Actress to play Jane Foster in Marvel pic

Marvel Studios has found its love interest for “Thor,” tapping Natalie Portman to star opposite Chris Hemsworth in the comicbook pic.

Portman will play an updated version of the Jane Foster character, a nurse who becomes Thor’s first love.

In the pic, the actions of Thor, an arrogant Norse warrior, reignites an ancient war, and as a result, he’s cast down to Earth, where he is forced to live among humans as punishment. Once there, 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.

Paramount will distrib the pic, helmed by Kenneth Branagh, on May 20, 2011. Production starts early next year. Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige is producing.

Portman’s involvement in the pic had been rumored for months and she had long been the main contender for the female lead.

Portman, who is currently shooting Universal’s comedy “Your Highness,” under the helm of David Gordon Green, and will also star in Darren Aronofsky’s supernatural thriller “Black Swan,” will next be seen in Jim Sheridan’s “Brothers,” opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire.

She recently wrapped production on “Hesher,” produced by her Handsomecharlie Films banner, and Don Roos’ “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits,” which she also executive produced.

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