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EXCLUSIVE: Chris Hemsworth opens up about quitting Hollywood and family life in Byron Bay

The handsome Men in Black star chats about love and life.

By OK! team
Chris Hemsworth is so down-to-earth, it's easy to see why he's popular both here and overseas.
Aside from being one of Hollywood's biggest stars, he's also a caring family man, a barefoot surfer and a volunteer at his kids' school.
Now he's back on the big screen in another iconic role – as one of the Men in Black. And Chris is thrilled to be part of a franchise that was such a big part of his childhood.
"It's a pinch-yourself moment where you go, 'Hell, I grew up with Men in Black,' so to find yourself in amongst it is pretty cool," he admits.
The hunky actor, 35, stars as Agent H in Men in Black: International, the franchise reboot in which he teams up with his Thor: Ragnarok co-star Tessa Thompson (she played Valkyrie) as his fellow MIB agent.
Here, Chris talks about almost giving up on his dream, staying down-to-earth, and his strong command of Spanish.
Men in Black: International is the fourth film in the hit series. (Image: Getty Images)
What was it like to work on Men in Black: International? Does it tie into the original movies?
We've tried to keep the same level of humour the previous films had, as well as make our story unique. I've never had more fun than I did on this film, and working with Tessa again has been a blast. We reconnected right away.
Men in Black marks a new career arc for you. How does it feel to be at the possible end of your Avengers ride?
It's been both bittersweet and nostalgic. We've spent something like 10 years working on these films that have become so huge and unique in the history of [cinema]. I've made so many wonderful lifelong friendships with the other actors. Usually you shoot a movie for two or three months and then never see each other again.
But with The Avengers, it's like growing up together, seeing each other get married, have kids and watching our lives evolve. That's a very special experience.
Chris reunites with his Thor Ragnarok co-star Tessa Thompson in Men in Black: International. (Image: Instagram @tessamaethompson)
Your Hollywood adventure is taking you in different directions. Are you fulfilling your dreams?
When I was 17, I decided one day that this is what I wanted to do. Ever since, it's been a constant battle of 'I can do it' versus 'no I can't' – much like anyone else chasing down a dream. I got a job pretty quick when I got to Hollywood [2009's Star Trek], so I was very fortunate in that sense. Then I didn't work for a while and started to think it might not [happen].
But Thor came up really out of nowhere, and it hasn't stopped since then. If I could write down the formula and understand how and why it happened, I could bottle it. A lot of it had to do with timing. I was in the right place at the right time. But you do have to have pretty thick skin and a lot of self motivation.
Chris and Elsa have three kids - India, seven, and twins Tristan and Sasha, five. (Image: Instagram @elsapatakyconfidential)
You've mentioned that you came close to quitting Hollywood because of your career stagnating before landing Thor.
It was hard. I had a huge amount of anxiety when I was auditioning, and that just got worse and worse the more I heard the word no. I did a lot of soul searching where I asked myself, 'Why am I doing this? What's my motivation?'
To be honest, it was to look after my family. I love acting, but I needed to make sure I was taking care of them. I kept reminding myself of that.
You maintain a high level of fitness for your roles. How important is that?
Doing sports and workouts makes me feel more balanced and centred in life. I also love surfing. It keeps my feet on the ground – pardon the play on words. Being active and doing sports is my way of clearing my head of the bombardment of information and the social media universe. [It] just puts me in a different mindset.
Chris says his wife Elsa has a lot to do with keeping him grounded. (Image: Instagram @chrishemsworth)
What keeps you grounded?
I think a lot of it has to do with being with my wife [Elsa Pataky], who means so much to me, and also the people you surround yourself with.
I have a fantastic family, and especially parents who have taught me to be modest. I've also been lucky to stay in touch with friends whom I've known since I was a little boy. They make sure I don't take myself too seriously.
Does living away from LA help?
Moving back to Australia was a very good decision for us. There I can be with people and talk about things that have nothing to do with the film business. That's almost impossible in Los Angeles, where there's rarely a moment when you can forget that you're an actor.
Living in Australia allows me to be away from a world where you can lose touch with reality sometimes.
WATCH: Chris Hemsworth surfing with his little girl, India. Post continues after video...
Is there a difference between your wife's Spanish culture and your Aussie background?
It's not that big, [which] is one of the reasons we get along so well together. One similarity between us is that both of us have big families who like to party at night. Everyone is very loud and feels very close. I'm also very proud of the fact that our kids have grown up speaking Spanish with their mother.
How's your Spanish? Your wife says you are learning two new words every year.
She's being kind!

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