Natalie Portman has described her role in the forthcoming Marvel Studios film Thor: Love and Thunder as being in direct contrast to her Oscar-winning performance in 2010’s Black Swan.
The 41-year-old actor recently spent 10 months working with a trainer to build up her physique to play superhero The Mighty Thor, a very different physical challenge to the one she faced twelve years ago playing an obsessive ballet dancer in Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller.
“On Black Swan, I was asked to get as small as possible,” Portman told Variety. “Here, I was asked to get as big as possible. That’s an amazing challenge — and also state of mind as a woman.”
Portman, who is five-foot-three, added that the experience was a revelation for her.
“To have this reaction and be seen as big, you realise, ‘Oh, this must be so different, to walk through the world like this,’” she said. “When you’re small — and also, I think, because I started as a kid — a lot of times I feel young or little or, like, a pat-on-the-head kind of person. And I present myself that way, too, because of that.”
Thor: Love and Thunder – which is set for release on 8 July – is directed by Taika Waititi and is considered a direct sequel to his 2017 Marvel film Thor: Ragnarok. Portman did not appear in that film, but previously starred in 2011’s Thor and 2013’s Thor: The Dark World as Thor’s love interest Dr Jane Foster.
The latter received some of the worst reviews of any of the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Portman said that didn’t trouble her.
“I mean, I had it with The Professional too,” she said, referring to Luc Besson’s 1994 thriller that was known as Leon in the UK. “It was slaughtered critically, and now, despite having been in Marvel and Star Wars movies, it’s the main thing people come up to me about. That and Star Wars are two examples of things that when they came out, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is a disaster.’ And then 20 years later — actually, 30 years later for The Professional — it’s beloved.”