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Tragic Details About The Thor: Love & Thunder Cast

On July 8, Marvel's "Thor: Love and Thunder" adds even more crackling branches to the sizzling lightning bolt that is the hunky thunder god's saga. From his very first introduction in 2011's "Thor," Chris Hemsworth's Thor has been a non-stop source of electricity – and not just because of his godly might. The Australian actor's portrayal of the Asgardian warrior has energized audiences with its physicality, fury, funniness, and let's face it – physique. But for all that Thor has to celebrate, the character has even more to mourn. As he told Rocket Raccoon during "Infinity War," after losing his hammer, eye, brother, sister, father, mother, best friend, and girlfriend, "What more could I lose?"

Unfortunately, tragedy isn't unique to the fictional character, and the actors who bring Thor, Rocket, and many other beloved MCU heroes to life are themselves no strangers to hardship and loss. "Thor: Love and Thunder" features the biggest main cast of any movie in the god's solo series to date, and among that great cast, a great proportion of them have their own relationships with tragedy. Revealing the most human side to our favorite gods and monsters, here are some of the tragic details about the "Thor: Love and Thunder" cast.

Christian Bale can't watch The Dark Knight Rises

One of the most exciting additions to the "Thor: Love and Thunder" cast is Christian Bale in the role of the film's primary antagonist, Gorr the God Butcher. Director Taika Waititi claims that Gorr will be "the best villain that Marvel's ever had," and with Bale on the job, Waititi may just be right. Aside from being an Oscar-winner and all-around master actor, Bale has already turned in three choice performances in superhero films, namely Batman in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" trilogy. Unfortunately, the premiere of the trilogy's third installment, "The Dark Knight Rises" was tainted by unimaginable tragedy, leaving Bale unable to watch the movie to this day.

Appearing on the "Happy Sad Confused" podcast, Bale was asked about his reflections on his time as Batman, and the actor admitted that the films have been so thoroughly tainted for him that he can't even watch them. "Very sadly, I have not been able to watch ("The Dark Knight Rises") since because of the whole tragedy of Aurora," Bale revealed around the 37-minute mark. "And I have not been able to sit down and see it without thinking of that. And I'd love to be able to one day."

Chris Hemsworth's friend died from COVID

More than two years since the initial outbreak of COVID in early 2020, millions of people across the globe have lost family and friends, and unfortunately, "Thor: Love and Thunder" star Hemsworth counts himself among them. On March 31, 2020, longtime actor and dialect coach Andrew Jack passed away after contracting COVID-19, and multiple talents, including Hemsworth, immediately took to social media to mourn the passing of their friend and respected colleague.

In addition to other stars like Sean Astin, who tweeted a charming and poetic elegy to Jack, Hemsworth posted his own laments and revealed the profound effect that Jack had on his career. "Jack was a wonderful, kind, beautiful soul and I and many others will miss him greatly," Hemsworth captioned an Instagram post. "He... was beyond instrumental in helping shape me as an actor." Hemsworth's claim appears to be more than just humbling flattery, as even the briefest glance at Jack's official career page shows just how often the two worked together. The page lists five films that paired the two, including three of Hemsworth's turns as Thor, "Snow White and the Huntsman," and even "Men in Black: International."

Chris Pratt lost his father

One of the grimmest aspects of adulthood is that it forces an inevitable confrontation with mortality, and as time ticks by, the odds grow high and higher that the mortalities in question become your parents. Though we may be used to seeing them on the big screen as gods, aliens, or (in the case of Star-Lord) half-celestials, famous actors face the death of their parents just as the rest of us do. And again, just like the rest of us, tragedy's timing is never ideal. Sadly for Chris Pratt, he faced this issue during the filming of "Jurassic World," when his father passed away and Pratt was forced to make the difficult choice of staying on set.

Pratt and his father maintained a complicated relationship throughout much of Pratt's life. As the actor told GQ, "In his own way he let me know that he was proud of me. He didn't really react in any way, one way or another, but he was definitely proud." Pratt revealed that much of the distance between them was because his father "had lost interest in life" after his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. When Pratt received the news while filming "Jurassic World," he knew his duty to its large crew, saying "I was really responsible for everybody's attitude and so I compartmentalized it all and dealt with it in my own way."

Russel Crowe lost his father, too

We mentioned that Bale may be the most exciting addition to the "Thor: Love and Thunder" cast, but one of the top contenders for the most surprising addition has to be Russel Crow in the role of the Greek god of thunder Zeus. So not only does everyone's favorite god of the gales face competition in the form of Jane Foster, but he also has to contend with the greatest god in all the Greek pantheon. But unlike the Almighty Zeus, Crowe is but a mere mortal, and with that comes the requisite heartache. Just like Pratt, Crowe's heartache came in the form of his father passing away while completely unreachable by the actor.

Throughout much of the COVID outbreak in 2020 and 2021, Crowe elected to quarantine in the remote Australian bush with his two elderly parents for their protection. Due to their advanced age and declining health, the actor opted to spend his time tending to them as well as keeping them distant from potential outbreaks. That quality time only makes it more tragic that Crowe's father died away from his loved ones, after suffering a medical emergency while on a flight from Sydney to his home in Coffs Harbour.

Jaimie Alexander's broken back

It's been a long while since fans have had the chance to see the toughest, coolest battler of Asgard, Lady Sif, in the MCU. Aside from a brief cameo in "Loki" – not even in the main timeline – the warrior has been absent since 2013, in "Thor: The Dark World" (unless her 2014 and 2015 appearances in ABC's "Agents of SHIELD" end up being decisively canon). While the character has her own reasons for her absence from the most pressing goings-on in the MCU, her actor, Jaimie Alexander, has been gone for one very good reason: she's been busy. But being a consistently busy actor, especially one that does many of their own stunts, comes with a price. That price is workplace injuries, and Alexander has accrued more than her fair share.

While filming "Thor: The Dark World," Alexander was descending an exterior staircase at night in the rain, when she slipped and fell down the flight. In an interview with Page Six, she listed her major injuries, which sound horrific. "(I) slipped a disc in my thoracic spine and chipped 11 of my vertebrae," Alexander recalled. "I knocked my left shoulder out of place and tore my rhomboid on my right side." Luckily, she recovered and was back filming within a month.

The broken back strikes back

If you thought one cringe-inducing, multi-pronged injury was all that Alexander endured, think again. The actress and on-set injuries have actually had a long and storied relationship, meeting up time and again, never separating for too long (unlike her left shoulder). In particular, Alexander has run the injurious gamut while filming her hit crime thriller series "Blindspot," and when she stopped by Today, the actor took the opportunity to list an unbelievable amount of them.

When asked how many injuries she had sustained by then, Alexander actually called for a crew-member to bring her phone, as she keeps a running tally of them on the device. Among the many wounds were multiple ruptured discs and herniated discs, a dislocated shoulder and dislocated jaw, a broken nose, a broken finger, and many broken toes. Even more astounding than the injuries themselves were Alexander's two disclaimers about the list. For one thing, these were only injuries sustained while filming "Blindspot," and there were multiple other injuries that she was not allowed to list. For whatever reason, contractual or otherwise, Alexander began to say "pulmonary influ... ooh, I can't read those." Since that 2019 interview, Alexander has also torn her ACL and MCL, leading to a thankfully successful surgery.

Dave Bautista's rough childhood

Marvel fans will undoubtedly be aware that there is almost nothing that can harm Drax the Destroyer. The character is a warrior, born, raised, and by profession, and few but his sworn archenemy Thanos could ever match the Green Machine's might. Normally, this is where we'd write that Drax's real-world actor is not as stalwart, but in this case, he really is – former professional wrestler, MMA fighter, and all-around human tank Dave Bautista has little to fear from anyone. This wasn't always the case, though, and a young Bautista faced a seemingly inhuman amount of adversity before making it – and himself – big.

In a candid interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Bautista revealed some of his childhood hardships, including an absentee father, a mother who was partially disowned by her family, extreme poverty, and daily exposure to the notoriously dangerous "murder capital" that was his home city of Washington D.C. in the '80s. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the next phase of Bautista's life was dominated by his own need to become strong and protect others. He became so addicted to the gym, what he referred to as a "reverse anorexia," that he again fell into poverty. Luckily, he found his path forward by training to become a professional wrestler – an endeavor that clearly paid off.

Heath Ledger's death hit two Thor actors differently

With Bale a part of the "Thor: Love and Thunder" cast, and with the film the actor's first appearance in a major superhero franchise since "The Dark Knight" trilogy, it would be almost impossible not to mention the untimely passing of Bale's "The Dark Knight" costar, Heath Ledger. Ledger's brief career in Hollywood was already chock full of memorable performances by the time of his death, but undoubtedly, his take on the Joker in the "The Dark Knight" – sublime enough to even earn him a posthumous Oscar – will forever leave his most indelible mark. Ledger's tragic death hit Bale understandably hard – as Bale and Ledger had worked so closely together for so long, and because Bale felt that Ledger was "something of a kindred spirit," the loss was gutting.

But even the most tragic events ramify in many directions, and so Ledger's death, in at least one way, actually led to another actor's fortune. The actor is Bradley Cooper, who revealed during his SAG Conversation interview, "Neil Burger had this movie called Dark Fields and I auditioned for it... Heath Ledger was going to do it but then he passed away and they changed it to "Limitless." They took a chance and cast me." Alongside "The Hangover," "Limitless" was Cooper's big break, and without it, Rocket Raccoon might have sounded entirely different.

Chris Pratt's son was born prematurely

Like Bale, Pratt has the dubious distinction of being included in this list twice. Not only did his father pass away, prompting the aforementioned maelstrom of conflicting and confusing emotions, but just two years previously, his first child was born dangerously prematurely – enough to cause the infant and his mother, actor Anna Faris, serious and prolonged health problems.

As Pratt revealed at the March of Dimes Celebration of Babies Hollywood Luncheon, his son Jack was initially due in October. Instead, Faris woke up to her water breaking in August – a full two-and-a-half months premature. It wasn't until a week later, during which time Faris was laid up in the hospital, that Jack was born, weighing only 3 pounds and 10 ounces. Both Pratt and Faris have recounted the extreme amount of special care that young Jack needed in the months following his birth. He spent a month in NICU, the neonatal intensive care unit, where he was kept fed and healthy via a feeding tube and IVs – one of which, as Pratt said, ran up all the way into the infant's heart. Jack was also jaundiced and required prolonged phototherapy.

Why Natalie Portman felt unsafe

Undoubtedly, the most triumphant moments from the first "Thor: Love and Thunder" trailers involve Jane Foster's long-awaited return to the MCU, wielding Mjolnir, and presumably taking on the mantle of Thor. In short: Foster, the once bookish scientist, is now a buff super-heroine with all the might of a god. But, for all Foster's newfound power and poise, her real-life counterpart, Natalie Portman, spent a great deal of her young life dealing with insecurity, loss, and even mortal fear as a result of her work as a child star and the inappropriate sexualization that came with it, according to People.

Portman's first-ever role was unusually high profile – alongside Gary Oldman and Jean Reno, she starred in "Léon: The Professional." She was only 12 when the film was released and quickly learned that her heightened profile has made her a target. As she put it while appearing on the "Armchair Expert" podcast, she said, "I understood very quickly... that if I were to express myself sexually I would feel unsafe."

To compensate, Portman "start(ed) choosing parts that were less sexy because it made me worried about the way I was perceived and how safe I felt." As she recounted during a speech at the L.A. Women's March, due to her profound strength and fierce intelligence, Portman was eventually able to rise above the impropriety and become a powerful actor, unafraid to tackle whatever role she chose – and luckily for us fans, that includes "Thor: Love and Thunder."