Liam Hemsworth is the youngest member of the Australian Hemsworth clan, who may be about to give the Baldwin brothers a run for their money for the title of Hollywood's most famous siblings. Liam can currently be seen on the big screen as Miley Cyrus's newest co-star in the Disney film The Last Song. Meanwhile his elder brother Chris, whom you may have seen as Captain Kirk's father in Star Trek, is playing the title role in Thor, in Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of the Marvel comic. The third member of the clan, Luke, is a popular soap star in Australia.
Sibling rivalry played a big part in Liam taking his first steps into what has become the family business. Born and raised in Melbourne, Liam and his family relocated to the surf paradise Philip Island when the budding star was 11. The actors developed their washboard stomachs while out riding the waves off the coast of Melbourne. Liam says of his upbringing: "Basically it was just surfing. I love our place. It's so simple. There are no traffic lights and hardly any people. In the summertime it gets really busy. I went through high school watching my two older brothers acting and loving what they were doing so I followed them into it."
Then with a comment heavily doused in irony and in keeping with his slight devil may care attitude, he adds: "I saw them doing it, and I thought that I could do it better." As with many young Australian actors, including both of his brothers, Liam's big break came when he won a part in an Australian soap. While brother Chris was a main character in Home and Away for three years, Liam lit up the screens of Australian living rooms for two months by following Luke into Neighbours.
The 20-year-old says of the experience: "It was great. The good thing about doing something like that is that I did TV in Australia for a year and a half before coming to the States and it is really good because no one has seen you. You are a fresh face when you come over here and it's a good place to just learn, you just stock up. I never wanted to start off on a big film, because it can be kind of over-awing coming on to a big set and it was luck I was able to do that before coming over here."
His stint on Neighbours was followed by a part in Christopher Smith's horror film Triangle. Liam plays Victor, one of the shipwrecked characters "rescued" by a haunted liner. Hemsworth lived up to his action-man credentials by doing all his own stunts in the sequence that sees a yacht blown about violently in a storm. The word was getting out about the Australian actor. With murmurs of interest from America growing, the young star decided to try his luck in Hollywood.
"I think that when you first get into acting, being a success in Hollywood is your goal," Hemsworth admits. "It's the centre of the universe in terms of acting and that was what I was working towards. I wanted to come to LA one day and I started to send audition tapes over for different things. It was the team behind Thor that saw my tapes and liked what they saw, and I came over to do a screen test. In the end Chris ended up getting the part."
The brothers were occasionally mistaken for twins when they were growing up, so it's unsurprising that they sometimes find themselves going up for the same roles. However, Liam says there was no time to get jealous of his brother's success because, "In the same week that he found out that he got Thor, I got The Last Song and then Chris found out he got a role in Red Dawn [the remake of the 1980s cult classic] and so that was one awesome week in the Hemsworth household."
The brothers rent an apartment together in Hollywood, although the success they have been having means they are hardly ever at home together. The ability to surf on the nearby beaches also reduces any chance of homesickness. His part as Will in The Last Song calls on him to don his beach costume as he plays a local beach volleyball star who catches the eye of Cyrus, the singer and actress made famous by her Hannah Montana persona.
He admits that when he first came to work with Cyrus, he wasn't really aware of the level of celebrity that surrounded the star, something that he has come to think of as being a blessing in disguise: "When I first came in to read with her, I kind of knew who she was, but didn't know how big she was in the world and it was good because it was just reading with another person and it wasn't such a big deal for me. On the first day of shooting there were 100 fans at the end of the beach and then on the other side photographers all blocked off and that was the first time that I really saw how big she was, and it was really amazing."
Last month, Cyrus confirmed that the pair had become a couple in real life, although she has said that their relationship did not begin until filming on The Last Song had finished. The Australian actor has to sing along with Cyrus in a car scene and admits that he is just as bad at singing off-screen as he is on-camera. "I sound like a cat is dying." He then adds, "I like dancing too, but I'm not good at that either."
Nonetheless, his success as an actor has seen Hemsworth start to get recognised in the street with the occasional fan coming up to him and asking for an autograph, an experience that he admits gives him a sense of gratification. However, the shoe is sometimes on the other foot, "I see a lot of people in this town, but I was at a restaurant once and Chuck Liddell walked in. I love UFC. I was with my brother and a few friends and I've never really been star-struck with anyone, but with this guy it was, it's Chuck Liddell, it's Chuck Liddell. He heard me saying it and he looked me over kind of to bite me off."
Although too worried about having his face ripped off to try his hand at cage fighting, Hemsworth continues to train hard and it'll be no surprise if he were to again follow in his brother's footsteps and find himself playing some sort of action hero. His penchant for action is mixed with a desire to do edgy character roles and that wish can be seen as he lists his personal acting heroes, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and James Franco.
For now though, Hemsworth is just looking forward to getting back to work and taking advantage of the springboard that The Last Song has provided him with. After all he still hasn't yet proved that he can do the whole acting thing better than his big brother Chris; not yet anyway.