Since finding much success in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Chris Hemsworth has gone on to headline several projects outside of the comics world. For instance, he has a current deal with Netflix that has led to the release of films like Extraction, Interceptor (where he made a brief cameo), and Spiderhead (where he flew a plane for real). More recently, he’s also working on the National Geographic docuseries Limitless.
Created by Oscar nominee Darren Aronofsky, Limitless sees Hemsworth push himself to the limit in the hopes of unlocking the secrets to longevity. And while the actor expected to make a lot of eye-opening discoveries while filming the show, he never expected to learn that he has an increased risk for Alzheimer’s too.
Chris Hemsworth Could Have Kept His Alzheimer’s Discovery Off The Show
Hemsworth got unexpected news while working on his latest project, and it unfolds during the fifth episode of Limitless entitled Memory. First, the actor had some bloodwork done, and then, he would get his results on camera.
That’s when it’s revealed to Hemsworth that he has two copies of a gene known as APOE4, a set from each of his parents. That means he is eight to 10 times more at risk for Alzheimer’s than others.
As it turns out, however, Hemsworth had a choice not to include any of this in the series. “Peter Attia, who is the longevity doctor in that episode, and overseeing a lot of the show, called [show creator] Darren and said, ‘I don’t want to tell him this on camera. We need to have an off-side conversation and see if he even wants this to be in the show,’” he recalled.
“It was pretty shocking because he called me up and he told me.”
Ultimately, however, Hemsworth decided to include it. He believed it was important. “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 fantastic.’”
Since His Alzheimer’s Discovery, He Admits There ‘An Intensity To Navigating It’ At First
Though Hemsworth wasn’t diagnosed with anything, learning of his increased risk for Alzheimer’s still proved to be tough to come to terms with, especially in the beginning.
“Yeah, there was an intensity to navigating it,” the actor admitted. “Most of us, we like to avoid speaking about death in the hope that we’ll somehow avoid it. We all have this belief that we’ll figure it out. Then to all of a sudden be told some big indicators are actually pointing to this as the route which is going to happen, the reality of it sinks in. Your own mortality. “
But then, it also wasn’t a total surprise since Hemsworth has long been aware that Alzheimer’s runs in the family since his grandfather has been diagnosed with the disease.
“I haven’t seen him in a few years, but my other family members have and there’s some days where he’s quite joyful and gives you a big hug,” the actor shared.
“I’m not sure he actually remembers much anymore and he slips in and out of Dutch, which is his original language…”
Chris Hemsworth Is More Positive Now, Though The Show ‘Triggered’ Him To Take Some Time Off
Since discovering his increased risk for Alzheimer’s, Hemsworth has chosen to look at things positively. For starters, he believes this is an opportunity for him to be able to make even more improvements in his health and lifestyle.
“If you look at Alzheimer’s prevention, the benefit of preventative steps is that it affects the rest of your life,” he explained. “When you have preposition to cardiovascular heart disease, cancer, anything—it’s all about sleep management, stress management, nutrition, movement, fitness. It’s all kind of the same tools that need to be applied in a consistent way.”
At the same time, since working on the show, Hemsworth has also realized that he ought to take some time off more. “It really triggered something in me to want to take some time off,” the actor said. And while he’s busy with commitments he was “already contracted to do,” Hemsworth plans to slow down afterward.
“Now when I finish this tour this week, I’m going home and I’m going to have a good chunk of time off and just simplify. Be with the kids, be with my wife.” Dr. Attia also revealed that Hemsworth has never had more than four to six weeks off for the past six years.
Will Chris Continue Acting After This Revelation?
To be clear, Hemsworth isn’t contemplating early retirement. For starters, he’s got at least two films coming up (Extraction 2 and Furiosa). At the same time, Hemsworth also revealed that he’s got a working partnership with National Geographic, so this is likely not the last docuseries you’ll be seeing from him. “The plan is I’d like to do more in the documentary space as well, “Hemsworth confirmed.
The actor is also ready to suit up as Thor again if the MCU needs him. “Look, I’m completely open to it, if there is something unique and fresh and unexpected to do with the character and the world,” he explained.
At the same time, Hemsworth may just work with Aronofsky again, although it would most likely be a completely different project. “Well I hope to do many, many things with Chris over my life,” the director said. “I think Chris is probably Limitless-ed out at this point…” In case the actor is not though, Aronofsky is “totally game” for Limitless season 2 too.