TV

Elsa Pataky opens up about her new series Tidelands: “This role has brought Chris and I closer together”

Starring in a new Aussie drama has brought “more fun” to Elsa Pataky and Chris Hemsworth’s marriage

By Helen Vnuk

Many Australians know Elsa Pataky as Chris Hemsworth's wife. That's pretty impressive in itself.

But Australian Netflix viewers, along with those in the rest of the world, are about to be reminded that Elsa is a talented actor in her own right.

Elsa was a star in her home country of Spain before moving to the US, where she met Chris in 2010. Since giving birth to the couple's three children, she's done very little acting.

Now, she's returning to the spotlight in Tidelands, Australia's first original Netflix series.

Tidelands is set in the small fishing village of Orphelin Bay, where a clandestine drug-smuggling operation thrives.

Elsa plays Adrielle, the leader of a commune known as Tidelanders. The Tidelanders are half-human and half-siren – sexy, with supernatural powers.

The actress as the mysterious Adrielle in *Tidelands*.
The actress as the mysterious Adrielle in Tidelands.

In a candid interview with TV WEEK on the Queensland set of Tidelands, Elsa reveals that Chris is glad she's gone back to her acting career. Not only that, it's given their relationship a boost.

"He's happy that I'm working," Elsa, 42, says.

"I think it gives, like, another relationship between us. It's been all this time just talking about kids and everything. Now, we can talk again about what we do and how it inspires us – teaching each other, or talking to each other about the scenes."

Elsa says her return to acting has taken the couple back to the early days of their relationship when both were on the brink of hitting the Hollywood big time.

Elsa was about to become part of the massive Fast And The Furious franchise. Meanwhile, Chris, seven years her junior, was soon to take on the iconic role of Thor in the Marvel blockbusters.

"It just brings back when we met each other and that was part of our relationship," Elsa says.

"It's brought a lot again to us, and more fun. I think it's great. When you are just a mother, it's amazing. It fulfils you in so many ways. But I think this is my passion and this is what I love to do. So it makes me happy."

Elsa says the role has bought more fun into her and Chris's marriage.
Elsa says the role has bought more fun into her and Chris's marriage.

For Elsa, taking on the role of Adrielle in Tidelands was a big deal. It's an eight-part series, and her children – India, six, and four-year-old twins Tristan and Sasha – were not used to her being away from them.

But what won her over was that Tidelands was filmed on locations in south-east Queensland, not far from the family's home in Byron Bay.

"I was just so intrigued to just see if I could work again," Elsa explains.

"My dream was having something close to my house and my kids, so I wouldn't have to move them around. So it was like a dream to have this project come to my hands. It was the right moment, the right place. The stars got in line. It's like, 'This is for you now. This is a present for you right now, because you've been a good mum,' I guess!"

Elsa took a break from acting after daughter India was born.
Elsa took a break from acting after daughter India was born.

That's not to say that Elsa's kids were thrilled with her taking on the role.

"They're not that happy, because I have to go [to work] and they're not used to it," she admits.

"But it's funny. I've told them the nice part of playing a siren, because I can have these long nails, because she's half an animal and she's kind of a mermaid. They're like, 'Oh, wow!' They got interested and they're like, 'I wanna see it, I wanna see it!'"

Elsa might wait several years before she shows them the series though. The Tidelanders are very comfortable with their bodies, in an eye-opening way.

"Part of the story is the sexuality of these Tidelanders, because they use it a lot," Elsa says.

"It's their power. It's really important, and the fact that they don't care about their bodies, you have to show that. But it's not excessive, I think, and that was one of the things that worried me in the beginning, just not to get to that cliché. I think it shows it when it has to be shown."

Elsa dazzles as Adrielle in *Tidelands.*
Elsa dazzles as Adrielle in Tidelands.

Elsa loves the supernatural powers that Adrielle possesses. She admits that her husband's god of thunder in movies such as Thor: Ragnarok proved a revelation.

"I got really inspired by him, for sure," she says.

"And his movies have inspired me. I think that character that Cate Blanchett played [Hela, the goddess of death] in the last story was amazing."

For Elsa, the Tidelands role is a welcome chance to show her acting range. The granddaughter of a Romanian theatre actor, she grew up dreaming of following in his footsteps.

She studied journalism at university in Madrid, but took acting classes on the side. Soon after, acting became her career.

Elsa starred in a string of Spanish TV series and movies before moving to the US. There, she appeared in Snakes On A Plane, prior to being cast in Fast Five as Brazilian cop Elena Neves.

"It's such a huge franchise and the character was pretty limited, in a way," she says.

"So being able to do something totally opposite and different, that's what inspires actors. You don't get stuck in something."

The actress as the mysterious Adrielle in *Tidelands.*
The actress as the mysterious Adrielle in Tidelands.

As the interview wraps up, we take the chance to show Elsa a different side to her husband. It's a TV WEEK cover from 2005, featuring Chris as Kim Hyde in Home And Away. Elsa looks at the cover and bursts out laughing.

"Oh, my God, that's so funny!" she says.

"Thirteen years ago… it's amazing! That's crazy. He looks like a little boy! I always laugh about his hair. Like, 'What is that hair?'"

Chris Hemsworth's vintage TV WEEK cover with Bec Hewitt.
Chris Hemsworth's vintage TV WEEK cover with Bec Hewitt.

The interview over, Elsa takes the cover home to show Chris… who might, one day sometime soon, find himself known as the husband of the talented Elsa Pataky.

Tidelands premieres December 14th on Netflix.

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