Thor: Love and Thunder star Chris Hemsworth is taking a break from acting.
A recent episode of Limitless revealed that Hemsworth is genetically pre-disposed to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
“It’s not a pre-deterministic gene, but it is a strong indication,” he said. “Ten years ago, I think it was more thought of as determinant.” Essentially, his genetic makeup includes two copies of the APOE4 gene – one from his mother and another from his father. This combination reportedly leads to an increased Alzheimer’s risk.
“It’s not like I’ve been handed my resignation,” he added, but the Marvel star will be taking a break for a short while after the experience of filming the series forced him to confront his own mortality in a number of ways.
“It really triggered something in me to want to take some time off,” he explained. “And since we finished the show, I’ve been completing the things I was already contracted to do. 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.”
Limitless is a six-part TV show for National Geographic (available on Disney+) that sees Hemsworth explore the full potential of the human body, with episodes devoted to the science of longevity.
But when Disney offered to remove the scenes where Hemsworth discovers his Alzheimer’s predisposition, the actor refused.
“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,” said Hemsworth. “My concern was I just didn’t want to manipulate it and overdramatize it and make it into some sort of hokey grab at empathy or whatever for entertainment.”
Throughout the series, Hemsworth strives to master different ways to slow the aging process and improve his health in later life.
“I think one of the beautiful things about the show is how open Chris is throughout it,” said director Darren Aronofsky in an interview with IGN. “He was really vulnerable, and he really gave a lot of focus to it and a lot of access to it, and it’s rare that you find a movie star who is so willing to be human.”
Limitless is available now on Disney+.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.