Chris Hemsworth finds ‘strong hint’ of genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease while filming new show
Chris Hemsworth His new series “Limitless” embarks on a personal and physically demanding journey that ultimately leads to a profound discovery.
The “Thor” actor, 39, learned in an episode of the limited Disney+/National Geographic series — which shows him exploring ways to extend his longevity and fight aging — that he has two copies of the APOE4 gene, one from each of his parents, who Meaning he has a higher tendency to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
“They took all my blood work and did a bunch of tests and the plan was to tell me all the results on camera and then talk about how you can improve this and that,” Hemsworth shared with Vanity Fair In an article published Thursday. “And Peter Attia, who is the longevity doctor in that episode, and oversees a lot of the show, called [“Limitless” creator] Darren [Aronofsky] And said, ‘I don’t want to tell him that on camera. We’ll have to have an off-side conversation and see if he wants it on the show as well.’ It was shocking because he called me and he told me.”
After learning the news, Hemsworth said he had “a bunch of questions,” later adding that he “really didn’t know what to think. I was like, ‘Should I be worried? Does this matter?’
He also said that the program then “became more relevant and important to me, more poignant than I thought,” adding that APOE4 “is not a pre-deterministic gene, but it is a strong indication. Ten years ago, I think It was thought of as more deterministic.”
The new information, which Hemsworth said made him “eight to 10 times more likely” to eventually develop Alzheimer’s disease, naturally made him reflect on death and his own mortality.
“It was an intensity to navigate. Most of us, we avoid talking about death in the hope that we can avoid it,” he told Vanity Fair. “We all have faith that we will figure it out. Then all of a sudden some major indicator is actually pointing to the rout happening, the reality of it sinks in.
“Limitless,” which shows the Marvel star engaging in various stunts and exercises to prolong and enhance his life, is actually about facing death in the final episode.
“I think this is my favorite episode. That’s where I worked with death doulas and people who worked in palliative care and end-of-life care, and then talked to a lot of people who were at or nearing the end of their days – even young people who had cancer and had a long time to live. No,” he shared.
“Doing a death episode and facing your own mortality made me go, ‘Oh my God, I’m not ready to go yet,'” he later added. “I want to sit in this place with more stillness and gratitude. And then you start talking about kids and families and go, ‘Oh my God, they’re getting old, they’re growing up and I keep slapping another movie on top of another movie.’ Before you know it, they’re 18 and gone from home and I miss the window.
While preparing the show for broadcast, Hemsworth also noted that he was “offered a version of the episode where we didn’t talk. [his discovered genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s]” But the prospect of helping others helped him overcome any hesitation.
“I thought, ‘No, look, if this is an inspiration for people to take better care of themselves and also realize that you can take some action – then fantastic.’ My concern was I didn’t want to manipulate it and over-dramatize it and turn it into some sort of hokey grab for sympathy or entertainment whatever.”
Hemsworth, who recently appeared as the MCU’s God of Thunder in his fourth solo outing in this summer’s “Thor: Love and Thunder,” is set to appear in another sequel in next year’s “Extraction 2.” She’s also wrapping up an as-yet-undisclosed role in 2024’s “Furiosa,” playing Anya Taylor-Joy set in the “Mad Max” universe.
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