Watch Bear Grylls Teach Natalie Portman Her First Survival Skill on ‘Running Wild’

by Lauren Boisvert

Natalie Portman had her first lesson in survival from Bear Grylls recently when she appeared on the premiere episode of “Running Wild” season seven. Grylls also spoke to Outsider’s own Jon D.B. about Portman’s resilience on the show, praising her as “a non-ego lady, a true talent, and a great mum, which is no mean feat when you’ve had her sort of career.”

While in Southern Utah, Natalie Portman received her first survival skill while learning to rappel down the side of a cliff. Bear Grylls taught her how to set her pitons into the rock, thread her rope through them, and set up her harness. Portman was all smiles during the lesson, looking extremely excited but also nervous about her journey down the cliff. She mentioned that the pitons “didn’t look super sturdy, but we’ll see how that holds.”

Video Credit: National Geographic

Next, Grylls taught Portman about the importance of her rappel rope. For the rope that’s threaded through the pitons and through the belay device on the harness, Grylls instructed Portman that her “hand never comes off that.” This rope is what allows a climber to control the momentum as they rappel.

“Lean back, put your weight on it,” said Grylls, and Portman did so, leaning back and letting the rope take her weight. “You let that [rope] slide through your hand gently. But, hand now never comes off that. That is your life. Even if you slip and you whack your face, you never take that hand off. You take that hand off, it’s gone.”

“I feel confident with Bear that he’ll teach me correctly,” Portman said, though her facial expression betrayed nervousness for the actual rappel. She continued with a laugh, “But he definitely does it very quickly.”

Bear Grylls Had Nothing But Praise For Actress Natalie Portman About Her Appearance on ‘Running Wild’

When Bear Grylls spoke to Outsider, he explained that he and Natalie Portman both agreed that a lot of their toughness comes from being parents. Grylls himself has three sons, while Portman has a daughter and son with husband Benjamin Millepied.

“There was definitely a great meeting of minds on this one,” said Grylls. “I think fatherhood, or parenthood, and adventure are strong connections. So I love that episode.”

Bear Grylls also spoke about the strong bonds he creates with his guests on “Running Wild,” and how he holds onto those relationships after the cameras stop rolling. “Nothing creates a bond like being out in the wild and having your life on the line,” he shared. “That brings people very close. And I think ‘Running Wild’ always creates amazing bonds with these guests and I never take that for granted.”

He continued, “Many of the friendships last to this day. That’s the heart of the journey, really. You’re creating strong bonds, and therefore they trust you with their story.”