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Watch the full trailer for Rush, Ron Howard’s film about F1 James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

Watch the full trailer for Rush, Ron Howard’s film about the rivalry between Formula 1 stars James Hunt and Niki Lauda.


The Australian actor Chris Hemsworth may play flamboyant racing driver James Hunt in the new film Rush but in real life you are more likely to find him a nervous passenger in the family SUV driven by his Spanish wife Elsa Pataky. “It has a babyseat and surfboard in the back, it’s a pretty mellow thing,” he says. “I go ‘Slow down, what’s the rush, there’s a red light.’ She says: ‘Shut up, when did you become a driving instructor?’”


Hemsworth’s assured performance as Hunt marks him out as one of Australia’s leading actors, on a par, according to Rush director Ron Howard, with Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman. Best known for his role as Thor in the superhero movie Thor (2011) and Avengers Assemble (2012), in Rush Hemsworth makes a rare foray into a reality-based film. “I love the fantasy world and the movies I’ve been doing but it was nice not to be wielding some sort of weapon,” he says, referring to Thor’s magic hammer. “I was looking for something more character-driven.”

We meet in a Beverly Hills hotel, where he is promoting Rush with remarkable enthusiasm. It helps, says Hemsworth, that the reaction to the movie has been so positive. “Sometimes,” he says about press interviews, “you feel like a car salesman: ‘Trust me, you missed it, go watch it again, you’ll love it…’ Rush is special.”


He looks, of course, effortlessly handsome, wearing a blue-grey T-shirt with a pair of Ray Bans tucked over the neckline, faded G-Star jeans and scuffed blue Vans. “I’m for comfort not for style,” he says. His hair is shorter than usual and slicked back. He wears a thick silver wedding band, a beaded string bracelet and a Mont Blanc watch.


Less than a decade ago Hemsworth, who turned 30 last month, was working as a bartender in a Melbourne nightclub. Now he has manoeuvred himself onto the Hollywood A-list, his face on billboards everywhere, his net worth already $12 million. He handles his new-found fame with equanimity, keeping a low profile off screen and living a quiet life in Santa Monica with Pataky, an actress seven years older than him whom he met in 2010, and their baby daughter India Rose. “Matt Damon once said to me, ‘Just stay boring. Don’t go spilling out of a club at four in the morning and you’ll be fine.’ The paparazzi got bored with us. Because we are pretty boring.”