FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGA Star Chris Hemsworth Covers VANITY FAIR’s May Issue

Posted on April 30, 2024


In a new cover story for VANITY FAIR’s May issue, VF contributor Karen Valby sits down with actor and family man Chris Hemsworth in Byron Bay, Australia on the eve of his role in FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGA. In addition to discussing the film, he reflects on past roles, his decision to not live in Los Angeles and naming his son after Brad Pitt in LEGENDS OF THE FALL. He also addresses those false rumors about him having Alzheimer’s and leaving the business once and for all. 


On Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga: This month, Hemsworth stars in George Miller’s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, the hotly anticipated prequel to 2015’s Oscar-winning box office smash Fury Road set in the same blighted wasteland. Alongside Anya Taylor-Joy’s titular character, Hemsworth plays Dementus, the charismatic leader of a biker horde.

 Tellingly, it is the actor’s favorite role since he starred in Ron Howard’s 2013 race car drama, Rush. “Ron took me out of that typecast space of the muscly action guy and let me play a character with complications and darkness,” he says. “I remember thinking at the time, Oh, this is going to change everything.” It took a decade, and working with Miller, to feel fed as deeply. “Yeah,” says Hemsworth, “it’s been a long wait.”

 On correcting the headlines that falsely claimed he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is retiring: He wants to let himself take his craft more seriously. But he doesn’t want to be “an overly self-important, pretentious wanker.” Oh And he wants it known, once and for all, that he doesn’t have Alzheimer’s, nor has he quit the business.

 Two years ago, as part of the National Geographic docuseries Limitless, Hemsworth underwent genetic testing that revealed he carried two copies of the APOE4 gene. The startling news—which is not a diagnosis but a marker of risk that one of my daughters happens to share—coincided with planned time off, and some headlines conflated the two incorrectly. “It really kind of pissed me off because it felt like I had been vulnerable with something personal and shared this,” he says. “No matter how much I said ‘This is not a death sentence,’ the story became that I have dementia and I’m reconsidering life and retiring and so on.” His face relaxes into a smile, because that’s how he was raised, in a family acutely aware of life’s fragility, so best not to take any of it too seriously. “I did read a really funny comment at the bottom of one article: ‘I hope Chris forgets he’s retiring and comes back.’ ”

On his frustrations playing Thor: Grateful as he was for the opportunity, Hemsworth grew frustrated playing the great Asgardian defender. “Sometimes I felt like a security guard for the team,” he says. “I would read everyone else’s lines, and go, Oh, they got way cooler stuff. They’re having more fun. What’s my character doing? It was always about, ‘You’ve got the wig on. You’ve got the muscles. You’ve got the costume. Where’s the lighting?’ Yeah, I’m part of this big thing, but I’m probably pretty replaceable.”

Hemsworth on escaping the mind trip of Hollywood: The family moved to Byron Bay in 2015 to be close to his parents, who live just up the hill, but also to escape the head trip of Hollywood, which Hemsworth summarizes as follows: “I’m sick of my face. Why isn’t it on a billboard? I’m too famous. Why are there paparazzi here? Wait, why aren’t there any paparazzi here?” He pauses. “Well, which do you want, Chris?” He’s prone to that toxic seesawing of anxiety and reproach, and it makes him so tired. Of himself, mostly.


[Photo Credit: Gregory Harris/Vanity Fair Magazine]

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