“Thor: Love and Thunder” marks Natalie Portman’s first major Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance since 2013’s “Thor 2.” While the “Black Swan” star is reprising her role as Jane Foster from the first two “Thor” films, her third appearance will look dramatically different from anything Marvel fans have seen her do before. Rather than sitting on the sidelines as a love interest for the God of Thunder, Taika Waititi’s new film sees her picking up the hammer and suiting up as a superhero in her own right.
But to do that, she had to get in superhero shape. Portman spent 10 months working out for the film, including several months of conditioning before she began actively adding muscle. And once the shoot started, she was training at 4:30 a.m. every day. The process was overseen by trainer Naomi Pendergast, who outlined Portman’s workout regimen in a new interview with Variety.
“The goal and initial brief for working with Natalie was to develop arm and abdominal definition,” Pendergast said. “However, to safely get Natalie to this goal without injury we worked to condition her body first for about four months. This meant we could safely up the load to bulk her up without negatively affecting her joints.”
Once Portman was fit enough to start bulking up without risking injuries, they were off to the races. Because they were training during the COVID pandemic, much of the initial work was done with dumbbells. And lots and lots of boxing.
“We worked on building her upper body three times a week, which included arm, back, chest exercises, boxing, skipping and running,” she said. “The other two days were dedicated to injury prevention work, which included Pilates-based exercises, stretching, release work and balance exercises.”
Of course, working out is useless without the right diet, and Pendergast also had to work to ensure that Portman could add muscle while sticking to her vegan diet.
“Natalie is an extremely healthy person with a very wholesome and clean diet, so we did not have to make any major changes to her food,” she said. “Natalie is a vegan, so for her to get enough protein to bulk up the way she needed we had to increase her daily amount by adding vegan-based protein powders a couple of times a day.”
“Thor: Love and Thunder” hits theaters on Friday, July 8.