Chris Hemsworth faced a life-alerting revelation while filming his new NatGeo series Limitless, and now he’s set to take some time off to process it all.
The adventure series, which debuted on Disney+ Friday, sees the 39-year-old actor test the limits of his body to find out what may lead to a longer life. During a genetic testing segment in Episode 5, titled “Memory,” Hemsworth learns that he has two copies of the gene APOE4 — one from his mother, one from his father — which studies have linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
One in four people carry a single copy of the gene, but only 2 to 3% of the population have both, according to a 2021 study by the National Institutes of Health.
“The show, which initially was an exploration of longevity and, of course, should be fun, became even more relevant and important for me, even more poignant than I ever thought it would be,” Hemsworth told Vanity Fair in a follow-up interview. “It was a really good catalyst to dive into everything I needed to be doing in either the prevention front or the management front or however you want to classify it. It's not a pre-deterministic gene, but it is a strong indication. Ten years ago, I think it was more thought of as determinant.”
After receiving the test results, the Thor: Love and Thunder star has decided to take a bit of time off from acting and will spend the next few months at home in Australia with his wife, Elsa Pataky, 46, and their three children, daughter India, 10, and twin sons, Sasha and Tristan, 8.
“Doing an episode on death and facing your own mortality made me go, ‘Oh God, I'm not ready to go yet.’ I want to sit and be in this space with a greater sense of stillness and gratitude. And then you start talking about kids and family and going, ‘Oh my God, they're getting older, they're growing up and I keep slapping another movie on top of another movie.’ Before you know it, they're 18 and they've moved out of house, and I missed the window,” Hemsworth told VF.
He continued, “It really triggered something in me to want to take some time off. And since we finished the show, I've been completing the things I was already contracted to do. Now when I finish this tour this week, I'm going home and I'm going to have a good chunk of time off and just simplify. Be with the kids, be with my wife.”
Hemsworth admitted he was doing too much and taking on far too many projects, back to back. Although acting still “excites” him, he feels content with what he’s done so far and wants to be more decisive about projects he chooses in the future.
“I felt a sense of guilt when I would say no to a film before. There was a part of me that was like, ‘Who do you think you are? You've never had this opportunity and here it is! You're going to let it go and pass you by?’ Now I'm much more comfortable saying no and much more at ease with it all. I'm very thankful for that. I'm glad I'm not having this conversation 20 years from now and my kids have grown up and left my home,” he said, adding that, if he has to be away from his family, he wants to work with filmmakers who are “kind and collaborative and interesting.”
“I've had older, very experienced directors go, “Don't do what I did.” They talk about their kids having grown up—and they missed it,” Hemsworth continued. “What was interesting about it was, they were admitting the fault—but at the same time, they were still on set, still doing it. There's an addictive quality to it, I think, about being in the mix and being a part of the chase and being part of the adrenaline that comes with all of it.”
As he’s set to “recharge,” Hemsworth wants to be in the moment and let the future play out as it will. His family lives on 11 acres along the Australian coast, and his children are what he calls “as outdoorsy and adventurous as they come.” His current goal is to just keep up with them.
“I'm in a state of, not passive, but a little more surrendering to [the idea that] things are as they are,” Hemsworth stated. “I don't mean that in a sort of apathetic way, but there's a stillness to my thinking about it all now.”
Limitless is now streaming on Disney+.