What’s in the water Down Under anyway? Liam Hemsworth is already having a banner year as the costar of The Hunger Games, the mega-successful kickoff to what is expected to be a blockbuster franchise. The sequel commences production in early 2013, but you’ll be seeing a lot more of this strapping young hunk starting this weekend.
Hemsworth was brought in to lend youthquake appeal to The Expendables 2, written by and starring Sylvester Stallone alongside a pack of fan-favorite action stars—Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis—in a reprise to the surprise hit original two years ago.
He was originally slated to appear in the first film, but the logistics didn’t work out. A couple of years passed and Stallone called up one day and asked if Hemsworth would be interested in the sequel. No need to ask twice.
“I got to be on set with a bunch of the biggest action heroes ever,” he told Collider.com. “It was a dream come true and pretty amazing as a young male and an actor, just to be on set with those guys.”
The 22-year-old has a whopping five films scheduled for next year, including the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire. He spent the early summer in New Orleans playing a cop in Empire State, (directed by Dito Montiel) and wrapped a leading role in Paranoia, a thriller based on the 2004 novel of the same name. Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde, The Ugly Truth) directs a high-voltage cast that includes Harrison Ford, Amber Heard, Gary Oldman and Lucas Till.
Hemsworth switches genres yet again in Timeless, a romantic drama opposite Emma Roberts for director Phillip Noyce (Salt). He plays a bereft widower who builds a time machine to reunite with his lost love.
Also on tap, but without a U.S. distribution deal (as yet) is Love and Honor, a romantic drama set during the Vietnam War. Then there’s Broken Run, an action-thriller for director John Singleton (Boyz N The Hood, 2 Fast 2 Furious), which hasn’t begun production yet.
The busy young matinee idol’s dance card for 2014 is already filling up as well. Look for him sometime that year in the epic 3D action-adventure Arabian Nights.
You’ll recall Hemsworth had been making the rounds in Los Angeles less than a month when, just three years ago, he was cast as the romantic lead opposite Miley Cyrus in The Last Song. He and older brother Chris—pre-Thor fame—were living in their manager’s guest house at the time.
Trivia note: Hemsworth says one of his favorite actors is Neil Patrick Harris. “I think that dude is one of the funniest, most talented guys out there and completely underrated,” he told Collider. (Also: “Paradise City” from Guns N’ Roses is his “go-to karaoke song.”)
CLICK HERE for Liam Hemsworth’s ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Expendables 2′ interview with Collider.