Marvel Studios has hired Natalie Portman to star as Jane Foster in the studio’s upcoming Thor adaptation that Kenneth Branagh will direct.

Foster was a nurse who became Thor’s first love in the early comic books and Marvel sourcessaid her character would be updated.

Portman will star opposite Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddleston as his villainous half-brother Loki. Principal photography is set to commence in early 2010 in time for a May 20 2011 release through Paramount.

Marvel head Kevin Feige is producing the story of the Norse warrior from the mythical realm of Asgard who is cast out to Earth s punishment for reckless behaviour.

Portman will next be seen in Jim Sheridan’s drama Brothers opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire and recently wrapped production on Hesher and Don Roos’ Love And Other Impossible Pursuits, both of which she is executive producing through her production company handsomecharlie films.

Portman is represented by Brillstein Entertainment Partners, CAA and George Sheanshang.