The Greater Hemsworth covers GQ this month, getting ahead of Bad Times at the El Royale, a movie that probably won’t justify this level of marketing. The interview is pretty good because the writer, Lauren Larson, examines Hemsworth in context of a shifting ideal of Hollywood masculinity, and how he has stayed “relevant” through the flux. I would argue that being a handsome white guy in Hollywood is still a good deal, and one of the biggest movie stars in the world, Chris Pratt, typifies an old-school brand of American machismo, so Hemsworth isn’t THAT out of context. But there is no ignoring that the heartthrobs of the younger set—your Timothee Chalamets, your Nick Robinsons, your Noah Centineos—do point to a changing archetype of masculinity. And despite a gap between actual audience interest in his movies and his relative fame level, Ryan Gosling has always been one of the most swooned-over men in the world. The shift seems to be going in favor of the less rigid, less aggressive, less domineering masculinity of the past and moving toward something more open and fluid.
This article supposes that Chris Hemsworth is at the leading edge of that change, ditching his initial action-hero stance for being the grounded family man, the doting father, the dorky dad next door—a public persona that has served him well and fueled his second career-wind. There is definitely something to it. A few years ago Hemsworth kicked his career in the ass by embracing his inner comedy grunt, and in between the self-promotion and surf shots, his Instagram photos of home and family (if your home is in literal paradise), which keeps him popular with the “my ovaries exploded” crowd. The makeover is undoubtedly a little calculated, but it works because it’s true to who Hemsworth is—he isn’t pretending to be this guy, he IS this guy. He’s just curating how much of it we see.
What really strikes me, though, is how canny Chris Hemsworth has turned out to be. When he first came on the scene, I wasn’t super interested in him. At first he was playing by the 1990s Brad Pitt Hunk playbook, and it didn’t really click. I used to say of him that twenty years ago he was a for-sure proposition, an automatic Movie Star, but these days people don’t really buy into that and so it wasn’t really working for Hemsworth. But then he changed gears and suddenly it started to click and now he’s everyone’s favorite Avenger and a Top Chris, second only to Pine (who beats him on versatility). That’s what this profile shows—how he felt the need for a change and put it into action and has emerged more popular than ever and the headliner of good movies, something that could not be said of his early Hollywood career. Hemsworth made himself interesting when he started taking deliberate action to change the direction of his career and his public image. He threw out that old Hollywood Hunk playbook and has started writing a new one.
And now for a shallow observation: This is the best he’s ever looked, right? He is SUPER HOT in those glasses. The editorial is extremely well styled. Also, I’m getting a strong Dr. Jones vibe from the black-and-white photos with the glasses. As much as Steven Spielberg insists only Harrison Ford will ever be Indiana Jones, the world we live in simply won’t tolerate that. They’ll make one more with Ford as Old Indy—a thing no one wants to see, a lesson they should have already learned—and then, inevitably, Lucasfilm will reboot the franchise, Bond-style, with a new Indiana Jones. Might I suggest Chris Hemsworth?