You were saying that people were trying to give you advice on how to play him, what was some of that advice?
Chris Hemsworth: I remember going to an event like two days before we started shooting. It was a kick-off event with people who knew James and Niki. I thought it would be fun but it was the worst thing I could have done because I had so many people saying “oh, you got to get the accent down, you don’t sound like him,” or “you need to walk like this and say it like that,” and I was just like “well I’m not on set yet, give me a break.” They kept criticizing everything and I just lost my focus. There were too many avenues to try and hit and they all contradicted each other anyways. One person would say one thing and the other person would say the complete opposite. For my own sanity, I just had to disregard the outside opinions and just go for it.
What do you think it is about this story that will appeal to so many audience members?
Chris Hemsworth: Well it’s not just a sports story. Not at all. In fact, I think it tested highest with women who didn’t know anything about F1. I think you rarely get a film that ticks as many boxes as Rush does. There’s a popcorn entertainment element to it but it’s surprising and exciting and there’s real characters at the centre of it. It’s about two fiercely honest people who were incredible rivals but had this great respect for each other. The biggest thing though is the honesty that they lived with. This story appeals to everyone. We all wish we could be more truthful and we all want to avoid conflict. When you watch these two, there’s no filter when they spar off. There’s something refreshing about that.
What about this role made you want to take it on?
Chris Hemsworth: Initially, it was Ron Howard. I hadn’t even read the script but I love his films and he’s such a great guy. I really wanted to be a part of whatever he was doing next. When I read the script I loved it. There was a vulnerability that I saw in the character that wasn’t necessarily on the page. There was something else to him and I think that it doesn’t matter how confident he appeared, you could never really run on that intensity all the time. There’s gotta be something else there. Something about him just fascinated me. I watched a few interviews with him and there was this childlike element to him and that kind of fascinated me.
When I moved up to Sydney I was doing a TV show and I was 19 and I had all the fame and craziness that came with it. I kind of remember back to that period and I remember even though I felt a ton of excitement, I was scared out of my mind half the time. I think that I could relate that to what James was going through.
That concludes our interview but we’d like to thank Chris very much for his time. Be sure to check out Rush when it hits theatres this Friday!