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January 17, 2018

Chris Hemsworth 'absolutely' feels U.S. troops are heroes, relished role in '12 Strong'

In our exclusive interview with Hemsworth, the actor says he now has a new-found respect for those who fought in Afghanistan

Chris Hemsworth is best known all over the globe for playing one of the most popular superheroes in cinematic history, Thor.

However, when PhillyVoice asked him about his role as Captain Mitch Nelson in the upcoming film "12 Strong," Hemsworth said members of the U.S. military are the real heroes.

"Absolutely," said Hemsworth. "I mean, as (has been) said, I've done a lot of stuff in the comic book world, and fantasy-based heroes and so on – and it was a lot of fun. But I definitely wanted to do something with some real heart and more grounded – and then this script came along a few years ago.

"My first instinct was that I just couldn't believe it was a true story," Hemsworth continued. 

"I knew all about this conflict, this war [in Afghanistan], but like a lot of people, I did not know about this mission."

That mission was the first military operation by U.S. forces in Afghanistan after 9/11. The team was called Task Force Dagger and the key to their mission is not their overwhelming firepower, but joining forces with Afgan allies. It is why, in memorable moments in the film, the U.S. soldiers ride horses instead of jeeps so they can be seen by their Afghan allies as equals.

Many of the men involved in the actual mission were on set to make sure the film was as authentic as possible. Hemsworth describes interacting with them as an unforgettable experience.

"Speaking to the guys during this process, there's just such an honesty and openness," he said. 

"There is a lack of dramatization or ego as they retell and recount these events – and such a humility. They're real heroes to put themselves in these positions, in harm's way, with their safety in jeopardy," he emphasized. 

"For the rest of us, I think that's something beyond admirable, something that is inspiring and something that I felt an honor to play this character and be a part of this story. I definitely felt the responsibility of that and I think we all did.

"It was an incredible experience – and one that I'll remember for a long, long time."