Is Chris Hemsworth Quitting Acting Because of Marvel?

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Marvel)

Chris Hemsworth, one of the world’s most prominent and noteworthy scholars in the field of beefcake theory, has announced that he’s going to be taking a break from acting once his contract with Marvel expires.

This is a move of incredible courage on Hemsworth’s behalf – he’s one of Hollywood’s most in-demand stars, at the pinnacle of his career, which means that in removing himself from the acting game, he risks losing a chance to become one of the most memorable actors of this generation.

Hemsworth should be commended for his decision to take a step back at such a juncture, and choosing instead, Rick Moranis style, to focus on his family rather than his career. In an industry as addictive and intoxicating as showbusiness, to be able to prioritize children over A-list movie roles is a skill that not many actors possess.

According to Hemsworth’s official statement:

“I want to be able to take the kids to school. I may even be off all year. It all happened at once and I’ve thought about it and gone, ‘God, am I trying to do too much at once? There’s no regret by any means. It just comes out of wanting to be [at home] more.

“I want to be there more. My wife and I were talking the other day about how the years are flying by: our daughter [India Rose] is five and a half and the boys [twins called Tristan and Sasha] are three and a half. And however much time you do have together, it never seems like enough. It’s always exhausting, even when we have help with grandparents or a nanny.”

Chris Hemsworth is an absolute saint for making this difficult decision, but it’s worth questioning whether this would even be necessary were it not for the constant machinations of the Marvel movie conveyer belt.

Hemsworth filmed “Thor: Ragnarok” in 2016, and has been working on “Infinity War” and “Avengers 4” back to back for the past year. This is in addition to a huge number of other assignments and roles in other movies.

Thor Chris Hemsworth
Source: Marvel

As “Arrival” director Denis Villeneuve once lamented, Marvel has a habit of swallowing up its actors so that there’s very little time for anything else in their schedule. Even a relatively small role such as Hawkeye made it difficult for Jeremy Renner to be available for reshoots on “Arrival”.

Ultimately, over the past few years, thanks to his contract with Marvel, Chris Hemsworth has had to make the choice between either doing all Marvel movies and nothing else, or broadening his career by trying to fit in other projects at the expense of his personal life.

Things are also made more complicated when it’s factored in that Marvel has never paid Hemsworth particularly well – his fee per movie had to be renegotiated when he realized that if he made, say, “Snow White and the Huntsman”, he would earn several times the going fee for an MCU movie.

Snow White and the Huntsman
Source: Universal Pictures

It was only when Robert Downey Jr stepped in and threatened to quit that Marvel begrudgingly upped Hemsworth’s pay to a more appropriate level for an actor of his fame.

With Hemsworth essentially having to do twice as many movies as a standard actor in order to keep himself from being typecast as the Thor guy, there’s no wonder he feels burned out and overworked.

With such busy schedules, created in large part because Marvel is trying to film three movies a year often with the same few actors, it’s completely understandable that Hemsworth now feels like taking a break from all of this to spend time with his family.

It wouldn’t be too surprising if Hemsworth never returned to acting while his kids are still relatively young. Marvel could well have pushed him out of the game entirely.

Obviously there are other factors at play here. Nobody is forcing Hemsworth to take on all the roles that he’s had on the books over the past few years.

At the same time, it’s worth raising the question of whether a juggernaut as large as Marvel is treating its actors well, and whether more prime Hollywood talent will end up getting chewed up and spat out by the Merry Marvel Marching Society.

Here’s hoping that Chris Hemsworth finds his time with his family to be fulfilling, and that he’s able to recharge his batteries following an intense few years.

Let’s also hope that Marvel stops working its actors to the bone – if only because we don’t want them to get burned out and have to step away from playing their key characters!