Working on a Marvel movie, it seems, is something of a bittersweet experience.
Some actors thoroughly enjoy taking on characters, fully embracing roles that involve wire work, motion capture suits, and colorful costumes.
Others, though, have less fun. It’s generally the case, of course, that the more respected an actor becomes, the less they want to be involved with the MCU.
The latest actor to turn her back on Marvel’s conveyer belt of formulaic superhero popcorn flicks is Natalie Portman. This comes as no surprise to anybody who’s been paying attention to the behind-the-scenes world of Marvel moviemaking, as the star of The Phantom Menace has long since been less than enthusiastic about cuddling up to poor old Chris Hemsworth.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Portman not only confirmed that she’s absolutely, definitely not going to appear in Thor: Ragnarok, but also stated that it’ll be a challenge for Marvel to convince her to come back for any movie, ever.
“I don’t know if, maybe, one day they’ll ask for an Avengers 7 or whatever. I have no idea! But as far as I know I’m done.”
It’s interesting that Portman even has a choice – typically, Marvel has ensured that the studio has iron-clad contracts, roping its most bankable stars into multiple sequels. Portman ought to give her agent a bonus for managing to avoid the kind of seven picture deal that Samuel L Jackson signed back at the start of the MCU.
Portman’s not the only Thor supporting actor with misgivings about the entire ordeal. Idris Elba, who once appeared in a movie about giant robots fighting aliens, has previously expressed annoyance at having to be involved in the frivolity that is the MCU.
““I was like, ‘This is torture, man. I don’t want to do this.’ My agent said: ‘You have to, it’s part of the deal.’”
There does seem to be something of a double standard going on with Marvel films – Portman won’t do a third Thor movie, but didn’t complain at doing three Star Wars prequels with scripts that read like teenage fan-fiction. Meanwhile, Idris Elba thinks that Marvel work is “torture” but hasn’t said anything quite so damning of the equally ridiculous Pacific Rim.
Perhaps there’s an issue here with the longevity of these franchises – actors are realizing that once they’re ensnared by the Marvel machine, it’s very difficult to escape. This certainly would explain Portman’s disparaging reference to an expected future “Avengers 7”.
Alternatively, though, this might be about working conditions specific to Thor films. Maybe Chris Hemsworth is a real diva.