Chris Hemsworth is that hero, on the big screen and in real life.
In his latest film In the Heart of the Sea the actor shines as the unwavering first mate of a whaling ship, battling through rough seas, harsh terrain and one giant, pesky sperm whale.
As a working-class man who refuses to compromise his ethics for success, Hemsworth carries the film.
The Australian actor has shown immense dedication to the role, whittling his body down to just 80kg to resemble the castaway character Owen Chase.
Hemsworth told Men’s Health magazine he had to lose the weight during the film’s production, so as to appear muscular in the beginning of the story.
“At one point, a day’s rations were a boiled egg, a couple of crackers and a celery stick. I reckon about 90 per cent of our conversations [on set] were about our favourite foods and what we would eat when we finished the film,” he said.
The Aussie took things a step further by equipping himself with the skills of a sailor. Glamour reported the actor spent two months sailing and learning how to throw harpoons.
Even off the silver screen the 32-year-old has proven himself to be an everyday hero worthy of the high-paying roles he attracts.
Hemsworth, who has a net worth of $60 million, has remained humble, relatable and true to his roots, something both refreshing and rare in an industry saturated with excess.
With classic good looks reminiscent of a young Clint Eastwood or Paul Newman, a commitment to his craft and a down-to-earth personality that cuts through the nonsense of Hollywood, Hemsworth is movie magic personified.
The father of three (he is married to Spanish actress Elsa Pataky) has already carried an entire franchise in the Thor films, but In the Heart of the Sea proves he has the acting chops to enjoy a career similar to predecessors like Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.
Based on a book of the same name, In the Heart of the Sea is a fictional adaption of the historical sinking of the American whaling ship Essex, a story which inspired the famous novel Moby Dick.
Set in 1820, the film follows Captain George Pollard Jr. (Benjamin Walker) and his first mate Owen Chase (Hemsworth), as the pair command a whaling voyage in search of oil supplies for the village of Nantucket.
But their voyage hits a road block when their ship is assaulted by a sperm whale, stranding Pollard and Chase’s crew for 90 days.
The story is told by an ageing Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) who explains his version of events to well-known author Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw), the man who would go on to write the real-life novel Moby Dick.
Nickerson is just a cabin boy when the story’s events take place and he reluctantly explains to Melville the horrors experienced by the crew.
Gleeson is another stand-out feature as the older cabin boy, as is Whishaw as real-life author Melville. Gleeson shows both conviction and trepidation telling the story to Whishaw, as he is reluctant to tell Whishaw of the horrors that took place decades prior.
Thanks to its elaborate, engrossing action scenes, the film is perhaps best seen in 3D. Watching the enraged sperm whale destroy the crew’s ship is a captivating affair that quickly becomes harrowing when the group becomes stranded on an island, forced to resort to unspeakable acts.
Director Ron Howard doesn’t shy away from portraying some more unsavoury elements in the story. Look out for some gritty scenes, including the disgusting insides of a gargantuan whale.
It’s a maritime disaster full of panic and despair, with a light at the end of the tunnel that is fittingly lacking in closure.
It’s also the cherry on top of Hemsworth’s journey to global superstardom.