Getting Natalie Portman Up To Thor's Size Took Some Serious Creativity

In Taika Waititi's "Thor: Love and Thunder," Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) wields the mighty hammer known as Mjölnir, proving herself worthy, of noble heart, and establishing her legacy as the Mighty Thor. (Call her "Lady Thor" and earn a swift kick to the shins). We haven't seen Jane since "Thor: The Dark World" nearly a decade ago, and she only appeared in "Avengers: Endgame" in stock footage. It was thought that Portman wasn't going to return to the MCU, but as the trailer proved, she's got at least one more adventure left in her. 

Since her last visit to Asgard, Portman has been appearing in smaller mood- and character-driven films like "Vox Lux" and "Annihilation." Taking up the hammer in "Love and Thunder" meant she needed to undergo serious training in order to meet all the role's physical demands. Actors frequently transform themselves into chiseled slabs of muscle that would make even Michaelangelo blush, but what happens when an actor needs to simply look taller than they actually are?

At 5'3, Natalie Portman is the personification of the Shakespeare line, "Though she be but little she is fierce." In a recent profile in Variety, Portman and her fellow "Thor: Love and Thunder" castmates talked a bit about what it was like to see her transform into the mighty hero. "Natalie's the kind of person who would call another female castmate and have transparency around what she's making so that she can help someone also advocate for herself," said Tessa Thompson, who plays Valkyrie. "That's like real-world superhero s*** that I have seen Natalie do time and time again."

Embracing her new size

Portman has a reputation for playing small and petite characters, but has loved seeing the world react to her muscular new shape. "To have this reaction and be seen as big, you realize, 'Oh, this must be so different, to walk through the world like this,'" Portman said. "When you're small — and also, I think, because I started as a kid — a lot of times I feel young or little or, like, a pat-on-the-head kind of person. And I present myself that way, too, because of that." As the Mighty Thor, however, Portman is able to experience what it's like to be larger than life. Jane's Mighty Thor is billed as standing six feet tall, which meant Waititi and the crew had to find ways to cheat Portman's height.

"We'd rehearse the scene, they'd see the path, and then they'd build a path that was like one foot off the ground or whatever, and I would just walk on that," Portman said. Thompson laughed at the sentiment, recalling that her platform was called a "deck" on set, but due to the cast's variety of accents, sometimes "deck" would sound like a similar four-letter word. "Because we're all children," Thompson joked. Portman's height deck became one of the biggest running jokes during production, with Portman noting that her co-stars would have to modify their blocking to account for the platform: "They'd all have to navigate my deck!"

"Thor: Love and Thunder" is now in theaters.