Would you prefer Chris Hemsworth nimbly sprinting or wearily gazing? No need to choose, you can have both with two new images from the leading man’s slate of early 2015 projects. In a still from Michael Mann’s “Black Hat,” he looks dapper in a bulletproof vest as he presumably gives chase to malignant international cyber criminals, while in an image from Ron Howard’s “Heart of the Sea,” he is cologne ad-worthy, making us worry slightly less about the period piece’s appeal to the masses.
If you haven’t been keeping up, “Black Hat” is the next project from hugely respected auteur Mann, who hasn’t directed a film since 2009’s gangster drama “Public Enemies.” Hemsworth plays a furloughed convict who teams with Chinese and American partners to hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta. The January 16 release date gave us pause, signifying a lack of Academy Awards ambition, but there’s also talk of a limited release sometime before the new year that would let it qualify.
But what’s it really about? “It’s about a blackhat hacker who has done four years of a 15-year sentence in federal prison,” Michael Mann told Empire. “He is given a last chance at freedom if he can identify, locate and apprehend a cybercriminal at work doing large-scale crime for profit somewhere in the world. In the process they’ve caused the meltdown of a nuclear reactor, but no one knows what their big hit is, or who they are or where they are.” The cyberpunk in questions is, of course, Hemsworth. Viola Davis, Holt McCallany, John Ortiz, Wei Tang and more co-star.
“Heart of the Sea” finds Hemsworth reuniting with his “Rush” director Howard in an entirely different sort of film, one based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s book about the true events that inspired Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” Hemsworth stars as the first mate of a crew that was stranded at sea for 90 days and resorted to cannibalism for survival after being stalked and attacked by a sperm whale. It’s potentially gruesome stuff, so this image of a brooding, windswept Hemsworth is an interesting contrast. Set in the 1800s, the film drops March 13, and costars Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson and Tom Holland.
“Black Hat” opens January 16, 2015 and “Heart of The Sea” sails into port on March 13, 2015. Photos via the latest issue of Empire.