Chris Hemsworth's Evolution: 'Star Trek' to 'Bad Times at the El Royale'

The God of Thunder has come a long way from his days as an Australian soap star

It didn’t take long for Hollywood to realize it had something with Chris Hemsworth, but Australia held on to this star-in-the-making for years. The Wrap takes a look at the short-yet-productive career of the only man who could rival Hugh Jackman for pure Aussie star power.

“Guinevere Jones” (2002)  Hemsworth’s first screen appearance came courtesy of this Australian fantasy series, in which he appeared twice as the legendary King Arthur. Even then, it was clear that long hair was his look.

“Home and Away” (2004-07)  His breakout role, Hemsworth’s turn as high school dropout Kim Hyde came about after he auditioned for another role, but was turned down. He won a Logie Award for Most Popular New Male Talent and, at the height of his character’s popularity, competed in the fifth season of “Dancing With the Stars Australia.” In May 2015, Hemsworth returned to the show as an extra after catching up with old friends on the set.

“Star Trek” (2009)  For his first film role, Hemsworth appeared in “Star Trek” in the small but important role of George Kirk, the father of legendary Enterprise captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine).

“Thor” (2011)  The Aussie finally broke out in America by playing Thor, God of Thunder, in the eponymous film. He won the role over, among others, little brother Liam Hemsworth (“The Hunger Games”) and Tom Hiddleston, who was promptly hired to play Loki.

“The Cabin in the Woods” (2012)  Filmed in 2009 and kept on the shelf for three years, “Cabin” was acclaimed by critics and audiences alike for its skillful skewering of horror cliches.

“The Avengers” (2012)  By far the biggest film of the year, “Avengers” vaunted Hemsworth and the rest of the cast to the top of Hollywood’s A-list. Oh, and it just happened to change how studios make movies for the foreseeable future.

“Snow White and the Huntsman” (2012)  Hemsworth continued his 2012 assault with this fantasy film co-starring Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron. Though the film received mixed reviews, it was a surprise box office success with nearly $400 million worldwide, further establishing Hemsworth as a bona fide star. He and Theron would later return for the 2016 sequel, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” with new castmates Jessica Chastain and Emily Blunt.

“Red Dawn” (2012)  Yet another 2009 project that was delayed until it could bask in the “Avengers” success, this remake of the 1984 cult classic starred a pre-“Thor” Hemsworth in the role originally played by Patrick Swayze.

“Rush” (2013)  Hemsworth earned some of the best reviews of his career for his portrayal of racing great James Hunt in the story of his rivalry with Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl).

“Thor: The Dark World” (2013)  Thanks to the “Avengers” afterglow, “The Dark World” vastly outperformed its predecessor in the box office with nearly $645 million taken in worldwide. Some critics were also quick to point out the growing chemistry between Hemsworth and co-lead Tom Hiddleston as an important factor in the film’s success.

“Blackhat” (2015)  Credit to Hemsworth for trying new things (like playing an expert hacker who happens to look like Chris Hemsworth), but “Blackhat” became, by far, the actor’s biggest failure yet and was pulled from theaters after only three weeks.

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015)  Another hit with audiences, “Age of Ultron” won Hemsworth a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Action Movie Actor. However, the actor would later admit it was around this time that he had started to get “a bit bored” of playing Thor.

“Vacation” (2015)  Hemsworth took a try at pure comedy for the first time with the remake to the 1983 Chevy Chase classic. Though the movie itself was panned, Hemsworth earned positive notices for his comedy debut.

“In the Heart of the Sea” (2015) For a man who started a career based on how his body looks, give him credit for having the courage to do away with it for a role. To play Owen Chase, a sea captain who was stranded for months at sea, Hemsworth dropped forty pounds by eating only 500 calories a day.

“Ghostbusters” (2016)  Hemsworth put his comedy chops back to work by playing opposite some of the best comedians working today: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. For playing a dumb-as-a-post secretary in a clever gender trope-reversal, Hemsworth received high marks from several critics.

“Thor: Ragnarok” (2017)  Marvel finally realized how to utilize Hemsworth’s comedic abilities for his most famous role: hire a comedy director. Under helmer Taika Waititi, Hemsworth (and the film) soared to new heights in the franchise, delivering what many believe to be the best film in the series and one of the best Marvel films overall.

“Avengers: Infinity War” (2018)  Hemsworth follows up on “Ragnarok” with a co-starring role in “Infinity War,” one of the most massive outings by any studio in movie history.

“Bad Times at the El Royale” (2018)  Hemsworth teamed up again with his director on “The Cabin in the Woods” Drew Goddard for the strange and surreal “Bad Times at the El Royale.” Hemsworth starred opposite Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson and Jon Hamm. 

“Avengers: Endgame” (2019) Hemsworth returned for the final “Avengers” movie — which grossed an eye-popping $2.8 billion worldwide — though his Thor promised to return for one more solo outing.

“Men in Black: International” (2019) F. Gary Gray’s reboot of the “Men in Black” franchise, starring Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, failed to launch — grossing just $80 million domestically on a $110 million budget.

“Extraction” (2020)  In an action-packed Netflix film by “Endgame” co-director joe Russo, Hemsworth played a mercenary with a heart of gold.
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