Chris Hemsworth found it 'liberating and refreshing' shedding the 'heroic Thor space'

Chris Hemsworth found it "somewhat liberating and refreshing" to ditch the "heroic Thor space" and play a villain in 'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga'.

The 40-year-old actor has starred as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since the 2011 film of the same name and reprised the role in several subsequent movies, but he was grateful to step away from playing a hero to star as Dementus, the warlord leader of the Biker Horde, which abducted Furiosa, and eventual ruler of Gastown, in George Miller's fifth instalment in the blockbuster post-apocalyptic action franchise.

Speaking to SFX magazine, he said: "It was somewhat liberating and refreshing to kind of shed the heroic Thor space and transform into something different, and not have to be restricted by the expectations of the hero, guess.

The first time I read the script, I felt a huge amount of creative impulses and ideas bubbling up, and then my conversations with George. This went on for a couple of years before we started shooting.

I never had the luxury to sit with a character for two, three years before having actually stepped on set, so there was plenty bubbling under the surface."

However, it was no easy undertaking, as it took him a long time to understand the character.

He explained: "Unlike other scripts, I didn't quite know who the character was. I kept having different ideas. Then the next week, something would contradict that. Two weeks out from shooting, I got really nervous because I hadn't clicked on what this character was. George [Miller, director] suggested I journal in first person as the character and see what comes up. About 1am one night, I couldn't sleep, and I grabbed my notepad and just started pen to paper and didn't think much of it.

Woke up the next morning and was quite shocked by what I’d come up with in that half-sleep state. I showed it to George, and we instantly went, 'Ah, that's the direction...' and that now informs the why of the character."

Hemsworth decided to forget about his "villainous nature" and instead have empathy for the way he is.

He went on: "I think I'd been caught up in the villainous nature of him for too long. I honed in on some sort of empathetic view of who he was, without justifying what he was doing. And getting to a point where I could go, 'This is a savage, brutal world of survival and life is cheap, so you rule with an iron fist. Kill or be killed. Does this justify some of his actions and how can I go about it?'"

His co-star Anya Taylor-Joy (Furiosa) was a huge help in his vision for the character.

Hemsworth shared: "Yeah. I felt quite intimidated by the whole experience. What we were a part of was both exciting and also scary. I had a lot of questions and a real need to sort of dissect everything. Meeting Anya, I immediately saw the same enthusiasm. It was just a constant discussion. Everything Anya did helped inform everything I was wanting to do. The two characters - although as abrasive and polar opposites as they were - kind of complemented the journey. I didn't realise that when I first read the script."