Christian Bale knew he couldn’t go up against Chris Hemsworth in the gym department.
The “Thor: Love and Thunder” co-stars may battle each other onscreen, with Bale as Gorr the God Butcher and Hemsworth reprising his role of the titular Nordic god superhero Thor, but actor Bale gave up on looking menacingly buff before even joining the production.
“There’s no point in working out at all because you can’t compete with Chris,” Bale told The Wrap.
The Oscar winner added that writer/director Taika Waititi gave him comic books featuring Gorr the God Butcher to read in preparation for playing the villain. Yet one aspect of the intergalactic baddie stood out to Bale: his costume.
“I did have a look briefly and said, ‘He’s got a G-string on. Nobody wants to see me like that,” Bale joked. “He was also crazy musclebound in the comics. And I was in the middle of making another film where I was really quite skinny. Dude, nobody wants to see me in a G-string.”
However, co-star Natalie Portman noted that Bale was still terrifying as Gorr, even without the muscle mass.
“He has a very, very, very scary look, in addition to, of course, his excellent acting,” Portman previously told Total Film via Insider. “But, on this one, in between, he’d be like, ‘Hey, what’s up?’ It was just a normal conversation, which was jarring, because he looked terrifying. Children would run screaming.”
Portman herself hit the gym hard to transform into Mighty Thor, the reincarnation of sorts for Portman’s original “Thor” character Jane Foster. Portman underwent conditioning and strength training for 10 months prior to filming to become as “big as possible” to wield Thor’s hammer. She even joined Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in the ice bath as a “test of strength,” according to Hemsworth.
“We had a big ice bath there, which we’d rotate through, and that became the real test of strength,” Hemsworth told Entertainment Tonight. “I’d done it a bit, but I sort of was keeping my time in there to a minute or two, and [Tessa] came in the first day and did three and a half minutes. So then we all had to try and do three minutes.”
Hemsworth applauded Portman’s dedication to the physicality of the role, adding, “She worked hard. I mean, she’s always had a great sort of physicality and has trained a lot through her career and through her life… but she lifted a lot more weights on this one to sort of sculpt her muscles and so on.”