10 Questions for Natalie Portman

The Academy Award-winning actress talks to TFK about her new film, Thor: The Dark World

Nov 08, 2013 | By Kelli Plasket
MARVEL STUDIOS

Actress Natalie Portman returns as Jane Foster in Thor: The Dark World, in theaters November 8.

In Thor: The Dark World (rated PG-13), we find the Marvel superhero Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) back home in the kingdom of Asgard. The film picks up where the events of 2011's Thor and last year's blockbuster hit The Avengers left off. Thor, the Asgardian God of Thunder, is reunited with Jane Foster, the astrophysicist he met while banished to Earth in the first film. After Jane becomes infected with a mysterious energy source called the Aether, Thor brings her to Asgard to investigate it. Soon, the two must team up with a surprising ally to save the Nine Realms. "It's exciting to see a movie of this size have a lead female-character scientist," says Natalie Portman, who plays Jane. Recently, the Oscar-winning actress spoke to TFK from London about making The Dark World, which hits theaters November 8.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane share a scene in Asgard.
MARVEL STUDIOS
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane share a scene in Asgard.

TFK:

You are calling from London, where you shot some scenes for Thor 2. How was the experience of filming there?

NATALIE PORTMAN:

It was great. It was kind of crazy to be in some of the locations, like Greenwich, where so much of the action happens, and see it all destroyed. That was pretty wild, but it's always a wonderful place to shoot. The crews here are really wonderful.

TFK:

Your character, Jane, visits Asgard for the first time. What did you think of the Asgard sets?

PORTMAN:

It was awe-inspiring in real life, too. There is such a level of craftsmanship that goes into these movies, in terms of the set building. They carve by hand into the wood, they sculpt, they print material for fabrics in the clothes, and they make the jewelry by hand. It's all really incredible.

TFK:

Can you talk about what's different about Jane's journey in this film?

PORTMAN:

I think she's been a little bit hit by the years of being abandoned [on Earth] by Thor, so she's focused on her work. So when he comes back, she's really got her own thing going on. Her scientific pursuits are pretty focused and a major passion for her, while she still has this romantic side to her.

TFK:

What was it like to team up with Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki, and Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor, on set? You had to punch them for some scenes!

PORTMAN:

I know! I got very violent with the guys. They are both so much fun to work with, such great personalities. I was lucky to have scenes with Tom on this one because in the last one I didn't get the opportunity, and it was just really fun.

TFK:

Did you get to hold Thor's iconic hammer, Mjolnir, on set? Is it heavy?

PORTMAN:

I did! It's not in the movie of course, but I tried it myself, and it's very heavy. There are actually a few different versions [by weight] for different purposes, whether swinging or just holding. The heavy one is really heavy.

TFK:

If Jane had a superpower, what do you think it would be?

PORTMAN:

I think it would probably be something mechanical, fixing things.

TFK:

You've acted since you were a kid, but you made education a priority and even went to Harvard University. Why was education important to you?

PORTMAN:

For me, I feel like it gave me a lot of goals for learning how to do stuff that I liked and getting access to do the things I like to do. I think it's so rare to have the opportunity to learn things that you care about and follow your passions and school is definitely a great path to having that.

TFK:

What was your favorite class or subject to study in grade school?

PORTMAN:

I really liked English classes, just reading books and thinking about them. I also really liked math a lot.

TFK:

The characters in Thor’s universe originally come from Norse, or Scandinavian, mythology. Did you get to learn more about the mythology from working on these films?

PORTMAN:

A little bit, yeah. I read the basic storylines to understand where these stories are based. It's great to have a mythological background to these epic movies.

TFK:

What do you enjoy most about making these superhero movies?

PORTMAN:

I think partly that I feel like one small member of this larger creative family making this movie. There are hundreds of people who work on these movies to make them what they are. There are incredible artists, between the visual effects team and the people who build the sets and make the costumes. It’s a kind of large-scale artistic endeavor, and it's really cool to be a member of that group.