Thor: The Dark World is a high- octane adventure set in two parallel worlds: Earth and Asgard – the Nordic home of the Gods. Portman plays an astrophysicist, Jane Foster, the love interest of the hammer-wielding God of Thunder (Hemsworth – most recently seen as the Formula One driver James Hunt in Rush).
Inevitably they are battling evil and saving the universe. Portman says that the main attraction of the film was the opportunity to play a positive female role model in a big-budget film.
The fallacy in Hollywood is that if you’re making a ‘feminist’ story, the woman kicks ass and wins. That’s not feminist, that’s macho
Jane Foster doesn’t throw her weight around in sword fights with the boys. She uses her intellect to help her brawny co-star combat a malevolent race of dark elves.
Unfortunately, there are still not that many girls going into science, engineering and technology, Jane’s got a mission. She’s looking for something for herself, gravitational anomalies, scientific exploration
It sounds as if the acting on Thor didn’t present much of a challenge.
I watched a bunch of physics documentaries, like Physics For Dummies
But by all accounts she had fun on set: a highlight, she says, was punching Tom Hiddleston, who plays the god Loki, in the face.
I did a lot of science and entered science fairs
In 1999, amid Star Wars hysteria, Portman decided to put her career on hold and study psychology at Harvard.
I’d rather be smart than be a movie star
Those college years were invaluable, she now says, “giving me the tools to teach myself”, as well as allowing her a chance to meet a group of un-Hollywood friends.
It’s amazing to be exposed to different things and I’m constantly learning from them. I have a friend who’s a composer, a friend who runs a hedge fund, a friend who’s doing stroke research. What I do, I realise, is a drop in the ocean