Natalie Portman on Thor: Love and Thunder – ‘This Is a Triple Job of What I Was Doing Back Then’

(L-R): Natalie Portman as Mighty Thor and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Marvel Studios’ THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER. Photo by Jasin Boland.

Thor: Love and Thunder is the fourth Thor film starring Chris Hemsworth, and the Norse superhero will be dealing with a new threat, Gorr the God Butcher, played by Christian Bale. Taika Waititi brought fun to the series when he helmed Thor: Ragnarok, and he’s back to take the god on a new adventure with Natalie Portman returning, only this time she gets to wield Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer.

With the new films, Hemsworth embodied the immature, young, adolescent quality of Thor thanks to Waititi’s direction, which he felt was refreshing and new.

“And that’s always the sort of North Star is about having fun,” Hemsworth said during the Thor: Love and Thunder press conference. “Embodying this space as a child would and enjoying all of it and being caught up in the wonder and the fascination of all of it. And not getting bogged down in the serious sort of nature that we can when making films. Personally, with these kinds of films, it’s got to be fun, and that’s what we’ve done. That’s what I’ve related to. That’s what Taika’s kind of insisted upon, and it’s been fun.”

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was onboard with Waititi bringing another dimension from Hemsworth since Thor: Ragnarok.

“There were moments, even going back to EPK interviews between the two of them on our New Mexico set,” Feige said. “I was like, ‘Is he trying to be funny? Or is it…? No, he is being funny. He’s, like, hilarious.’ And I saw a clip of Ultron the other day, where he’s trying to make Ruffalo feel better about smashing a bunch of people, and it’s so funny. It’s like this expert timing. And Taika was like, ‘What are you guys doing with him just holding a hammer up with lightning? Let’s do that and tap into everything Chris can do.'”

With Jane Foster getting to wield Mjolnir, that leaves Thor with just Stormbreaker, the weapon he got during Avengers: Endgame. This creates tension between him and his weapons and gives them more of a personality.

“And all the sudden the weapon that he held so dear, and so on, for so many years now belongs to someone else,” Hemsworth said of the hammer. “And then he has Stormbreaker who starts to sense a little jealously there, you know? So that kind of evolved through the film didn’t it. I don’t think it was in the original script, but it was fun.”

Sweet Child of Mine

Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Marvel Studios’ THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER. Photo by Jasin Boland.

Guns N’ Roses is heavily featured in Thor: Love and Thunder like their popular song, “Sweet Child of Mine.” It was a dream of Waititi, who got to tap into his love of rock music back in school.

“The whole aesthetic around the film, we wanted it to be this bombastic, loud, colorful palette, which kind of reflected spray-painted panel vans in the eighties and rock album covers,” Waititi said. “And, even the title treatment for the film, it’s the kind of thing I would’ve drawn on my school book in class when I wasn’t listening. I remember spending months and months perfecting the Metallica logo at school, and just to tap into all that stuff. Guns N’ Roses was one of my all-time favorite bands, and to be able to do that stuff to reflect the sort of crazy adventure that we’re presenting visually was another one of my dreams that came true.”

Gorr the God Butcher

Christian Bale as Gorr. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios.

Bale plays the villain, Gorr the God Butcher, who vows to kill all the gods, especially since they didn’t lift a finger to help his dying family. The actor reveals why it’s easier to play the villain than the hero.

“Look, there’s a great pleasure in playing a villain,” Bale said. “It’s a lot easier to play a villain than it is to play a hero. Chris had a much tougher job. Everyone is fascinated with bad guys, right? Immediately. And then, the beauty of it is that Taika can make it bloody hilarious and then really moving as well in this story. I don’t know if it’s pushing it too much to say sympathy, but you sort of understand maybe why this guy is making awful decisions. And he is a monster, and he is a butcher.”

Jane Foster as Mighty Thor

(L-R): Natalie Portman as Mighty Thor and Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Photo by Jasin Boland.

Portman gets to be a superhero this time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when she gets Thor’s power. Behind the scenes, she would be training more and have more to do to prepare.

“I feel like getting this opportunity, first of all with such an incredible way to explore a female superhero that could be quite vulnerable and weak and find strength in that, and be more like a human I could relate to personally,” Portman said. “And then also I think it just gave me renewed respect for what Chris has been doing for over a decade, Tessa’s been doing, because I see how much work goes into it that I don’t think I was aware of when I was just like the chick in the first one. I didn’t see everything that went on behind the scenes that now when I got inside into all of the choreography and the training and everything, I would like, ‘Wow this is a triple job of what I was doing back then.'”

About Thor: Love and Thunder

The film finds Thor (Chris Hemsworth) on a journey unlike anything he’s ever faced – a quest for inner peace. But his retirement is interrupted by a galactic killer known as Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who seeks the extinction of the gods. To combat the threat, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi) and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who – to Thor’s surprise – inexplicably wields his magical hammer, Mjolnir, as the Mighty Thor. Together, they embark upon a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher’s vengeance and stop him before it’s too late.

Directed by Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Jojo Rabbit) and produced by Kevin Feige and Brad Winderbaum, Thor: Love and Thunder opens in U.S. theaters on July 8, 2022.

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