After a career “sprint” of 10+ years, actor Chris Hemsworth is ready to slow down. The actor has announced in a new interview with Vanity Fair that he’ll be taking “some time off,” following the revelation while filming his Disney+ original series Limitless that he has a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s.
This discovery was just the most potent of a series of moments during production forcing the actor to face “the reality” of his own mortality. “It really triggered something in me to want to take some time off. And since we finished the show, I’ve been completing the things I was already contracted to do,” revealed Hemsworth. “Now when I finish this [press] 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.”
Hemsworth’s medical reveal comes in the fifth episode of Limitless, which debuted in full on Disney+ on Wednesday. The specifics of the diagnosis, per Vanity Fair, are as follows: “His makeup includes two copies of the gene APOE4, one from his mother, the other from his father, which studies have linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. One in four people carry a single copy of the gene, but only 2 to 3% of the population have both, according to a 2021 study by the National Institutes of Health.”
Hemsworth stressed in the interview that he’s not been given “a hard diagnosis” of Alzheimer’s, even if the double occurrence of APOE4 is indeed “cause for concern,” clarifying that “it’s not like I’ve been handed my resignation” from acting. Still, the actor, whose grandfather has the illness progressively affecting memory, is now 8-10 times more likely to develop it.
He noted during the Vanity Fair interview that Disney discussed with him the idea of omitting his diagnosis from Limitless, though he in the end insisted it be reflected in the final cut. “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,” he remarked. “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.”
The other silver lining to the Alzheimer’s revelation for Hemsworth is that he now can take concrete “preventative steps,” being even more cognizant of his sleep, fitness, nutrition and stress levels to minimize the potential that he will one day develop the disease. “For me, the positive of it was like, ‘Right, if I didn’t know this [Alzheimer’s] information, I wouldn’t have made the changes I made,’” the actor said. “I just wasn’t aware of any of it, so now I feel thankful that I have in my arsenal the sort of tools to best prepare myself and prevent things happening in that way.”
Hesmworth’s series created by Darren Aronofsky for Disney+ examines the new scientific research that is shattering conventional wisdom about the human body, offering fascinating insights into how we can all unlock our body’s superpowers to fight illness, perform better and even reverse the aging process. This science is put to the test by Hemsworth, who, despite being in peak superhero condition, is on a personal mission to learn how to extend our health, strength and intellect further into our later years.
The actor most recently reprised his MCU role as Thor for Thor: Love and Thunder and will next be seen in the Mad Max prequel Furiosa and Netflix’s Extraction 2 — projects on which he’s already wrapped production. How long his professional hiatus will last is not yet clear.