When Marvel Studios officially announced Thor: Love & Thunder at Comic-Con International in 2019, many were surprised to see the studio was also bringing back Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. After all, Portman hadn’t been involved in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2013’s Thor the Dark World. Still, many were excited to see Marvel Studios cover the Mighty Thor storyline from the comics on the big screen. According to director Taika Waititi, Portman was drawn to return as Jane because of the character’s tough choices in the forthcoming film.
Given that Portman is set to play Mighty Thor this time around, it was expected that her Jane would look a bit different in Love & Thunder. However, fans were surprised to see how big the actress got when set photos leaked during production. For Portman, it was surprising to see people calling her big. “To have this reaction and be seen as big, you realize, ‘Oh, this must be so different, to walk through the world like this,’” she said. “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.”
In a recent sit-down with Variety, Portman and Waititi were asked about the cancer storyline from the comics and whether fans can expect to see it play out on screen. While Portman was notably hesitant to answer, Waititi suggested we’ll see the cancer storyline addressed. “Part of why [Natalie] wanted to play that character is that she has a dilemma in the book,” he told the outlet before noting Jane’s “big choices” from the comics they sought to keep in the film.
The actress was also quick to note how different it was to work on Love & Thunder. For Portman, trying to adapt to Waititi’s shooting style took some getting used to as he has a tendency to ‘spitball’ on set. “It’s a really baller way to work on a movie like this. It was daunting at first, because I was like, there’s no way for me to prepare. How am I supposed to do a good job? And then I think I learned how to enjoy it.”
She also got to train alongside at least two other actresses this time, too, with Tessa Thompson and Jaimie Alexander reprising their roles as Valkyrie and Lady Sif, respectively. “I haven’t had particularly bad workplace experiences, but I was usually the only female around. It’s just imbalanced. So it’s nice to feel the awareness of it. There doesn’t have to be the girl in the movie. There can be many women who have many different personalities and many different desires.”
Thor: Love & Thunder hits theaters on July 8th.