Chris Hemsworth is stepping back from acting after discovering he’s genetically predisposed to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
The “Thor” actor discovered the news while filming the fifth episode of his Disney+ series “Limitless,” in which he meets with a doctor and discovers he has a genetic predisposition for the progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions.
Hemsworth’s DNA contains two copies of the APOE4 gene, making his chance of developing the progressive neurologic disorder eight to 10 times higher than the average person’s.
He told Vanity Fair in an article published Thursday that after learning the news, he plans to pause his work after wrapping up his press tour for the documentary series.
The 39-year-old’s grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and he told Vanity Fair a bit more about it.
“I’m not sure he actually remembers much anymore, and he slips in and out of Dutch, which is his original language,” Hemsworth said. “He’ll be talking [in] Dutch and English and then a mash-up and then maybe some other new words as well.”
The Australian actor revealed that filming the episode about such a heavy topic made him realize he’s “not ready to go yet.” The genetic revelation also led to him meeting with death doulas for the series’ final episode.
Though Hemsworth said, “it’s not like I’ve been handed my resignation,” he admitted the culmination of experiences gave him the nudge to take time off from acting.
“It really triggered something in me to want to take some time off,” Hemsworth said. “And since we finished the show, I’ve been completing the things I was already contracted to do.”
The star has already wrapped up production on his upcoming movies: Netflix’s “Extraction 2” and George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” prequel “Furiosa.”
“Now, when I finish this tour this week, I’m going home, and I’m going to have a good chunk of time off and just simplify,” he added. “Be with the kids, be with my wife.”
Hemsworth and his wife, Elsa Pataky, 46, share three children: 10-year-old India and 8-year-old twins Sasha and Tristan.
The father-of-three went on to share that Disney presented him a version of “Limitless” sans the diagnosis, but he was firm about keeping the full version.
“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,” Hemsworth said.
He added, “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.”
Hemsworth — who has suited up in over eight Marvel Cinematic Universe films as the hammer-wielding God of Thunder — also shared in the interview that he’s “completely open to” revisiting the titular character at some point.
“I’ve always loved the experience,” the actor said of playing Thor. “I’ve been very thankful I’ve been able to do something different each time.”
Episodes of “Limitless” are now streaming on Disney+.