Creator / Natalie Portman

"I don't know if acting is what I want to do for the rest of my life, it's just what I've, you know, ended up doing when I was little, and I've kinda grown up with it."

Neta-Lee Hershlag, known professionally as Natalie Portman (born June 9, 1981), is an Israeli-American actress, film producer and film director probably best known for playing Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. She has since moved on to other notable roles and even three Academy Award nominations—one of which she won (Best Actress for her role of Nina in Black Swan).

Not to be confused with Keira Knightley, who looks a bit like her (and played a decoy of her character in The Phantom Menace).

She is married to the French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied. They have two children.

Her Films:

This actress provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: In several of her best-known roles, including Mathilda in The Professional and Padmé in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, she proves to be really handy with a gun.
  • Awesome, Dear Boy:
    • She did V for Vendetta because she'd wanted to shave her head for a while.
    • Her reaction to Thor - "Kenneth Branagh's directing Thor? I've gotta do it" - and she loved the idea of playing a scientist, showing young girls that they could be scientists too if they wanted.
  • Bald Woman: In V for Vendetta. She even sported her hairless look at the premiere of Star Wars Episode III.
  • Career Resurrection: Although Star Wars made her famous, her infamously wooden performance (now agreed to be the fault of George Lucas's writing and directing) led to people doubting her acting abilities for years. It wasn't until Black Swan that she properly won her detractors over.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: To Keira Knightley. This was exploited well before Knightley became a star in The Phantom Menace, where she played the Queen Amidala's decoy. Both have said that when in full makeup and costume, their own mothers couldn't tell them apart.
  • Celebrity Voice Actor: As Darcy in an episode of The Simpsons.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: In the SNL sketch "Natalie's Rap".
  • Creator Backlash:
    • She was very disappointed that most of the critical and fan reaction to her short film Hotel Chevalier focused on her having a nude scene, and decided to swear off doing them in the future (while she filmed several nude scenes for Closer prior to this, director Mike Nichols had cut them from the film, and in films such as Your Highness, the shot that is supposedly her stripping naked to bathe was a body double).
      "It really depressed me that half of every review ... was about the nudity."
    • A similar reaction came from her role in Beautiful Girls, and she was uncomfortable with the reaction to her being a sex symbol while she was still underage. She turned down the role in Lolita because of it.note 
      "And there's a surprising preponderance of that kind of role for young girls. Sort of being fantasy objects for men, and especially this idealized purity combined with the fertility of youth, and all this in I definitely shied away from it."
  • Doing It for the Art: She was so dedicated to Black Swan that she signed on before they even had a finished script. During production, the budget was tight, so Natalie told them to get rid of her trailer so they could afford a medic. She also paid out of her own pocket for all the extra ballet training.
  • Dyeing for Your Art:
    • She shaved her hair off onscreen in one take for V for Vendetta.
    • She lost fifty pounds and did six months of ballet training for Black Swan.
  • Enforced Method Acting: In order to drum up the resentment between Natalie and Mila Kunis in Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky pitted the two of them against each other. Reportedly he kept telling each of them that the other was doing a better job.
  • Fake Brit: She's done a few - V for Vendetta, The Other Boleyn Girl, and Your Highness. Fans are split over her accent in the former, but it's agreed that she improved over time.
  • Former Child Star: Averted, as she is even more successful now than as a child actor.
  • I Am Not Spock: invoked "I Am Not Padmé Amidala."
  • Image Source: Little Miss Badass (As Mathilda in The Professional.)
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: A number of her roles are of a character who is in an unplanned pregnancy, probably most famous Revenge of the Sith. In at least one of her roles (The Other Boleyn Girl) she desperately wanted to get pregnant but couldn't.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Most notably in Attack of the Clones, where she bares her midriff, thanks to Clothing Damage by a Nexu, and Hotel Chevalier, where she is undressed to nothing but her socks when making love to Jason Schwartzman's character (she would have regrets on the latter). She also had several full nude scenes in Closer, but the director cut them from the movie (but she still plays a stripper and appears in skimpy outfits).
  • Old Shame:
    • She has said that Star Wars almost 'ruined her career' due to what was perceived as a bad performance, and that the only thing which helped her career turn the corner was Mike Nichols (who she'd worked with in a play) personally vouching for her to be cast in Cold Mountain.
    • But she regards Everyone Says I Love You as her worst performance, due to her inability to improvise.
  • The Other Marty: She replaced Eva Green in Closer.
  • Playing Against Type: As a Manic Pixie Dream Girl in Garden State. Hilariously she was also considered for the Trope Namer Claire in Elizabethtown.
  • Romance on the Set: She married Benjamin Millepied, who was her dance instructor on Black Swan, and had a small role as a man who turns up his nose when the director says "would you fuck that girl?"
    Accepting her Golden Globe for Best Actress.
    "He's the best actor. It's not true, he totally wants to sleep with me!"
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: Of course Keira Knightley in The Phantom Menace. Keira later said that she would often double for Natalie in some scenes if she'd been tired and wanted to go home early.
  • Stage Name: Her birth name is Neta-Lee Hershlag. Portman was her grandmother's maiden name. She used the name "Hershlag" in one of the sketches when she hosted Saturday Night Live.
  • Star-Making Role: While she had been in several critically acclaimed movies for years beforehand (her film debut in The Professional being the most notable), her role as Padme Amidala in Star Wars pushed her to household name status.
  • Teasing from Behind the Language Barrier: Used as a joke in an Inside the Actors Studio issue, where she said a line in Hebrew (at the very end of this interview part) and then, when asked of its meaning, playfully answered: "It's for me to know and you to find out". Since then, people on the Internet have been asking about it. (If you want to know, what she said is: In a month, I'm going to Israel to study at the University.) Besides, she mentioned in an interview that she likes using Hebrew as a secret language.
  • Those Two Actors:
    • With Jude Law in Cold Mountain, Closer, and My Blueberry Nights.
    • With Julia Roberts in Everyone Says I Love You and Closer.
    • She has starred with her Star Wars co-stars Samuel L. Jackson in Thor, Hayden Christensen in New York I Love You, and Ewan McGregor and Joel Edgerton in Jane Got a Gun.
    • Pablo Larrain stated that the casting process of Jackie intentionally plays this trope. Most of the cast has worked with Portman at one point for screen chemistry's sake.
  • What Could Have Been: