Thor: Love And Thunder’s Natalie Portman Explains On ‘Trying To Fit In’ When Filming The Marvel Blockbuster

Natalie Portman as Jane Foster in Thor: Love And Thunder
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Following the release of Thor: The Dark World, Natalie Portman took a step away from  the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the franchise didn't exactly stop without her involvement. The Thor series she was a key part of continued in 2017 with the release of Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok. Now, almost a decade later, she's back playing Jane Foster again – featured with a key role in the upcoming Thor: Love And Thunder – and she has admitted that the experience provided her with some new kid at school vibes when she was on set.

Recently speaking with Vogue, the actor was asked what it was like make her big return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and she explained that there was a strangeness to it. On the one hand she was returning to a world she knew well thanks to her work on Thor and Thor: The Dark World, and she was friends with her co-stars, but things were also different because of the influence of Taika Waititi and the making of Thor: Ragnarok. Said Portman,

It's so strange when something is very familiar but also, you're kind of the new kid. Because Chris [Hemsworth and Tessa [Thompson] and Taika [Waititi] had worked together on Ragnarok, and so successfully, and so it was like they were all reuniting and I was this newbie in there trying to figure out how to fit in.

Not only did Taika Waititi introduce new tones and sensibilities to the Thor series with the making of Thor: Ragnarok, but he also introduced a new method of working – his directorial style being very dependent on improvisation and coming up with new ideas for different takes. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson were both veterans of this methodology, but it was something to which Natalie Portman had to adjust while she also did the background work to catch up with Jane Foster and learn about what the character has been doing since the actor last played her.

Thankfully, Natalie Portman wasn't exactly dealing with co-workers who would act like grade school bullies and smack her lunch tray to the floor. Instead, she evidently had a terrific support system thanks to Taika Waititi and her co-stars (in addition to having made Thor and Thor: The Dark World with Chris Hemsworth, Portman was also in Alex Garland's brilliant sci-fi film Annihilation with Tessa Thompson). She continued:

They're just the nicest people, and also I know Chris [Hemsworth] and Tessa [Thompson] so well from previous work together, and also I had done Thor movies twice before. So there was a lot of familiarity and comfort in that world too, but it was this weird mix of being the veteran and the newbie at the same time. I was there at the beginning. But at the same time, you're the outsider to this group.

Also starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe in addition to the aforementioned Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, and Natalie Portman, Thor: Love And Thunder arrives in theaters this Friday, July 8 (and tickets are on sale now). You can get ready for the big screen experience by watching all of the previous Thor films with a Disney+ subscription (use our Marvel Movies In Order guide to plan your watch schedule), and you can learn about everything that is on the way from the MCU with our Upcoming Marvel Movies and Upcoming Marvel TV guides.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.