Thor: Ragnarok Director Taika Waititi Taught Chris Hemsworth to Lighten Up

Avengers and Men in Black: International star Chris Hemsworth credits Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi with teaching him to lighten up and embrace his goofier side.

“I found when I first got to Hollywood, I had this idea of, ‘This is what a leading man has to be, speak this way, and act this way,’ and be a little bit tortured or something. Even in the work I was doing, I felt myself kind of restricted and playing by these rules I had sort of set for what I thought was the archetype for what was gonna work,” Hemsworth told BUILD Series.

“I then played in Thor 1, and there was comedy in that, there was a great sort of fish out of water quality to it, but there was a Shakespearean element too which was a little bit more sort of serious — and I love that film, I’m so proud of it. And through the other versions of Thor, and it was my doing, I started to restrict it a bit more and felt a little bit kind of trapped in applying these things I thought I had to be — cool, strong and so on.”

Hemsworth previously confessed to having grown bored playing the God of Thunder after portraying him in two Thor and two Avengers films. Turns in comedies Vacation and Ghostbusters — as well as appearances on Saturday Night Live — led to Hemsworth wanting to loosen up his Marvel franchise.

“By the time I got to Thor: Ragnarok, I spoke to Taika Waititi, the director on the film, and I’m like, ‘I’m just, I’m so sick of myself.’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m sick of you too,’” Hemsworth said.

“And I think the character is so much more and I said, ‘Let’s dismantle this thing, let’s destroy it, throw out everything and be totally comfortable with making a fool of ourselves.’”

Waititi helped Hemsworth lean into becoming more “sort of self-deprecating, not taking yourself too seriously, and being okay with it, and kind of being comfortable in that chaotic space of uncertainty.”

“You gotta have a partner there you can trust to go there with, because it can be kind of scary. But if it doesn’t feel kind of scary and uncertain, I think you don’t have the spontaneity that comedy requires,” Hemsworth added.

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“And it really is about tapping into the little kid version of yourself that did not care who was watching and embellished in all sorts of things and did what he wanted to do or she wanted to do, and could laugh at the world and themselves.”

Playing a revamped Thor in Ragnarok and then Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame — the latter starring Hemsworth as the affectionately titled “Fat Thor” — has renewed Hemsworth’s interest in the character and the star hopes to continue on in the role.