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TODAY   |  September 19, 2013

Chris Hemsworth: I dropped 30 lbs. for ‘Rush’ role

The actor tells TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie about his new role in the upcoming Ron Howard auto racing movie “Rush,” and reveals how he shedded his beefy “Thor,” physique just so he could fit inside an Indy car.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> actor chris hemsworth may be best known for playing "thor." he had to fit into a race car . he stars in the '70s world of formula one racing whose rivalry with a fellow driver extends beyond the track.

>> to complain on the noise leaned on the authorities. now we had to rebuild it and become a monster.

>> at least it's a legal monster.

>> so you had to resort to cheating.

>> it's pathetic. rules are rules. yes.

>> rats are rats.

>> thank you.

>> thank you.

>> i really enjoyed this movie, chris. er know what, sometimes i was rooting for you and sometimes i was not. is that what was interesting about the role, there was not a good guy, bad guy ?

>> i think we all ask the same question about where our allegiance is supposed to lie here who is the real guy the villain, who is the bad guy . that was what was interesting. the true story of these guys was on and off the track they are incredibly contrasting and contradicting, pulled and tugged at the hearts.

>> he is still alive, your character passed away. did that make it more challenging to try to understand where he was coming from?

>> yeah. in some ways, yeah, it would have been great to obviously have him there. i would have loved to have met the guy. bur it's been sort of from a distance i can do my research and look at many interviews and what have you and create my version of things.

>> i think i read you did a little handwriting analysis .

>> i had a letter someone had given to me that james had wren and brought it to a handwriting analysis . he said it was very indicative of his personality a. lot of flair, the sharp edges he had at times pointed to a darker side of his character.

>> this character is fast. i don't mean on the ais racetrack. he was a bit of a scoundrel, a playboy. was that fun to explore?

>> it was an interesting world to step back into, his exploits on and off the track were unrivalled.

>> we see a lot of new this movie. no, keep rolling that video. we know you from playing thor. bur you had to lose a ton of weight to fit into the car.

>> the first thing that ron said to me, thor will fit into the race car . i went from 215 to 185 to fit in t. character i played was about the same heart. they had a tough time getting in there as well.

>> i was going to say, you lost that weight, it was mostly hair and neck. you, of course, are 21 of the many hemsworth brothers. what was it like growing up in that family? your mom said you were created in the hollywood star making factory.

>> we lived all over, australia, and had plenty of fun, kind of entertaining ourselves and getting up to mischief. it was good.

>> it's great to have you here. thank you so much. the movie is great. it's called "rush." it's from our sister company universal pictures . it opened nation wide september 27th .