Accomplished actress Natalie Portman was Bear Grylls’ guest on the season seven premiere of “Running Wild,” and she got to add something else to her résumé at the end of the episode: rappelling. In the Escalante Desert of Southern Utah, Grylls taught Portman how to hammer pitons into the rock and set up her harness for rappelling down the cliff face. He gave her the first lesson of rappelling, which is your hand never leaves the rope. Even if you slip and hit your head, you never let go.
After that lesson, Portman seemed a little nervous, mentioning that she felt “confident with Bear that he’ll teach me correctly, but he definitely does it very quickly.” But, Portman took to rappelling like a pro. She came to the experience with an open mind, plenty of spirit, and her usual grace and composure.
Later in the episode, Bear Grylls and Natalie Portman took a break to discuss how adventuring and Portman’s work in the Marvel Universe are so similar. Recently, Portman starred in the new “Thor: Love and Tunder” film, and has done work in the previous “Thor” films as well.
Natalie Portman and Bear Grylls Talk Marvel, Getting Fit for ‘Thor,’ and How It Compares to ‘Running Wild’
“It’s amazing to be part of that Marvel kind of family,” said Grylls while they sat on the edge of a cliff. “Are you excited about that?”
“Oh yeah, I pinch myself every day,” Portman replied. “I’m like, ‘this is really, really, cool.” They discussed the difference between her character, the Mighty Thor, and Chris Hemsworth’s character, Thor, and then Grylls asked Portman how she feels having made space for a woman in that role.
“I loved that they had it as a Thor,” she replied. “Thor is like a concept, not necessarily a singular person. And I’m excited to make a movie that my son likes,” she said with a smile. They spoke about her training for the movie, which aided Portman in the physical experiences on “Running Wild.” Grylls asked about the differences between getting fit for “Thor” and getting fit for “Black Swan.” In that film, Portman portrayed a ballet dancer, and had a much different workout routine.
Portman explained the differences in technique for “Black Swan,” where she had to learn to express her emotions through dance. In contrast, she said there’s “flexibility in ‘Thor,'” where she can mix up her workouts and do different activities.
“It’s a privilege to adventure with the Mighty Thor,” said Bear Grylls, to which Natalie Portman responded in kind. The two then grabbed their gear and finished their hike to the top of the cliff.