Natalie Portman: «I love science and superpowers»

It had been ten years since Natalie Portman had returned to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thanks to “Thor: Love & Thunder” by Taika Waititi, the fourth film dedicated to the god of thunder played by Chris Hemsworth, not only has he made peace with the character of Jane Foster, the astrophysicist who makes Odin’s son fall in love with him, but she also took up the hammer, the Mjöllnir, becoming Mighty Thor. Together they have to face Gorr, the butcher of gods (name that says it all), played by a Christian Bale who has undergone yet another extreme physical transformation.

Oscar winner Natalie Portman accepted to wear a superhero costume especially for her children: «It’s very rare that children really love their parents’ work!», she said in Rome, where she not only presented the film, but also filmed an epic video in the excavations of Ostia Antica, posing like a deity among the ruins, while an all-female band plays “Sweet Child O’Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, mainstay of the soundtrack of “Thor: Love & Thunder ”. And again: «Generally my children are never interested in the projects I do. This time it was different, so much so that they came with me to the set. Everyone’s kids were there: Taika’s, Chris, Christian, mine. They were all running around the set together.”

Did you miss the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

“It’s a joy to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This was a special set. I think it shows: everyone was always laughing. It’s great to feel the public’s affection for these films. They know the mythology by now and it’s nice to be a part of it.”

Thor has transformed a lot over the years: from a Shakespearean hero he has almost become a comedian. Is that the secret to his success?

“I think Thor likes it so much because of Chris Hemsworth – he’s one of those attention grabbing people. He is charismatic and a very good actor. He also has a great sense of humour: he knows how to entertain anyone. Despite the trappings of success he’s had, he’s an even better person than when we last met. Taika has managed to create a very particular genre: he combines things that we would never imagine could work together. He has both a quirky sense of humor and great emotional depth. That’s why an action-packed love story that even has horror elements works so well. He has an imagination and a sensibility capable of making all of this amalgamate well. His sense of humor is extraordinary: he is never at anyone’s expense. Never”.

How did he find his Jane Foster again?

“I’ve read Jason Aaron’s Mighty Thor comics. I talked a lot with Taika about how we could bring her to the screen. I was ready for anything on set: Taika is very spontaneous. It was the beginning of the studio and it was all a big surprise. Unfortunately, women are still underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. To be able to play someone who loves and transmits passion for science in films like these is very exciting for me. And to be able to play a character who is both an astrophysicist and a heroine is truly exceptional.”

In “Thor: Love & Thunder” there are many types of families. What is family forthe?

«I too, like Jane, have a good dose of workaholicism but fortunately I also have my family, which gives me so much joy and reminds me of everything that is dear to me. I appreciate that Taika explores all forms of love in the film: love between friends, romantic love, love for oneself, love between parents and children. The meaning of life is there.”

Speaking of love between friends: in this film he also found Tessa Thompson, who has the role of King Valkyrie.

“Tessa’s Valkyrie is probably my favorite superhero. I can’t wait to see a film dedicated entirely to her. We worked together on “Annihilation” (film by Alexander Garland on Netflix, ed), right before she did “Thor: Ragnarock”, and we remained friends. Finding a friend on set was extraordinary. She is brilliant and has a great sense of humour. My scenes with her in the film are my favorite. My love for her is everlasting.”

One thing Jane Foster would certainly approve of is her book club, Natalie’s Book Club, which also has an Instagram account with nearly 60,000 followers, where she recommends books and does live chats with writers and writers. Is reading a superpower?

“I love to read very much. I think it has an almost purifying effect. We spend so much time with our eyes on screens that a book is an opportunity to concentrate. There are few experiences like this, which allow you to immerse yourself completely in your world and in your imagination thanks to the guidance of an author».

We are in Italy, the country of football. You have a team: Angel City FC. How important is it to show that girls can be good at sports?

“Girls and women know it. They just need to get the attention they deserve. We’ve had incredible female athletes for ages: we just need to give them the right stage, the right compensation and television space. It’s a very exciting moment: we have many players who are true leaders.”

Do you think that making films like this, owning a football team, could be a form of activism today?

«Someone told me that art and activism are the same thing: we imagine a world that doesn’t exist. They are twin paths.”

And how do you balance that with self branding and marketing? It’s also a theme of the film: marketing can sometimes lead to the dark side. How do you keep a balance between these things?

“I try not to think about it and just be myself. It’s all I can be! Certainly each of us presents the world with a version of ourselves that is different from who we really are. I don’t show my biggest flaws in public, of course. But at the same time we are human beings, we are not objects: it is the best we can do».

Every film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is never really done until the end credits roll. And here’s a post-credit scene about her. Do you already know what future his character will have?

“I can’t say anything because I really don’t know anything! When we saw the film in London with Taika, and we saw that final scene, we also looked at each other with Chris saying: ah, really?! Nobody knew about it. One thing is certain: there will be the fifth Thor film ».

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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