Sometimes large things come in small packages.
In the new superhero blockbuster, “Thor: Love and Thunder,” five-foot-three Oscar-winner Natalie Portman bulked up more than ever before. She explained the transition in a new cover story for Variety.
Portman will reprise her role from two previous "Thor" films as astrophysicist Jane Foster who acted as a woman-in-peril love interest to Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder.
This time around Portman's Foster comes in possession of Thor’s hammer, Mjöllnir, meaning she is transformed into a god.
“On ‘Black Swan,’ I was asked to get as small as possible,” said Portman. “Here, I was asked to get as big as possible. That’s an amazing challenge — and also state of mind as a woman.”
As Variety reported, starting in the fall of 2020, Portman worked with a trainer for more than 10 months before and during filming to rebuild her physique, with special emphasis on her shoulders and arms – the parts that really have to swing that hammer around.
It was quite a surprise for fans across the internet, many of whom first encountered Portman as the slight, 16-year old Queen Amidala in 1999's “Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace” when images leaked of Portman filming "Thor" and looking fairly ripped.
“To have this reaction and be seen as big, you realize, ‘Oh, this must be so different, to walk through the world like this,’” Portman says. “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.”
Given that she’s way more involved in the action sequences this time, Portman also had to work more with the stunt team to learn how to use her new frame – and it brought back some memories of “Black Swan.” “Fight choreography," she noted, "is actually quite similar to dance."