he really starts to move through the story. Once that dream occurs he goes, I can see what's coming and my fear could be true. So yea it's a ticking clock."

And right now the only ticking clock is the clock until "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is released on May 1st – on Earth and on Asgard.
categories Interviews, Movies