Chris Hemsworth is the last of the old school alpha male movie he-men, but he doesn’t do old school movies. Once upon a time he would have been the main draw. Now, in the Marvel movies — in which he’s the resident Thor — and the new “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” the actor, 32, is surrounded by a diversity of strong characters that aren’t just hulking white dudes. In the film, a prequel that turns into a sequel to 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman,” his do-gooder fights alongside and with mighty women, both good (a love interest played by Jessica Chastain) and evil (Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron’s nefarious queen sisters). That’s a great thing, Hemsworth thinks.
It’s refreshing that you’re the lone man amidst a batch of strong female characters.
It’s not something I realized prior to shooting. It suddenly dawned on me how wonderful these three strong female characters were. I thought how great it is for my daughter to see women not portrayed as damsels in distress, needing to be rescued by the prince. Instead these women control their own destinies, they lead armies, they rule kingdoms. That’s really encouraging.
Eric the Huntsman is a little lighter this time. He has flirty-angry banter with Chastain, who’s as strong as he is.
I didn’t want him to be brooding and depressed — that sort of hulking what-you-call-it. There was certainly a different attitude to him. He was hopeless romantic and completely in awe of these women. They were equals. It was nice to spar with someone who was the same as me. Jessica, her character kicks my character’s ass [laughs] quite a few times in the film. Which he may or may not deserve.
Chastain isn’t someone who’s done a lot of physical roles before. How did she fare?
[Laughs] I was blown away by her skill set and athleticism. A few times I was watching her do fight scenes and was a little jealous at how acrobatic she was and what she was able to pull off. She came at it with the best attitude: She wanted to do something different, something fun.