Chris Hemsworth on his dance scene in Spiderhead: 'It opened a part of me I was unaware of'
Based on a short story by George Saunders, the dystopian thriller Spiderhead examines guilt, love, trauma, redemption, and the morality of using technology to manipulate human emotions. It also features star Chris Hemsworth grooving to Roxy Music's "More Than This" at the stylish minimum-security prison where the story is set. Clad in a maroon button-down and casually rolled pants, the bespectacled Thor actor twirls barefoot through the scene, equal parts slink and smarm.
"I'm building up quite a library of impromptu dance sequences in my cinema," says Hemsworth, who references his previous onscreen gyrations in 2016's Ghostbusters and 2018's Bad Times at the El Royale. "I'm a self-admitted bad dancer and I enjoy taking the piss out of myself."
Though he emphasizes that the scene was not choreographed ("No, no, no!"), nor particularly orchestrated by the film's director, Top Gun: Maverick's Joseph Kosinski, there was a method to Hemsworth's soft-rock-inflected madness. "It was another way of adding oddity to this individual," he says of his character, charismatic visionary Steve Abnesti, who runs the facility where prisoners, including Jeff (Miles Teller) and Rachel (Jurnee Smollett), live a relatively cushy life — as long as they participate in Abnesti's increasingly questionable experiments with emotion-altering drugs.
"Just when you think you have him pegged and pinned down, [the dance] was a chance to throw people a little bit more," says Hemsworth. "He's not a traditional hero nor a traditional villain, but you often don't get to see what those individuals do in their spare time. And this was, I think, a little doorway into his private life and his world, which then made everything else he was doing seem even more complicated."
As for the music, Hemsworth specifically requested Roxy Music's breezy 1982 hit. "That's one of my favorite songs," he says. "That album I love, and it's something my dad used to play, so there was a lot of nostalgia to it. I don't think I've ever danced quite like that to that song. It opened up a part of me I was unaware of."
Spiderhead debuts today on Netflix.