Chris Hemsworth A Rock Star on Wheels

Through his lead role performances in Thor and The Avengers, Australian actor Chris Hemsworth has shot to stardom within the last few years. With the versatility he’s shown in movies from The Cabin in the Woods to Snow White and the Huntsman—not to mention his movie-star wattage—Hemsworth was a natural for McLaren driver James Hunt in ‘Rush’ released and distributed here in the Philippines by Captive Cinema, showing on September 18.

Chris Hemsworth (16)

Hemsworth learned that Hunt’s duality was never more obvious than on the track. He provides: “I spoke to one of James’ teammates, and he recalled a conversation he had with James where he said, ‘God, James, those first two laps of the race you were all over the place!’ And James just said, ‘You know, I can never remember the first two laps.’ He had that much adrenaline flowing, and we get all that in the film. He threw up before races and would work himself into a heightened state of tension because he believed that was where his best performance came from.”

The more Hemsworth delved into Hunt’s backstory, the more he was hooked. He says: “The best stuff I found was in the archive footage, little snippets before and after the interviews, when no one realized they were rolling. There are flashes of who James was. There was such fascination in his eyes, a thirst for life. Everything caught his attention. He was like a little kid. They own the environment they’re in and have a need to explore the world and to be indulgent.” Hemsworth pauses: “He didn’t want to drive for second or third place. It was win or nothing. After James won the championship in 1976, he pulled back from it all. I don’t think he felt the same passion.”

Hemsworth wasn’t sure if all of the tales of the infamous playboy were fact or lore. “In Hunt’s biography, it says he’d been with 5,000 women,” he notes. “There’s a classic story in which all the flight attendants who came into Japan were staying at the same hotel James was. This was just before his big race at Fuji for the World Championship. He spent the night with each of them at different times…or at the same time.”

Chris Hemsworth (15)

The performer’s research into Hunt’s life—not to mention the sets, costumes and vehicles—made his transformation to 1970s Hunt a comfortable fit. “The period certainly suits my character,” he says. “James belonged in that era. Everything was passionate and indulgent. As Ron kept saying, it was a time ‘when the sex was safe and driving dangerous.’ Now, it’s the other way around. Everything has become so censured and sanitized. It always helps an actor when you’re not trying to convince yourself who you are in that world, when everything around reminds you of it.”

“RUSH” is released and distributed by Captive Cinema. Showing September 18, 2013. Nationwide.

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