The path toward superstardom for Chris Hemsworth is about to take him into the murky depths of Spielberg-world.
Chris Hemsworth almost managed to do something that only Tobey Maguire and maybe one or two others have pulled off so far: make the hero of a comic book movie as interesting as the villain. Hemsworth's near-achievement is actually more impressive than Maguire's since Tom Hiddleston's Loki is a villain of momentous achievement. Any actor who could come as close as Hemsworth did to taking "Thor" away from Hiddleston's Loki is definitely one to watch.
Unfortunately, Joss Whedon almost wasted Hemsworth's talents in "The Avengers" and it is a testament to the talents of Hemsworth and Hiddleston that they both managed to survive the indignity done to their characters with their own dignity intact. Watching "The Avengers" really makes you appreciate the difference between a technology-driven director and a performance-driven director.
Which brings us back to Steven Spielberg who has decided he wants Chris Hemsworth as the lead in "Robopocalypse." Spielberg has proven himself to be a combination of the technology-driven and performance-driven director. His films are always brilliantly cinematic and a look back at them can reveal a surprising amount of truly magnificent performances. From two of the greatest and most highly acclaimed performances of all time by Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes in "Schindler's List" to the increasingly iconic performance of Robert Shaw revealing his character's history as a member of the crew of the Indianapolis to a strangely overlooked highlight in the career of Tom Cruise as he fights to save his family from Martians, Spielberg's movies are a showcase of fine acting.
What is distressing in regard to the casting of Hemsworth is that Spielberg also has a history of killing careers. Not directly, of course, but many terrific performances that seemed to be the start of a long career turned out to be the last great thing those actors ever did. Henry Thomas' friendship with an ugly alien still stands as one of the most impressive performances ever given by a kid and Thomas' lack of a career follow-up is just as bewildering as the fact that Drew Barrymore is still a star.
In the wake of its sequels, Karen Allen's performance as Indiana Jones' first love has only gotten more impressive. Jones proved in the last Indy film that she still has that spunky spark that makes her such an integral element in the original's success, yet her career failed to take off.
Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum were already established actors when they starred in what briefly became the number one box office hit of all time. Talent plus visibility tends to equal stardom, yet while all three have continued to turn in quality work, none were able to take advantage of the opportunity to establish themselves on the A-list the way that Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet did when "Titanic" took the top spot away from "Jurassic Park."
It is to be hoped that Chris Hemsworth avoids the fate experienced by some other actors who took on lead roles in big movies directed by Steven Spielberg.
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