Natalie Portman reveals how her Thor role differs from her previous roles

The wide range of characters that Natalie Portman has portrayed throughout her career is a testament to just how talented she is. From a ballerina having a mental breakdown in Black Swan to a lovesick sovereign in the Star Wars prequels, there doesn’t seem to be much she can’t do. Now she’s returned to the MCU as Mighty Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder, taking over the research equipment from Dr. Jane Foster traded for a powerful hammer.

Despite her impressive acting skills, Portman admitted it came as a bit of a surprise to even be considered a superhero at this point in her life. “It was really, really a lucky role to play. I really have to commend it [director Taika Waititi] and Marvel for imagining a 5-foot-3, 40-year-old mother of two for the role,” Portman said in an appearance on British talk show Lorraine, per Woman & Home. A mother actually played a role in her decision to accept the role, she revealed to Variety. “I feel like this is the phase of my career where I’m really trying to impress my kids,” she said. Portman made a wise choice with “Thor,” and joked that her son Aleph and daughter Amalia were so impressed that their mother is a superhero that they begged her to go to work.

But getting this great reward wasn’t an easy task as Portman’s role required her to do something she’d never done before.

Why Natalie Portman’s preparation for Thor: Love and Thunder was unusual

Speaking to Variety, Natalie Portman compared her preparation for her role on Thor: Love and Thunder to the physical transformation she underwent to play a ballerina on Black Swan. She lost 20 pounds for the latter, telling Us Weekly, “I’d never exercised that much — doing five to eight hours a day [it] was really a challenge.”

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Portman also trained extensively for Thor, but this time she had to build up like co-star Chris Hemsworth. “It’s quite unusual and wonderful for a woman to be tasked with growing up,” she told the Sunday Times. “Most of the body changes we’re asked to make should be as small as possible.” Portman’s trainer, Naomi Pendergast, told Variety that the actress trained every day for 10 months to get her superhero physique. Her fitness routine included boxing, pilates, and lifting heavy weights.

Portman was so tired of drinking protein shakes to help her gain weight that she told the Sunday Times, “I don’t think I’ll ever drink one again.” But the end result of her changed diet and grueling exercise regimen has changed rewarded as she revealed she was in the best shape of her life. This is in stark contrast to her grueling training for Black Swan. She told Entertainment Weekly, “There were a few nights where I thought I was going to literally die.”