Chris Hemsworth Reveals His Family’s Holiday Plans

9 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘In the Heart of the Sea’ Sets Sail at Nantucket-Themed NYC Premiere.

It exemplified why he wanted the role in the first place, he told The Hollywood Reporter at New York City’s Jazz at Lincoln Center. “It was something different that I hadn’t done before. No whales were harmed in the making of “In the Heart of the Sea” — not counting one of the CGI variety — but that doesn’t mean anti-whaling advocates aren’t worried about the period drama opening Friday doing some damage. Public attitudes towards the slaughter of the endangered seagoing mammals have changed drastically since the real-life 1820 sinking of the Essex whaling ship that inspired “Moby Dick.” That may be why director Ron Howard opted to show only one whale-killing scene before (spoiler alert!) a leviathan flips the script on its human pursuers. “We wanted to depict the brutality of it, but also show some doubt and some remorse in what these men were doing, that this was the industry at the time.” And it’s an industry that still continues, despite a 1986 global moratorium on commercial whaling.

To recount the story of the doomed Essex ship made famous by Herman Melville’s Moby Dick – using the novel by Nathaniel Philbrick – the cast spend half the time filming on a reconstructed ship, but the outdoor scenes were all done in the Canary Islands. It could possibly work if you think of the movie as a metaphor for the story it’s trying to tell, but that’s a little too meta for something that should be fairly straightforward. Iceland, Japan and Norway still legally allow the practice. “Who wants to watch a film with whales getting slaughtered throughout the whole thing?” explains the Australian actor. “So I think that’s why there were limited shots of (killing whales) in the movie.” There’s enough in real life: A Japanese vessel set off for Antartica just last week to resume hunting minke whales, flouting international convention. But whatever his considerable natural gifts, Hemsworth has proven an interesting actor inclined to use his powerful screen presence in roles that both exalt it and upend it. The heavy weight loss took a toll, with major ups and downs for the whole cast. “It was an emotional roller coaster in what all of us had to face,” said Hemsworth.

In order to play first mate Owen Chase in the film, Hemsworth had to drop 33 lbs. in four weeks to have the appearance of a fisherman lost at sea – scruffy beard and all! Thankfully, the afterparty in the Jazz had a feast of Nantucket-inspired foods with fish, mini pot-pies and, of course, hot chowder, and entertained guests like Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly. Howard uses Melville as a character (played by Ben Whishaw) and his curiosity about the mysterious circumstances of how the whaleship Essex sank as the audience’s entry into the story. Shipwrecked by a mammoth sperm whale, Hemsworth’s heroic seaman is humbled, left a gaunt survivor. (The actor shed considerable weight for the role.) It’s the kind of duality that defines Hemsworth: a hunk but a family man (he has three kids); an Avengers superhero but a talented comic actor.

Howard has found himself gravitating toward films based on real events since Apollo 13. “I had always been a little intimidated and thought it would limit my creativity, but I found that it was the opposite,” he told THR. “As long as you’re staying in the realm of the truth of the story, capturing the spirit of it and the detail, you can push the boundaries of what the characters are going through.” To survive, characters need forgiveness and the ability to swallow pride. At his wife’s pleading, and Melville’s promise of generous payment for one night’s conversation, Tom starts to spill about the events of 30 years ago, when he was 14 (played by Tom Holland).

Chase flexes his hero muscles early, bounding up a ladder to cut free a tangled sail, and the Captain responds with ill-advised bravado in leading the men full-speed into a squall. But we never really care about the lead, so there’s little hope that we’ll be interested in the rest of the men once it becomes solely about survival.

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