AAP Entertainment

Chris Hemsworth goes bad at the El Royale

By AAP Newswire

The world has become accustomed to watching Chris Hemsworth as a hammer throwing superhero in Marvel blockbusters or as the golden boy in other Hollywood dramas and comedies.

In his new film, the thriller Bad Times at the El Royale, the Australian takes on a different role.

He still spends plenty of time shirtless, but instead of the hero he is a violent, villainous cult leader causing mayhem in California in 1969.

Think a good-looking, statuesque Charles Manson type without the beady eyes and facial swastika tattoo.

Hemsworth's co-stars are an ensemble of Hollywood icons and newcomers, led by Oscar winner Jeff Bridges as a mysterious priest, Jon Hamm (vacuum cleaner salesman), Dakota Johnson (troublemaker) and Tony Award-winning English actress Cynthia Erivo (struggling singer).

The film is set in the El Royale, a once-glorious casino resort literally built on the California-Nevada border, with guests given the option to staying in rooms in either state.

Despite Hemsworth's character raising hell, the cast says when the cameras paused the Australian instantly switched back to his good-natured blokey self.

"He is such a great actor and a wonderful person and so much fun to work with," Johnson, the star of the 50 Shades of Grey films, told AAP.

"He came to set and brought a totally different vibe.

"I think his first day was when we were filming the big roulette table scene, it was really intense and everyone was struggling in that moment so he had to bear the pressure of keeping everyone uplifted."

Erivo, the Broadway and West End star who steals scenes in the film with her singing voice and portrayal of her down-on-her-luck character, caught Hemsworth singing a little in between scenes.

She thinks he could have a music career if he gets bored with his acting, which Forbes estimated earned him $US31 million last year thanks largely to his portrayal of Marvel's Thor.

"You know what?" Erivo said.

"He doesn't think he's a good singer and he would only sing a couple of notes and be really shy about it, but actually I think he has potential.

"He just has to practice.

"I promised him I would do some lessons with him because I think he can sing.

"He just doesn't know it yet."

Bridges, a veteran of almost 100 films and the best actor Oscar winner in 2010 for Crazy Heart, joked about his Australian co-star.

"Yeah," Bridges said.

"I think if he loses a little weight and works out a little bit he's got some potential."

Bad Times at the El Royale is playing in Australia.