Chris Hemsworth he embarked on a personal and physically demanding journey for his new series “Limitless” that ultimately led to a sobering discovery.
The 39-year-old “Thor” actor learns in an episode of the Disney+/National Geographic limited series, which shows him exploring ways to increase his longevity and combat aging, that he has two copies of the APOE4 gene, one of each of their parents. , which means that he has a greater predisposition to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
“They took all my bloodwork and did a bunch of tests and the plan was to tell me all the results on camera and then talk about how you can improve this and that,” Hemsworth shared with vanity fair in an article published Thursday. And Peter Attia, who is the longevity doctor in that episode and oversees a lot of the show, called [“Limitless” creator] darren [Aronofsky] and said, ‘I don’t want to say this to the camera. We need to have a conversation outside of the game and see if he wants this on the show. It was pretty shocking because he called me and he told me.”
Upon hearing the news, Hemsworth said he “had a ton of questions,” later adding that he “didn’t really know what to think.” I was like, ‘Am I supposed to be worried? Is this concerning?’”
He also said that the show then “became even more relevant and important to me, even more moving than I ever thought it would be”, adding that APOE4 “is not a predeterministic gene, but it is a strong indication. Ten years ago, I think it was considered more decisive.”
The new information, which Hemsworth says makes him “eight to 10 times more likely” to eventually develop Alzheimer’s disease, naturally made him reflect on death and his own mortality.
“There was an intensity to navigate it. Most of us like to avoid talking about death in the hope of avoiding it somehow,” he told Vanity Fair. “We all have this belief that we will figure it out. Then all of a sudden I’m told that some major indicators actually point to this as the route that’s going to happen, reality sinks in.”
“Limitless,” which sees the Marvel star engaging in various stunts and practices to prolong and enhance his life, actually tries to face death in the final episode.
“I think that’s my favorite episode. That’s where I worked with the death doula and people who work in hospice and end-of-life care and then talked to a number of people who were at or nearing the end of their lives, even people younger than They were diagnosed with cancer and did not have long to live,” he shared.
“Doing an episode about death and facing your own mortality made me go, ‘Oh, gosh, I’m not ready to go yet,’” he added later. “I want to sit and be in this space with a greater sense of stillness and gratitude. And then you start talking about kids and family and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re getting older, they’re growing up, and I keep slapping another movie on top of another movie. Before you know it, they’re 18 and they’ve moved house, and I missed the window.”
In preparing the show for air, Hemsworth also mentioned that he was “offered a version of the episode where we didn’t talk about [his discovered genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s]”, but that the prospect of helping others helped him overcome any doubts.
“I thought, ‘No, look, if this is a motivator for people to take better care of themselves and also understand that there are steps you can take, then great.’ My concern was that I just didn’t want to manipulate it and over-dramatize it, and turn it into some kind of empathy hogwash or whatever to entertain myself.”
Hemsworth, who most recently appeared as the MCU’s God of Thunder in his fourth solo outing in this summer’s “Thor: Love and Thunder,” will appear in another sequel, next year’s “Extraction 2.” He’s also wrapping up a yet-to-be-revealed role in 2024’s “Furiosa,” co-starring Anya Taylor-Joy, set in the “Mad Max” universe.