Alan Ritchson Recalls Losing Role of Thor to Chris Hemsworth Because He Didn't Take It 'Seriously'

The 'Reacher' star reveals that he auditioned for the hammer-wielding God of Thunder and why it went wrong.

If things had gone differently for Alan Ritchson, Marvel fans would be calling him the God of Thunder. In an interview for Men's Health's upcoming March cover story, the Reacher star, 41, revealed that among the many notable superhero and action-hero roles he auditioned for throughout his career, he went up for the role of Marvel's Thor.

When recounting his audition for the 2011 film that introduced Thor to Marvel's evolving Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ritchson admits that because of his appearance, he figured he'd be a shoo-in for the lead and didn't give the audition his all.

"I didn't take it seriously," Ritchson recalls of the audition. "I was like, 'They'll throw me the part if I look like the guy; nobody really cares about acting.'" The casting team later told the actor's reps that Ritchson hadn't shown that he had "the craft," a fumble he admits to being tormented by for several years.

As all comic book movie fans know well by now, the role ultimately went to then-newcomer Chris Hemsworth, who last portrayed the Norse God in 2022's Thor: Love and Thunder.

Marvel Studios

As for Ritchson, he's become a familiar face for avid TV watchers who have spotted the actor as Aquaman on Smallville in 2005 before Justin Hartley took over the recurring role later in the series. He nabbed a multi-season run on the Spike TV sitcom Blue Mountain State, made brief appearances on several major series, including Black Mirror, New Girl, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and starred as Hank Hall/Hawk in Titans before landing his leading role in Reacher.

"I had about 50 offers the weekend after season 1 of Reacher opened," Ritchson says. "I knew my life had changed."

AB+DM/Men's Health

But even with the success of the Prime Video series, the actor tells Men's Health that he knows better than to trust the often fickle nature of Hollywood. "The industry's funny. It can't be relied on. You have to be very patient with it," Ritchson states.

There are other matters that the actor has his focus on, including learning to manage his bipolar disorder during his everyday life and even at work.

Ritchson was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 36, and the star shares that he sees a psychiatrist who tries to detect any symptoms every week, while his wife of nearly 20 years, Catherine Ritchson, and his assistant, who both have a deep understanding of the disorder, know what to look for and how to help manage any episodes. 

Explaining that he experiences more manic episodes than depressive periods, Ritchson says that he can exhibit symptoms on set in problematic ways.

"When I'm feeling depressed, it doesn't really matter, because I am so focused at work. I could go weeks without people even knowing I feel a certain way," he shares. "When I'm manic and I feel like something isn't living up to its best potential, it usually comes out in a very -- not in a mean way -- but in a 'this has to be better' way. Like a very, almost obsessive 'this has to be better.'"

Ritchson reveals that his episodes previously led to the show's stunt coordinator resigning after the first season because he felt the star was being too reckless and wasn't following his instructions. He recalls that when the coordinator didn't want him to do a fight scene, he would refuse to leave the set. Per Men's Health, the coordinator ultimately agreed to return to the show.

AB+DM/Men's Health

While it may seem like an overwhelming obstacle to his work, Ritchson says he's found a greater purpose in talking about his mental health on his YouTube channel. He hopes that sharing his experiences can make others feel less alone in their own tunnels of mental illness, in the way that doing so has pulled him out of periods of suicidal ideation.

It also helps that he has built a loving life outside of acting with his wife and their three sons.

In a post shared to Instagram on Valentine's Day, the actor shared a sweet poem for Catherine alongside a photo of the two on their wedding day.

"My beautiful bride. Happy day of love. You give my life meaning and purpose beyond the temporary and entertaining," he wrote. "You reach past important and stretch my soul towards essential. I've felt eternity on your lips and known forever in your embrace. I will forever and always be your servant. Happy Valentine's Day."

"Can't wait to remind you of this poem after our next argument!!!!!" Catherine hilariously responded in the post's comments.

Ritchson's cover story will be available when Men's Health's March-April issue hits newsstands on March 5.


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