Thor: Love and Thunder is Marvel’s big bet for this summer that everyone is talking about because of the incredible physical transformation that its protagonists have undergone, determined to fully fulfill their roles in the face of the high expectations of the fans. The fourth installment of the saga, which stars the charismatic and intrepid God of Thunder played by Chris Hemsworth, has a cast of Hollywood stars, Natalie Portman being the main revelation of the film. The actress returns to the studios after a bittersweet absence to embody a new version of Jane Foster who wears the Mighty Thor costume and is capable of holding Mjolnir, the mythical hammer of Odin’s son, but achieving the character’s musculature has forced her to follow a rigorous exercise routine that involved everything from boxing classes to lifting weights.
Five months before filming, the actress began with a complex training focused on defining the abdominal area and developing the biceps, to get there she first required that she condition her body for four months, in this way she ensured increasing the volume of her muscles without suffering any serious injury or irreparable damage to her joints, trainer Naomi Pendergast told Variety, who was Natalie’s guide from the beginning to the end of her preparation.
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In total, Natalie Portman trained for 10 months, including the recording period for the tape, because that was the only way she could maintain her muscles. “We worked on building her upper body three times a week, which included exercises for arms, back, chest, boxing, jumping, and running,” Pendergast explained. For the remaining two days the Oscar winner dedicated herself to preventing injuries with exercises based on pilates, stretching, relaxation work, and balance exercises.
Although Natalie Portman did not suffer any fracture or sprain, she did experience severe physical pain from which she recovered favorably: “He managed to get through everything very well without serious injury. There were a few days after long stunt sessions where she felt a little soreness in her wrists and neck, but she was able to get through it with a little relaxation work.”
The trainer explained that the sessions were daily and lasted between an hour and a half and two, she also mentioned that Natalie Portman‘s character is one hundred percent physical, so she needed to strengthen her body a lot, specifically the upper part. The same interpreter commented in an interview for the Total film portal that “it was very useful to be strong” especially when she had to carry the weight of the cape all day.
There is no doubt that the Jerusalem-born has given her best to bring Mighty Thor to life, even getting up early once filming began: “Natalie Portman’s schedule was very busy, so we trained early, around 4: 30 am before the day started.” The pandemic was an obstacle to her physical transformation process because during the first weeks she had to exercise at home, a measure that lasted until the covid-19 infections decreased and the gyms reopened, which meant having access to a greater amount of apparatus for sessions.
Food has also been key in its impressive metamorphosis. Natalie Portman has always had a healthy diet, let’s remember that she is vegan; however, she has had to add two daily doses of protein powder to her routine to bulk up her muscles.
Although the change represented almost a year of rigor and tireless work, the actress enjoyed the challenge of playing a superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) for the first time. “Of course, I have never made it my goal to be bulky. It was very physical, so it was a lot of work on both agility and strength,” Portman told Variety.
Natalie Portman confessed that the physical changes and increasing her strength have made it easier for her to get deeper into Mighty Thor. “It helps you get into character and changes the way you move. You walk differently, you feel different. I mean, it’s wild to feel strong for the first time in my life,” added the 41-year-old interpreter, who throughout her career has had to go through several transformations for several of her well-known films, including The Black Swan.
The main entrance of Marvel is opened by Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman agreed to join phase four of the UMC, from which she left due to the disappointment she suffered during the filming of Thor: A Dark World, a film in which she participated to work with director Patty Jenkins, who finally had to say goodbye from the project due to creative differences with the studios, a decision that generated Portman’s discontent.
However, Taika Waititi convinced the actress to return to the franchise with a “bolder and brighter” story. “You don’t want Natalie to come back and play the same character who walks around in science gear. You know, while Thor is flying, she stays on Earth, saying, ‘When will she come back?’ That’s boring. You want her to be part of the adventure,” said the director.