Natalie Portman is destined to have a less ‘boring’, more action-packed role as Jane Foster in Thor: Love and Thunder, according to the writer and director Taika Waititi.
Natalie didn’t appear in Taika’s 2017 instalment Thor: Ragnorok – which was characteristically heavy on his zany humour as well as thrills – after she starred opposite Chris Hemsworth in 2011’s Thor and The Dark World in 2013.
But the New Zealand director of films such as Jojo Rabbit and The Hunt for the Wilderpeople could see some real positives in bringing her back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially as he planned big things for her character – such as assuming the role of Mighty Thor.
“You don’t want Natalie coming back and playing that same character who’s walking around with science equipment,” Taika told Empire magazine.
“You know, while Thor’s flying around, she’s left on Earth, tapping her foot going, ‘When’s he going to be back?’ That’s boring. You want her to be part of the adventure.”
Part of that involved bringing out her comedic side, and humour is a big part of his vision judging by Ragnorok.
He felt Natalie would adapt to the demands with no difficulty: “Natalie’s really funny in real life. She’s kind of goofy and has got a great sense of humour, and I don’t think that was exploited enough in the first films.”
Astrophysicist Jane transitions into Mighty Thor when she visits New Asgard to recover from cancer. While there she is transformed into the deity Mighty Thor, complete with Thor’s superpowers, which will come as a shock to him when he encounters her in Love and Thunder – a discovery that comes as a ‘mindf***’ to him, says Taika.
“I didn’t know we were going to use the storyline of the Mighty Thor character until we started working out the actual story,” he said. “I was writing and it was like, ‘Wouldn’t it be kind of cool to bring Jane back into the storyline?'”
“She’s had a whole other life, and then the love of your life comes back on the scene and is now dressed like you!”
Thor: Love and Thunder is due for release in early July.
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Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.