Natalie Portman Reveals The Major Way Her Thor Role Differs From Her Previous Parts

The vast assortment of characters Natalie Portman has portrayed over the course of her career is a testament to just how talented she is. From a ballerina having a psychological breakdown in "Black Swan" to a lovesick sovereign in the "Star Wars" prequels, there doesn't seem to be much that she can't do. Now, she's returned to the MCU as the Mighty Thor in "Thor: Love and Thunder," swapping Dr. Jane Foster's research equipment for a powerful hammer.

Despite her impressive acting credentials, Portman confessed that even being considered to play a superhero at this point in her life was a bit of a surprise. "It was really, really a lucky role to get to play. I really have to credit [director Taika Waititi] and Marvel for their imagination for thinking about a 5-foot-3, 40-year-old, mother of two for this role," Portman said in an appearance on the British talk show "Lorraine," per Woman & Home. But being a mom actually played into her decision to accept the part, as she revealed to Variety. "I feel like it's the phase of my career where I'm really trying to just impress my kids," she said. Portman chose wisely with "Thor," joking that her son Aleph and daughter Amalia were so in awe of their mom being a superhero that they were begging her to leave for work.

But getting that great payoff was no easy feat, as Portman's role required her to do something that she's never done before.

Why Natalie Portman's preparation for Thor: Love and Thunder was unusual

Speaking to Variety, Natalie Portman compared how she prepared for her role in "Thor: Love and Thunder" to the physical transformation she underwent to play a ballerina in "Black Swan." She lost 20 pounds for the latter, telling Us Weekly, "I had never gotten that much training — to be doing five-to-eight hours a day of [it] was really a challenge."

Portman also did plenty of intense training for "Thor," but this time around, she had to bulk up like co-star Chris Hemsworth. "It's pretty unusual and wonderful to be tasked with getting bigger as a woman," she told The Sunday Times. "Most of the body transformations we're asked to make are to be as small as possible." Portman's trainer, Naomi Pendergast, told Variety that the actor worked out every day for 10 months to get her superhero physique. Her fitness regime included boxing, Pilates, and lifting heavy weights.

Portman grew so tired of downing protein shakes to help her gain weight that she told The Sunday Times, "I don't think I'll ever have one again." But the end result of her altered diet and strenuous workout routine was well worth it, as she revealed that she got in the best shape of her life. This is in stark contrast to how her grueling training for "Black Swan" made her feel. She told Entertainment Weekly, "There were some nights that I thought I literally was going to die."