Elsa Pataky, 45, may be married to Thor star Chris Hemsworth, 38, but he's not the only big-screen hero in their house anymore, with the Spanish-born star finally achieving her childhood dream of leading an action film.
Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle ahead of the release of her new Netflix film Interceptor, Elsa shared why it was a dream come true for her to play badass Army Caption JJ Collins.
"I love action movies, I mean, I grew up with them. My dad watched them with me," she told us. "I dreamed [of being] a female version of Indiana Jones my whole life."
"And I've done like, you know, the Fast and Furious [movies], it was like a little bit of action, but I never did much in it. So, it was an amazing opportunity to just enjoy and do something as a strong independent, fierce, doesn't-give-up lead action hero, you know."
She also added that she loved the story, with JJ having previously experienced sexual assault within the army and then being stationed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in charge of a nuclear missile interceptor base.
JJ soon finds herself under attack by a former US military intelligence officer Alexander Kessel (Luke Bracey), attempting to carry out an unthinkable plan.
"The way that she reacts to all this situation is because she's been through a lot, and this time she's not gonna give up," Elsa explains.
Speaking of her physical transformation for the role, Elsa shared that it was very tough, "It was pretty intense and challenging at the same time, because... I wanted to physically look like a US Army woman because they have to go through so much training, and you see them, and they're like badass. So I just wanted to portray that in the same way."
Elsa shared that she wanted to be as strong as she could and create big muscular arms, "It took us like a while, it was like four or five months of training really hard, changing all my diet and doing like military training."
The star said she trained in ways she'd never done previously, describing it as "challenging and enjoyable".
"I loved it, and I loved the transformation... But yeah, I have to say that it was just hard!"
Speaking of the fight training she was also undergoing, she said memorising the choreography was incredibly challenging because if you messed up, you'd have to start all over again.
"I've seen Chris and how hard he works on these films and how much he puts in it, but I was like, 'Yeah, I want to do that too!'"
Elsa added that she even did most of her own stunts, including a single-arm swinging scene that looked incredibly difficult.
"I tried to do everything I could that was not really dangerous, but the fights – I did them all!" she said. "It was more things like going through windows that I had an amazing stunt team that helped me."
'So fun' to work with husband Chris Hemsworth
Chris worked as executive producer on the film and even had a small cameo, with Elsa saying it was "so fun" to work with her husband on the flick.
"Yeah, it was so fun because he knows about all these movies and how to do them, what is safe and what is not, and even how to punch the right way in front of the camera," she said. "It was good to have him with me, and he really supported me in that movie. He wanted me to do this movie and just kind of put it all together in a way and surrounded me by a really good team.
"Because it was my first real action, lead role, it was so good to have him holding my hand in a way."
The importance of her children seeing her in the film
Elsa said it was important for her 10-year-old daughter India and eight-year-old twin sons Sasha and Tristan to see her in the film to see that their mum can be a badass action hero, just like dad can.
"I felt like it was a good thing to show them because Chris has been the action man in the house, and you know they see more like as mum at home," she said. "So for me to show them that mum can do it too, and especially to be an inspiration for my daughter, you know, men can do these kinds of roles, but women, we can too!"
"Nothing can stop you!"
She added that when she was shooting this film, Chris was also working on Thor: Love and Thunder, and while they usually try not to work at the same time, it couldn't be avoided in this case, so they moved their family to Sydney for the duration of the shoots.
"It was hard for us because at the end we didn't see them that much, because you shoot for the whole day and then you have to go to the gym," she said. "So as a mum, it was hard to just see them and say goodnight, and then you don't see them until the next [night]."
"It was an amazing opportunity, and I feel like they're a little more grown-up, so it's a good time for me to get back to my passion, which is making movies."
Interceptor is out on Netflix on June 3.
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