Thanks to my partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures, I had the amazing opportunity to have a chat with Chris Hemsworth at the 12 STRONG press junket (travel and accommodations provided.) 12 Strong is in theaters January 19 and this remarkable film should be on everyone’s radar by now (not for the sole reason but certainly a major plus that it stars Chris Hemsworth.)
I will confess, as a long-time admirer of his acting talent, one of my bucket list stars to meet was Chris Hemsworth. Sitting in the room at a round table with nine other mom bloggers/writers waiting for Hemsworth to walk in, there may, indeed, have been a few butterflies warbling around inside.
Despite my calm and cool professional exterior, I can still go a little fan-girl inside. Can you blame me? Chris Hemsworth is a ridiculously attractive man and a wildly-talented actor. I have now learned that he embodies a charming, kind, all-around guy-next-door persona and honestly (not to ruin the image for anyone) he actually reminded me of a lot of my sons, albeit not surprising I am nearly old enough to be his mom.
More than that, it was the genuine “heart” that is sometimes missing in mega-stars. I get the sense that Hemsworth would be the first person to offer to carry your groceries, fix a flat or help scrape ice off your driveway – not because he was putting on a show, but because he honestly cared.
Which, not surprisingly, makes Hemsworth a splendid match for the role of Captain Mitch Nelson in 12 STRONG, the leader of a U.S. Special Forces team chosen to be the first U.S. troops sent into Afghanistan for an extremely dangerous mission. The film is based on Doug Stanton’s best-selling book, “Horse Soldiers,” it is story of heroism based on true events that unfolded a world away in the aftermath of 9/11.
We sat down with Chris Hemsworth to learn more about his role in the film and his experience during filming. The following interview contains spoilers, so please note that before you continue to read this article. You may want to bookmark and return to reading after you’ve had a chance to see 12 STRONG in theaters this weekend.
Insights from 12 STRONG Interview with Chris Hemsworth
After filming the first THOR movie, Chris Hemsworth was approached by Jerry Bruckheimer (Producer, 12 STRONG) about playing the role of Captain Mitch Nelson in 12 STRONG. While Hemsworth thought the script was “amazing,” he had other film commitments at the time. He continued to receive subsequent scripts and felt that each one was “better and better.” After shooting the third THOR film, he had a pocket of time to film and thought he wanted to do “something real and something grounded.”
“The script sort of popped up again,” said Hemsworth. “I feel like I hadn’t paid attention to the fact that it was a true story… I just started reading the book and started talking to Jerry and Nicolai and just became fascinated by it.”
For one of the gods of comic book roles, portraying a real-life person on screen was a bit of a detour but his goal wasn’t to mimic him.
“For Mark (renamed Mitch in the book and film,) I just wanted to embody the sort of heart and soul and the integrity and the aspects of his personality more so than his physicality and so on,” said Hemsworth. “There’s definitely weight and responsibility to it because of the subject matter of the story, but also just for that guy, you know? Doing it (the role) justice and making him proud.”
To help prepare for the role, Hemsworth read the book, interviewed and spoke with various people involved in the real-life mission. He admitted that he didn’t have to dig deep to portray the level of bravery embodied by the soldier he portrayed as it’s easy to do on the film set as there is “zero threat.” He found inspiration in the selfless attitude the real men involved in the mission had and worked on infusing that into his character portrayal.
“I’m talking to Mark about his experiences and when he’s retelling his stories about this mission, there is no sort of bravado or sort of ego in the presentation about what he’s achieved,” said Hemsworth. “He could be talking about doing the grocery shopping, like it’s that sort of matter-of-fact and honest and truthful. And that sort of humility and that integrity was something I noticed in all of the military guys we were interacting with.”
Hemsworth had to take bravery to the next level, transforming soldier into warrior. To achieve this arc in the film, it took several reshoots to make the transformation clearer. Filming in the desert proved to add more challenges to the role. With the extreme temperature changes, Hemsworth found himself wishing he could either get rid of or add layers to his character’s costume.
“I don’t think he (Mitch) wants to wear that scarf today, or the jacket,” Hemsworth joked. “Then it gets to night time and you’re like, I think my character wants to wear that jacket!”
After filming 12 STRONG, Hemsworth’s opinion of the military and military families hasn’t wavered, he has always had a positive opinion and respect for families in this situation. After being able to delve into the world in a deeper way, it has had him considering the lifestyle more, relating it to his own parental feelings of how difficult it is to leave his children for filming and publicity tours.
“To be walking out the door going to war,” said Hemworth,”I cannot imagine. And again, it takes a certain person to be able to do that. I don’t think I have that strength. So yes, it’s incredible.”
Chris Hemsworth honesty is certainly part of his charm both on and off screen. This personality trait not only pays homage to him but tribute to the men who served on the U.S. Special Forces team mission. At the end of the interview, he summed things up brilliantly with a special message to military service members and their families:
“I think the same as just about everyone, which is ‘thank you,'” said Hemsworth. “Thank you for what you guys do and the commitment so that we can live our life in peace and enjoy the freedom that many people don’t get. That we are fortunate enough to receive due to the military. So yes, ‘thank you!'”
About 12 STRONG
Heart of a hero. Courage of a warrior. 12 Strong is in theaters January 19.
Chris Hemsworth (“Thor,” “The Avengers” films) and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road,” “Nocturnal Animals”) star in “12 Strong,” a powerful new war drama from Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media, and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Based on Doug Stanton’s best-selling book, “Horse Soldiers,” it is story of heroism based on true events that unfolded a world away in the aftermath of 9/11.
“12 Strong” is set in the harrowing days following 9/11 when a U.S. Special Forces team, led by their new Captain, Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth), is chosen to be the first U.S. troops sent into Afghanistan for an extremely dangerous mission. There, in the rugged mountains, they must convince Northern Alliance General Dostum (Navid Negahban) to join forces with them to fight their common adversary: the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies. In addition to overcoming mutual distrust and a vast cultural divide, the Americans—accustomed to state-of-the-art warfare—must adopt the rudimentary tactics of the Afghani horse soldiers. But despite their uneasy bond, the new allies face overwhelming odds: outnumbered and outgunned by a ruthless enemy that does not take prisoners.
Rated R for war violence and language throughout.
For more information on the film,
- visit the Official Website
- Like ’12 Strong’ on Facebook
- Follow on Twitter
- Follow on Instagram
- Watch for hashtag #12StrongMovie on social media