Thursday, 15 January 2015

2015: The Year of Chris Hemsworth

2015 promises a lot in the world of film with undoubtedly the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens in December having half the world frothing at the mouth and the other half wiping up the froth and wondering what the fuss is about.

Yet for one actor it may be the year he goes truly global and creates a market for himself, with three known films coming out in the calendar year that may well guarantee box office returns for him and the films themselves.

A few years ago there was a game where you could do a fantasy box office team like pick five actors or actresses that would star in the films that make the most money for example you pick stars like Gary Oldman or Samuel L. Jackson who appear frequently but in films that garner large returns.  For the first six months of the year you should put your money on Chris Hemsworth.

The Australian actor is following a career path not too dissimilar to his fellow Antipodeans, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, like him actors of immense presence, whereas he has not had the great role like Crowe in Gladiator his casting decisions are nonetheless impressive.

Released this week in America is Blackhat, where he plays Nicholas Hathaway, a crack hacker who is the government's only hope of beating an even better hacker.  So far, so Swordfish a la Jackman; but the film is directed by Michael Mann who again films in that digital camera where it feels like the camera is merely floating about the action and yet is very much kinetic when it comes to the balletic gunplay as eschewed in the trailer. And there is no blowjob under the table going on as far as the trailer tells us.

This is one of those roles where Hemsworth appears in a degree of normalcy, of this world and not of his alter ego Thor whom re-appears in the other must see blockbuster forthcoming in May Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Whilst Thor has already had two stand alone films of his own with another Ragnarok scheduled for 2017 from Marvel, Thor is nevertheless critical to the film. In the first film Avengers Assemble, it was his character who had some of the best lines - 'You humans are so petty. And tiny' and the classic 'He's adopted', when having to explain Loki's homocidal tendencies.

That film is guaranteed to be gold at the box office if Joss Whedon can work the magic again, however, the third film of his first half of 2015 may be his most impressive decision and grant him his best role of his career in In the Heart of the Sea.

Like Crowe in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, it will show a seafaring Hemsworth who will don the apparel of late 18th century sailors as Owen Chase aboard the Essex the infamous vessel that was attacked by a giant whale becoming the inspiration for Herman Melville's Moby Dick

Directed by Ron Howard with whom Hemsworth worked with on Rush, it appears Hemsworth has grasped a mixture of intelligence and charisma to work with such luminaries as Howard and Mann in quick succession.

Hemsworth has hit his purple patch it seems and whilst he will always have the character of Thor to fall back on and it appears he works best in an ensemble. Blackhat gives him the platform to carry a film on his own without a known face amongst the supporting cast, even the love interest is not known to American audiences, leaving Hemsworth to make sure the film can be elevated above a mere hacker thriller but to something more than that.

Blackhat is out in the UK on February 20th from Universal Pictures
In the Heart of the Sea is released on March 13th from Warner Bros.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is released on April 24th from Marvel

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