Natalie Portman Cast In 'Thor'

Actress will play the Norse god's love interest in 2011 Marvel Studios film.

By Odin's beard! The next big Hollywood caped crusader has finally landed his female love interest. [movieperson id="165263"]Natalie Portman[/movieperson] is the newest castmember to join "Thor," the eagerly anticipated film debut for a five-decades-old Marvel comic character.

The 2011 film continues the cinematic universe recently launched by Marvel Studios, uniting last year's hits "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk" while building to 2012's "The Avengers," which will bring many of the heroes (and stars) together.

The Academy Award-nominated Portman has been cast as Jane Foster, a character who was a nurse in the early "Thor" comics (debuting in August 1962) and then became the first earthbound love of the superheroic Norse god of thunder. Foster worked for Thor alter ego Donald Blake, engaged in an unsuspecting love triangle with the duo, then eventually traveled to his realm in Asgard and was even granted godlike powers briefly.

Marvel Studios has confirmed that "the character will be updated for the feature adaptation" in announcing the signing of Portman, whose name had been rumored for the role in recent months. Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige has stated on numerous occasions that all the actors for the "universe" films are signed to multiple sequels both in the franchise and beyond, which would imply that Portman's story line could someday expand beyond the "Thor" movies, à la Samuel L. Jackson. The inclusion of the Foster character would also imply that "Thor" will spend much of its time in our world rather than Asgard.

Principal photography on "Thor" is scheduled for early 2010; the film will be released in the U.S. on May 20, 2011, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Portman will star opposite relative newcomer Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddleston as his villainous brother Loki. Director Kenneth Branagh has been hard at work on pre-production tests in recent months.

In announcing the Portman signing, the studio also offered up a tantalizing plot description: "Marvel Studios expands its film universe with a new type of superhero: Thor. This epic adventure spans the Marvel Universe; from present-day Earth to the realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is the Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth."

A geek favorite who began her career at age 12 with the beloved hit man flick "The Professional," Portman has since gone on to play Anakin and Leia's mother in the "Star Wars" series. In 2005, the actress dipped her toe into comic book waters, starring in the big-screen adaptation of Alan Moore's "V for Vendetta."

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