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Natalie Portman on Bulking Up for Her Role in Thor: Love and Thunder

The Black Swan star picks up the mantle and hammer of the God of Thunder.

Thor Love and Thunder Cast

There’s so much to look forward to in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but for many fans, one of the most highly anticipated projects is Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder.

And it’s easy to see why: Waititi completely revitalized the character of Thor thanks to the hilarious Thor: Ragnarok, which remains one of the best (if not THE best) entries into the MCU. Thor: Love and Thunder features the return of fan-favorite characters, like Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie and Waititi’s Korg. The film will also see the return of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster.

The movie’s teaser trailer—released on Monday, April 2, 2022—features a brief yet epic look at Portman’s return to the franchise after being MIA since Thor: The Dark World (and much more, as you can see in our official trailer breakdown). She’s seen wielding a certain hammer that bears the battle scars of its past, which led to Thor picking up a new weapon in Avengers: Infinity War. It appears Mjölnir wasn’t 100% down for the count, though, and that Jane Foster is the latest MCU character to be deemed worthy of it—and all the powers that go with it.

Jane Foster got short shrift in the first two Thor films, but she’s coming back swinging as Mighty Thor in Love and Thunder. In preparation for the role, Portman has been hitting the gym. The actor had previously trained extensively for her Academy Award-winning role as troubled ballerina Nina in 2010’s Black Swan. In an interview with Vanity Fair, she discussed her Thor training, saying:

“It was really fun. I worked with a trainer, Naomi Pendergast, for, I think it was, four months before shooting, and then obviously all the way through filming. We did a lot of weight training and a lot of protein shakes—heavyweight training that I haven’t ever done before. Of course, I’ve never really aimed to get bulky. It was very physical, so it was a lot of both agility work and also strength work.”

Portman added, “It definitely helps you get into character, and it’s definitely changed the way I move. You walk differently; you feel different. I mean, it’s so wild to feel strong for the first time in my life.”

Jane Foster’s storyline is based on Jason Aaron’s The Mighty Thor, which saw Jane Foster battling cancer while taking up the mantle of Thor. Portman said before filming, “I can’t tell you that much. I’m really excited. I’m starting to train, to get muscles. If there can be all these female superheroes, the more of them they are, the better it is.”

And if these behind-the-scenes photos are anything to go by, Portman is getting jacked for the role:

Obviously we’re excited for the return of Jane Foster, but we’re not alone. Portman’s Thor co-star Kat Dennings recently told CinemaBlend about learning that Portman was picking up Mjolnir. Dennings said: “I thought it was genius. The most genius thing I’ve ever heard. It’s so brilliant. She’s a rockstar actor she can do anything. So I’m just so excited. As a fan, I’m just excited to watch it.” Dennings, who played Darcy Lewis in the Thor films, recently reprised her role in WandaVision, but will not appear in Thor: Love and Thunder.

Are you excited to see Natalie Portman kick ass in Thor: Love and Thunder?

(via Vanity Fair, image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.