EXCLUSIVE: Luke Hemsworth Is Living His Dreams in the US -- and on TV
By Leena Tailor
As the first season of his breakthrough acting gig as security officer Ashley
Stubbs on HBO’s Westworlddraws
to a close, Australian hunk Luke Hemsworth has revealed how his
younger (and taller) brother, Chris, helped bring his Hollywood dreams to life.
While Luke -- the eldest
Hemsworth at 36 years old -- was acting long before Chris became Thor and Liam
starred in The Hunger Games franchise,
he sidelined his showbiz ambitions for the financial security of a flooring
business. That is, until Chris opened his eyes to the potential for success as
a full-time actor.
“Things happened for
Chris really early on,” Luke reflects while knocking back a Bloody Mary over
breakfast with ET in Los Angeles. Long before Westworld, the actor studied at the prestigious Australian National
Institute of Dramatic Art before playing footballer Nathan Tyson on the
long-running soap Neighbours, which
has produced a number of Aussie exports, including Margot Robbie, Kylie
Minogue, Chicago Fire’s Jesse Spencer
and singer Natalie Imbruglia. “For me, I did Neighbours, then my focus
changed. I wanted to have something that could provide money while still
allowing time for auditions. So, I learned the flooring business, started my
own, and in that time, got married and had a couple of kids.” (In 2007, Luke
married Samantha and the two have since had Alexandre, Ella, Holly and Harper
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“[Going to L.A.] was always a quiet burn in the
back of my mind,” he continues. “Then one day, around when Chris got Thor,
I went, ‘Maybe I can think about throwing everything into it again.’ Watching
him go through all that [early success] crystallized in my mind that it was
what I wanted to do. And that I couldn’t stay sanding floors for the rest of my
a young family to support, the decision to sell his successful business and
attempt another full-time foray into acting was a risky one. But following
small gigs in Australia, Chris once again helped Luke take the next major step:
moving to L.A.
trainer unable to join him on the London set of Thor: The Dark World, he
asked fitness fanatic Luke to take the gig.“I didn’t have any qualifications,
but I was always heavily into training, so it was a no-brainer for me,” Luke
says. “It was an amazing setup and allowed me to save enough money to come here
with my family, which was the next logical step. Without that, we just wouldn’t
have been able to afford to do it.”
moving to the U.S. with Samantha and their young kids, Luke quickly landed a
lead role on a pilot and soon learned the brutal uncertainty of pilot season. After
auditioning on a Thursday, he landed the gig and flew to Toronto for Monday’s
rehearsal, only to be fired on Tuesday for not being “authentic New York
enough.” Devastated, he contemplated returning to Australia.
absolutely gutting.” Luke recalls wandering alone around Toronto before Chris’
agent convinced him to get his head back in the game. “So I used it as
ammunition to say, ‘F**k you,’ and I worked harder and made myself ready for
the next thing.”
at the time,” he admits. “But it definitely made me stronger and it was
real-word stuff. Acting is not this pretty, lovely job where everything happens
beautifully and you walk away scot-free. You have to deal with a lot of pain,
anguish and bullsh*t.”
not to let one setback destroy his dreams, Luke eventually landed a role on Westworld opposite Jeffrey Wright, Evan
Rachel Wood and Anthony Hopkins. The J.J. Abrams-produced series
adapted from Michael Crichton’s 1973 film sees Luke playing a muscly employee
of a Western-themed park populated by androids.
two years to get from the pilot to this stage and it had its problems, but it’s
turned out alright!” he says of the ratings hit, which had a bumpy road to its
October premiere. Initially filmed in 2014, the show’s debut was planned for
2015 before being pushed back to 2016. Earlier this year, production was halted
so that creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy could finish writing the last four
episodes. “All the signs were there it would succeed and the material is so
role has thrust him into a new spotlight beyond being “the other Hemsworth,” Luke
is reluctantly learning to embrace the attention and interviews. “I don’t like
talking about myself!” he says, relieved he’s not subject to the same level of
media interest that 26-year-old Liam attracts, largely due to his relationship
with Miley Cyrus.
biggest lesson from witnessing Liam’s experience with fame is to “just focus on
the work.” He also credits having an established personal life with availing
him of potential celebrity pitfalls, like paparazzi attention and Hollywood
probably saved me for sure,” he says. “I’m not going out to clubs and all that.
I have a routine and life that I stick to and that helps normalize it, because
it’s not a normal job. And the kids are the most important thing. Nothing else
matters. I exist to make sure that they exist well, and it’s hard to do that
when you’re doing all that other crazy stuff in Hollywood. I live by the beach,
go surfing, take walks, get coffee and do really boring stuff most of the time.
We have the occasional party with gold horses!”
a father of four, Luke also spends time throwing barbecues on his balcony and
surfing or working out in his home gym -- aptly dubbed the “Hemsworth Iron
Temple” -- with Liam. The Hemsworth brothers are also preparing to celebrate
Christmas in Los Angeles, having spent past holidays in Australia.
what does a Hemsworth family Christmas look like? “Chaos!” laughs Luke. “It’ll
be absolute chaotic because there are so many kids now. And loud … Australian
Christmases are very loud! We’ll all be here, so it’ll be a lot of fun.”