The action thriller 12 Strong chronicles the true story of the first US troops to arrive in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, and how they teamed up with local horse soldiers because of the terrain and culture. Taking a break from his superhero role as Thor, Chris Hemsworth stars as Captain Mitch Nelson. And Hemsworth's wife Elsa Pataky plays his on-screen wife.

Chris Hemsworth at a Golden Globes afterpartyChris Hemsworth at a Golden Globes afterparty

"When I was looking at doing the film, I was right in the middle of Thor: Ragnorak," Hemsworth says. "I was exhausted! The idea of going back to work again was just, ugh, hang on! Then they were like, 'Look, we'd love Elsa to play your wife, as well.' That made it a little easier for her to come to terms with packing up and moving again."

Hemsworth has played real people in other films recently, including Rush and In the Heart of the Sea. And he was able to meet the real Captain Nelson while preparing for the role. "There's definitely weight and responsibility to it because of the subject matter of the story," Hemsworth says. "But also just for that guy, you know? Doing it justice and making him proud. I didn't want to do an impersonation. I wanted to sort of embody his intention, his heart, and get inside his head to figure out what it takes for someone to stand up and go to war. When it is basically a suicide mission, there is not a hesitation. They just go straight into it."

Watch the trailer for '12 Strong' here:

The key element in meeting the real man was discovering his lack of arrogance. "He's retelling his stories about this mission, and there is no sort of bravado or ego about what he's achieved," Hemsworth says. "He could be talking about doing the grocery shopping, like it's that sort of matter-of-fact and honest and truthful. And that sort of humility and that integrity was something I noticed in all of the military guys we were interacting with."

But one of the best things for the actor was getting to film in real locations for a change, as opposed to his almost entirely studio-based work as Thor. "Shooting on a green screen can be kind of mind numbing and exhausting from a standpoint of just being kind of bored," he laughs. "I much prefer being busy in the thick of it and being visually stimulated. It's a bit like the horses. They are reacting to the environment as much as you are and you can't fake that."