Hemsworth was working on a National Geographic series, “Limitless,” when he underwent a battery of genetic tests.
It turned out, Hemsworth possesses two copies of the APOE4 gene, which studies have shown are linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
“There was an intensity to navigating it,” he told Vanity Fair. “Most of us, we like to avoid speaking about death in the hope that we’ll somehow avoid it. We all have this belief that we’ll figure it out. Then to all of a sudden be told some big indicators are actually pointing to this as the route which is going to happen, the reality of it sinks in.”
The tests were done as part of the show’s fifth episode. Doctors were expected to reveal Hemsworth’s results on camera, but once the test came back, they called to discuss whether the actor would want the news to be a part of the show.
“I thought, ‘No, 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,’” he said. “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 recently wrapped production on “Furiosa,” a prequel to “Mad Max: Fury Road” which stars Anya Taylor-Joy in the role originated by Charlize Theron.