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Here comes Chris Hemsworth…
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Here comes Chris Hemsworth…

Thursday, 25 July 2019
By Frank Rousseau
Frank Rousseau

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7 min read

Appearances can be deceptive, especially in Hollywood. Chris Hemsworth may have the imposing physique of Thor, the Australian actor is the most likeable, laidback Norse god you could ever meet.

Proof that you can spend ten years wielding a hammer in a Marvel blockbuster and not have an anvil for a brain, Chris Hemsworth talks about the watchmaker’s art, racing legends and his latest role saving the world from aliens in Men In Black: International.

So, Men In Black: International, is it a sequel, a remake?

The brief wasn’t to make a remake, which could have been seen as a lack of respect for the original trilogy. The idea was to take the same elements and tell a completely different story. So it’s neither a sequel nor a remake. It’s set in the same universe created by Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, and possibly their characters meet ours at a certain point. This new episode has an international flavour. It takes place in London, but there’s action in New York, Morocco and Italy, too. That’s actually one of the things that got me onboard. I’ve always loved travel and feel drawn towards places I haven’t yet explored. Even if the one place on earth where I feel happiest is at home with my wife and children.

Chris Hemsworth
Chris Hemsworth
MIB features a lot of references to fashion brands. Didn't you feel like a well-dressed walking advert?

Would you turn down the chance to wear a bespoke Paul Smith suit? I even had the socks to match!! I did ask for glasses that weren’t so dark, but apparently there are certain rules and one is that MIB agents never show their eyes. For security reasons. Another thing I loved about filming was being able to drive a Jaguar Type E and a Jaguar Classic. I did try to convince production to let me keep one but they said no. They gave me a copy of the script instead!

My relationship with TAG began when I was filming Rush with director Ron Howard.
Chris Hemsworth
I keep looking at your wrist. Why so many bracelets?

My daughter gave me this one. This one is from my wife. And this one is from a friend. One of my sons gave me this one. They’re twins. One of them is a real magpie, he loves anything shiny! His brother, not so much.

Maybe he'll grow up to be a jeweller?

Maybe. Or a jewel thief! The other day, his teacher told me he reminded him of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings because of how much he loves sparkly things. He has a great marble collection! Don’t ask me why, but I actually had a box of marbles in a drawer at home. I noticed they were disappearing one by one, which is how I found out my son had a secret stash that he was hiding in his bedroom!

Chris Hemsworth
Chris Hemsworth
As long as he doesn't take your TAG Heuer!

You’re right, I’d better hide it. I wouldn’t want to tempt him [laughs].

Who got you into watches?

I’ve been with TAG for a few years, now. It’s a great and successful brand, and I love working with it and the people there. My relationship with TAG began when I was filming Rush with director Ron Howard. I played James Hunt, the legendary British Formula 1 driver who was actually an ambassador for the brand back in the 1970s. In fact three years ago TAG issued the Formula 1 James Hunt Limited Edition in his honour. Anyway, Ron gifted me a TAG and a little while after that I had the chance to travel to Switzerland to visit the production facilities. To be honest, I didn’t know the first thing about watches prior to that. I had no idea what a complication was and certainly never realised the incredible patience, not to say devotion it takes to produce these works of art.

What most impressed you?

Honestly, when you see all those tiny components, you wonder how on earth the master watchmakers go about assembling them. I can’t even finish a jigsaw puzzle, and this is ten thousand times more complicated. It’s a fascinating experience to be able to watch them work. Since then, I’ve felt nothing but admiration for these craftsmen and women. They sparked my love of watches. In fact I owe them a lot more, as they also introduced me to an age-old expertise I never even knew existed!

Meeting Niki Lauda will always be one of my most memorable experiences ever.
Chris Hemsworth
The great champion driver Niki Lauda died recently. Tell us about him.

Niki was also an ambassador for the brand. After his Formula 1 World Championship win in Monza in 1975, for Ferrari, he was the one to beat. A year later, Jack Heuer imagined a watch in his honour. That was the Monza, a great-looking chronograph [between 1971 and 1979, Heuer was the official timekeeper for Scuderia]. Meeting Niki will always be one of the most memorable experiences in my life. I’d just finished filming Thor and suddenly, I was being asked to play a racing driver. James Hunt was no longer around to give me advice, so naturally I turned to Niki. He was actually on the set of Rush as a consultant. He was very impressive. At the Toronto Film Festival, he hugged me and said, “We’ve done a good job, I’m proud. I only wish James were here to see it.” Niki was a humble and gracious man. He also had a wicked sense of humour! It was a huge privilege to have been able to benefit from his experience. We all miss him.

Do you remember your first watch?

That would be one my grandfather gave me, a long, long time ago. I think it was a Rip Curl, a watch with practical functions for surfers that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I used it to check tides and work out the ideal time to ride the waves. It was pretty cool!

Chris Hemsworth
Chris Hemsworth
Here's a cheeky question: what is it about you that most annoys your wife?

You should ask her! I hope the answer is nothing. Damn it, now you’ve put a doubt in my mind. As long as there’s still room for me in bed when I get home! [laughs]. Maybe the fact I lose all track of time when I’m surfing. I reckon that bugs her. Or when I go out with mates occasionally and come home late. Obviously because of the traffic [laughs]. Seriously, what is it about me that could possibly annoy her? I mean, come on, I’m perfect! Of course, ask Elsa and she might make you a list as long as her arm!

How can you be late when you have a watch that keeps time with such incredible precision!

I know, I know, but when I’m surfing, I have a complete different notion of time.

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