“Oh yeah, for sure,” nods Chris Hemsworth when asked if he considers himself a feminist. “My mum’s a big feminist. I think that my views on things, as far as respect for women and so on, came from my mum. My dad has a very balanced and respectful view on a lot of things too. They were huge positive influences in my life.”
In fact, the “badass female characters” in his latest film, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, were one of the main reasons Hemsworth was keen to do the sequel (in cinemas 4th April).
“The strength of it was in these three women [Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron] and their performances, the heart and soul that they’ve blended through their characters,” he tells us.
“I think the balance has been tipped for a long time heavily in the men’s direction. There are seven to eight male superheroes and one female in there. This is the opposite.”
“It’s exciting to be part of something like that,” he says, adding: “But it’s a funny conversation to even have, because of course it should be that way. Of course it should be equal.”
Hemsworth was keen for the film – a sequel to 2012’s Snow White and The Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart – to be tonally completely different from its predecessor. “The script is funnier and lighter. The visuals, the colours, the aesthetic – it’s brighter, it’s more fun. It reminds me of Willow or something like Indiana jones,” he says.
This is not a standard sequel, either. It’s an origin story which then picks up post-Snow White. “[The Huntsman]’s past is coming back to haunt him. All sorts of repercussions to things that happened earlier in his life are boiling to the surface.” We will see his Huntsman back with his wife “who he had assumed was dead.” It’s “quite an interesting, complex sort of” reunion, says Hemsworth.
Chastain is taking on the role of the Huntsman’s long-lost wife, and Hemsworth reckons she’s a “fantastic” addition to the fairytale franchise.
“I remember the first thing she said was, ‘Do I get to kick ass?’ Jessica’s just bought such a live performance and character. [There’s] great fire and chemistry between the two characters, which is full of fun and it’s feisty. She’s probably the strongest one in the film, or the strongest out of the two of us. She’s great.”
Hemsworth’s next project has no shortage of “kick ass” women in it either. When we spoke to him on set of Huntsman last year he was gearing up for the Ghostbusters reboot (in cinemas 15th July), which will feature Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones in the lead roles. “[It’s] a heavily female thing, which is really cool. I didn’t plan it, I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
A stint on Saturday Night Live was what caught the attention of director Paul Feig, explains Hemsworth, and his role as secretary Kevin went from there. “I read the script and Ioved it, all the girls involved especially. So I said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’ I still don’t have a whole shooting script so I’m going to turn up in a week’s time and just go, ‘Give me something funny to say.'”
The 32-year-old was always a fan of the original movies, he tells us: “They’re very prominent and vivid in my mind because I just loved them as a kid… They sort of defined so many things. Your own sense of humour, the way you acted and interacted, how you saw the world. It’s kind of cool to be a part of that and revisit that.”
And then, after that, there’s always the prospect of more Thor, the demigod superhero Hemsworth has embodied since 2011. “I love being part of it, something that has that much of a following and an appreciation,” he tells us. “You can take risks and do other things and if they don’t work, you can jump back on the Marvel train.”
The Huntsman: Winter’s War is in UK cinemas 4th April