“I felt powerful for the first time in my life”

“I felt powerful for the first time in my life”

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She hadn’t acted in a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie since. Thor 2: The Dark World, released in 2013: Natalie Portman returns to battle through the front door in the fourth installment of the adventures of the god of thunder, Thor : Love and Thunder, which will be released in theaters on Wednesday July 13. The Israeli-American actress finds her character, Doctor Jane Foster, brilliant scientist and girlfriend of Thor in the first films. But this one sees herself propelled this time to the top of the poster since she sees herself endowed with the miraculous powers to become the powerful Mighty Thor, able to manipulate the famous hammer Mjöllnir.

It was the director of the film, Taika Waititi, who convinced the 41-year-old actress to return to the game. Just when she thought her story with Marvel was over, the Best Actress Oscar winner for her role in Black Swan in 2011 was even given the role “the most physical” that she has never known, since she had to undergo physical training for almost ten months before putting on her superheroine costume. Franceinfo met Natalie Portman, a few days before the film’s release in France.

Franceinfo Culture: it’s been nine years since you played Doctor Jane Foster. In this film, she acquires powers and becomes Mighty Thor. How did you feel when you put on this superheroine costume?
Natalie Portman : It was so funny! I remember how I felt during the first fitting with our brilliant costume designer Mayes Rubeo. I put on the suit and called Taika Waititi to say, “I hope I told you how grateful I am for this opportunity?” I remember saying to myself at that time: “But what an incredible job you have!”. It’s so cool to wear a superhero costume in the professional setting.

It’s a role that’s more physical than in your previous Marvel films. What type of training did you follow to become Mighty Thor?
I trained with Naomi Pendergast for several months, before and during filming. She was great with me. I of course did a lot of strength training, like lifting heavy weights. We also worked a lot on the finer muscles, which are necessary to support the larger muscles. My character is 1.80m tall and I am 1.61m. So it took a lot of “magic” and techniques to create my Mighty Thor look. But it was really amazing to feel powerful for the first time in my life.

Taika Waititi said that in the early “Thor”, Jane Foster was “probably not the most exciting version of the female character that we’ve come to expect from these kinds of movies”. What do you like most about the new Jane?

I love that this Jane, when she transforms into Mighty Thor, becomes a strong, super-powered heroine who can dominate anyone. But at the same time, she retains the weaknesses that make her a normal person. She continues to be afraid, to doubt, these are feelings that any human being can feel and against which we are always brought to fight. In the film, Jane confronts her greatest fear directly and has to fight to preserve what she loves the most, even when it scares her, and I find that very strong. To me, that’s far more relevant than a character who would always be above the rest and who would always know exactly what to do with any situation.

Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is back in her Mighty Thor costume, alongside her ex-boyfriend the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth).  (MARVEL STUDIOS)

What do you think of the evolution of female characters in the MCU?It’s wonderful to return to the Marvel universe in this period that highlights so many superheroines. When I was a kid, there was only one I could relate to. I was like, “OK, it’s a girl, so I guess that’s me.” Today, there is such a variety of female personalities, and it could grow even more. But I think that now children can identify with a superhero for his character rather than his origins.

Besides Mighty Thor, who is your favorite Marvel heroine?
I love Valkyrie of course (her sidekick in Thor : Love and ThunderEditor’s note), but I also really like Captain Marvel, Black Widow… There are so many fantastic women now.

Chris Hemsworth said he would like to continue playing Thor. Would you like Mighty Thor / Jane Foster to return again in the future?
I would love to, yes! But for the moment, I haven’t had any information on the sequel, I can’t share anything with you…

You also marked the Star Wars saga. Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen have made their comeback in the Disney+ series “Obi-Wan Kenobi”. Would you like, like them, to replay your character of Padmé Amidala one day?
I’ve no idea. The character is dead so… So I don’t really know. And nobody asked me, so I don’t know.

“Thor: Love and Thunder”, by Taika Waititi, with Natalie Portaman, Chris Hemsworth and Christian Bale. Released in cinemas on July 13, 2022.

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