My wife was pregnant at the time and she reminds me that I was moodier than she was.” Rush focuses on the dramatic 1976 Formula One season, when James Hunt and Niki Lauda battled it out for the championship title, Lauda almost dying in a horrific fireball accident at the German Grand Prix at Nürburgring, then returning as if from the dead (he had been given the last rites), to race again just six weeks later.Hunt went on to win the title, retiring only three years later and becoming a commentator.
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“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. 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 died aged 45 in his sleep, his heart apparently weakened by the years of excess.
Earlier that day he had proposed to his girlfriend of four years, Helen Dyson. Hemsworth is excellent as Hunt, perfectly capturing the spirit of the man.
Hemsworth - who admits he did not really know who Hunt was before reading the script - did not have anyone to consult. Over the last couple of years I’ve met three or four women who have said ‘I used to date James’ or ‘I slept with him’. He was drunk at his own wedding.” Hemsworth laughs. A little.” Born in Melbourne, Hemsworth is the middle of three brothers (Luke and Liam are actors too – Liam starred in The Hunger Games and is engaged to Miley Cyrus).
And they all said he was a very sweet guy.” I ask if he thinks that Hunt’s behaviour was excusable. “There were things he did that were absolutely inexcusable, like urinating in public. Their mother was an English teacher and their father a social-services counsellor, a job that prompted the family to spend several years in the Northern Territory in a small Aboriginal community in the Outback called Bulman.“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. He wears a thick silver wedding band, a beaded string bracelet and a Mont Blanc watch.The epitome of the playboy rock-star driver, Hunt drank to excess, snorted cocaine and reputedly slept with more than 5,000 women. “Yeah,” he says, laughing and raising his eyebrows. “I’m talking about how he says what he wants to say or the reaction he has to the reporter.” (He assaults a journalist who insults Niki Lauda, Hunt’s chief opponent but also his close friend, a dichotomy the movie captures well.) Hemsworth says that he had some wild days when he first became famous in Australia starring in the soap opera Home and Away.“What I love about him, and I like to think I have, is a sort of childlike quality. That sense of fun and adventure is something I find appealing. “I had a taste of that kind of world, the drinking and everything. I was able to experience all that before I got to Hollywood.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.