For every movie role, small or large, there are hundreds, if not thousands of actors vying for each part, but when it comes to Marvel’s Thor franchise, it seems the studio almost cast one Hemsworth brother over the one who landed the role. Which means this November’s Thor: Ragnarok almost looked a lot different. Chris Hemsworth, whose brothers Liam Hemsworth and Luke Hemsworth are also actors, revealed in an interview that, before he landed the role of the mighty Asgardian, his younger brother Liam Hemsworth was very, very close to winning the role, before Chris even got a callback.
Before Thor had come out, Chris Hemsworth was best known to American audiences as George Kirk, the father of James Tiberius Kirk in the 2009 blockbuster Star Trek, but Australian fans knew him from his role as Kim Hyde on the long-running Aussie soap opera Home & Away. Chris Hemsworth recently spoke with W Magazine, with the actor revealing that he thought the role would be perfect for a man of his size, but instead, his brother came extremely close to winning the role. Here’s what Chris Hemsworth had to say about how close his brother was to wielding his mighty hammer Mjolnir.
“I remembered reading the breakdown for Thor and it said, ‘Must be over 6’3″ and 200 pounds,’ and so on. I thought, ‘Oh cool. This is the one thing that sort of fits me.’ Most of the time, I’d have to lie about my height and say I was a little shorter and so on. I’d only get cast or auditioned for the football player or something. So I thought, ‘Great. This is up my alley.’ I came into the audition with Kenneth Branagh and thought I nailed it and then never heard anything back. Months went by and then my brother, my little brother, Liam, was in Australia and sent a tape across and he got a call back, then another call back and then was down to the last kind of four or five people for it.”
Fortunately for Chris, Marvel didn’t go with Liam Hemsworth, or any of the other candidates, which happened around the same time Chris Hemsworth was shooting The Cabin in the Woods back in 2009, where, ironically, writer Joss Whedon, told the actor that he should be in the running for Thor. Granted, Joss Whedon was just writing and producing The Cabin in the Woods for director Drew Goddard, and this was long before Joss Whedon had been tapped to direct The Avengers and become the key creative force behind the MCU, but still, Chris Hemsworth sent in an audition tape while he was filming The Cabin in the Woods in Vancouver, and the rest, as they say, is history.
“I remember sitting in Vancouver, shooting Cabin in the Woods with Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon. Both of them were looking at the trades at this sort of top five guys for Thor and saying, ‘Why aren’t you in the mix here? What happened?’ I said, ‘I don’t know. I blew my audition I guess.’ None of those guys got it. My manager then called up and said, ‘You know, he’s got an older brother. Can we bring him back in?’ So I did an audition in Vancouver in this hotel room with my mum reading Anthony Hopkins’ part. She must have nailed it because it got me back in the room and that second audition was a lot different than my first one. I came in kind of with a little, I guess, motivation and maybe frustration that my little brother had gotten further than me. It’s a little family, sibling rivalry sort of kicked up in me. Then it moved pretty quick from there. It was cool.”
Now eight years later, Chris Hemsworth is getting ready to bring his Thor franchise to a close with Thor: Ragnarok, which is slated to hit theaters on November 3, where he’ll square off with his “friend from work” The Incredible Hulk. Thor and Hulk will both return to Earth for Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4, which will close out Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with several Marvel heroes expected to be killed off in both movies. Whether or not Thor is one of them remains to be seen, but it’s interesting that it almost was another Hemsworth entirely in the role. If Liam Hemsworth would have gotten the Thor role, though would Chris Hemsworth have tried out for and landed the Gale Hawthorne role Liam won in the Lionsgate blockbuster The Hunger Games? We’ll never know, but it’s an interesting tidbit to ponder as we wait for the November 3 release of Thor: Ragnarok.