Natalie Portman returns to the silver screen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as Jane Foster in the blockbuster movie Thor: Love and Thunder. This time, Portman helms the hammer and becomes “Mighty Thor!”
In an interview published to extratv’s YouTube channel on June 27, 2022, Portman dished with Extra’s Jenn Lahmers on how Portman got in shape for the role.
Your arms are lighting up the internet, you have to know this right?
Portman also shares advice she received from her co-stars, Tessa Thompon and Chris Hemsworth. The interview delves into what Portman’s children think of her new and improved Marvel role. Check out the full interview below:
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Portman expressed excitement about portraying a superhero and its requisite physical preparation. It was a change of pace from what she’s used to, both in behavior and in her diet:
Women…are usually asked to get as small as possible; to almost disappear. To be asked to get as big as possible, eat as much as you can, lift as much as you can. A pretty wild, possibly once-in-a-lifetime request.
When asked about what fueled Portman’s transformation, considering the potential dietary restrictions of following a vegan lifestyle, Portman admits that there were a lot of vegan protein shakes and a lot of lentils. Portman maintained a goal of eating “clean” protein but did not shy away from the occasional cheat during her fitness journey, though she doesn’t believe that “cheat day” should have a negative connotation:
I don’t think of it as a cheat. It was good to eat as much as possible. It was just good to be tasked with just eating.
Portman was grateful for the advice from Thompson and Hemsworth when it came to nutrition and recovery, such as the use of ice baths and saunas. According to BMC Medicine, saunas have been shown to have positive effects on circulatory and cardiovascular functions. (1)
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Portman recounted long bouts during the film shoot when asparagus was the only vegetable for meals. Thompson explained that was at her request due to asparagus helping deplete hypodermal water (i.e., just below the skin), which helps muscles appear more defined and “pop” on screen.
Asparagus has been a go-to in bodybuilding regimens for decades, as any edge to improve a physique’s appearance on stage should be taken advantage of. According to a 2010 study in the West Indian Journal of Medicine, asparagus acts as a natural diuretic, which can aid the body in ridding itself of excess sodium and fluids. It can also be effective in cleansing toxins from the kidneys. (2)
Bodybuilders seek to step on that stage with as little fluid under the skin as possible while keeping the muscle bellies. While it is likely to a lesser degree for performers on screen, it can still provide a lot of aesthetic value, especially for superhero roles where audiences expect the performers to be in immaculate shape.
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Portman shared how large of an emotional shift it was to pack on so much muscle to share the screen with the six-foot Hemsworth. Portman is used to walking into a space and not being noticed despite her level of celebrity. Taking on the role of Mighty Thor gave her a lot of confidence.
There is an incredible incredible presence; a power, and also the responsibility of what you do will be seen.
Portman is glad to see so many “strong female leads” in this film. She feels that so many strong women with different powers, personalities, and styles are a gift for those who grow up watching movies with characters they aspire to emulate. During Portman’s formative years, she saw women on screen that always needed to be saved. In Thor: Love and Thunder, kids will see women doing the saving. Portman’s children were an example of that — they visited the set to watch their “super-mom” at work.
We are human beings who have infinite possibilities of ways to be.
Thor: Love and Thunder smashes its way into theaters on July 8, 2022.
Laukkanen T, Kunutsor SK, Khan H, Willeit P, Zaccardi F, Laukkanen JA. Sauna bathing is associated with reduced cardiovascular mortality and improves risk prediction in men and women: a prospective cohort study. BMC Med. 2018 Nov 29;16(1):219. doi: 10.1186/s12916-018-1198-0. PMID: 30486813; PMCID: PMC6262976.
Kumar, M. C., Udupa, A. L., Sammodavardhana, K., Rathnakar, U. P., Shvetha, U., & Kodancha, G. P. (2010). Acute toxicity and diuretic studies of the roots of Asparagus racemosus Willd in rats. The West Indian medical journal, 59(1), 3–6.
Featured image: @marvelstudios on Instagram