In director Ron Howard's newest film, "Rush," the drama focuses on the intense rivalry between Formula One greats James Hunt and Niki Lauda. But at times, the cameras focus on something else — the bare backside of star Chris Hemsworth.
NBC's Andrea Canning sat down with Hemsworth — as well as his "Rush" co-stars Daniel Bruhl and Olivia Wilde, plus Howard — for an interview that aired Tuesday on TODAY and asked the "Thor" actor what it was like to show off his assets.
'It was more intimidating than the driving scenes," Hemsworth confessed. "Are you kidding me? It's like 100 people standing around, 'Get (your clothes) off!' 'You going to turn around first? Turn the cameras off?' 'No!'"
Hemsworth fans will see plenty of him in the film, but if they're expecting to see Thor in the buff, they're in for a surprise. The 30-year-old, who plays Hunt opposite Bruhl's Lauda, dropped 30 pounds of superhero bulk for the part.
"Look, I'm James Hunt's height, but Thor couldn't even fit into a Formula One car," the Australian actor told Howard before landing the role. "I realize that, but I will be James Hunt's size, if I get the part."
And so he was. That kind of dedication is part of what's made both Hemsworth and his younger brother Liam Hemsworth such Hollywood hits — a point that impressed Wilde, who plays Hemsworth's better half in "Rush."
"I asked his mother the other night at the premiere, 'What does it feel like to have these sons?' And she said, 'Oh, I didn't have them. They were created by Hollywood scientists.'" Wilde laughed.
And while those "creations" are known to share a sibling rivalry, they don't compete when it comes to Tinsel Town.
"I think we're competitive in everything else but this business," Hemsworth explained. "In this business, I think you understand … 'a win for you is a win for me.'"
See if "Rush" is a win for Hemsworth when it opens in New York and Los Angeles Sept. 20 and hits theaters nationwide Sept. 27.
First published September 11 2013, 7:03 AM