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Creator / Natalie Portman

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"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."
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Neta-Lee Hershlag, known professionally as Natalie Portman (born June 9, 1981 in Jerusalem, Israel), is an Israeli-American actress, film producer and film director.

Her breakout role was Mathilda in The Professional, and the role that raised her profile was Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. She has since been nominated for three Academy Awards — one of which she won (Best Actress for her role of Nina in Black Swan).

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


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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.
  • Brainy Brunette: She graduated from Harvard University and is known to have an IQ of 140.
  • 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. Winona Ryder is also sometimes mistaken for her.
  • Celebrity Voice Actor: As Darcy in an episode of The Simpsons.
  • Character Tics: According to some sources, she has a habit of playing with her toes during interviews.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: In the SNL sketch "Natalie's Rap".
  • Creator Backlash:
    • She has gone on retrospective record stating that she was unhappy with the contribution to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope that many have taken her character in Garden State for.
    • She was very disappointed that most of the critical and fan reaction to her role in Wes Anderson's 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 to her underwear 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 one...so I definitely shied away from it."
    • She signed onto the first Thor movie under the impression that Patty Jenkins (who would have been the first woman to direct a modern superhero movie and ironically enough ended up being that with Wonder Woman (2017)) was to direct the sequel, Thor: The Dark World. Jenkins left the project under amicable terms but Portman tried to leave with her. She was contractually tied to the movie and had to stay. She was unhappy with the final product, especially with Jane being a love interest and Living Macguffin. She's since come back around to the MCU starting in 2019, with a cameo in Avengers: Endgame note  and a vastly-increased role in Thor: Love and Thunder (in which Jane becomes an Action Girl who gets her own superpowers). In addition, she also was announced to be part of the cast of What If...? from the first season onward.
  • Cunning Linguist: She is a native speaker of English and Hebrew and also speaks Arabic, Japanese, German and French.
  • 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.
  • I Am Not Spock: "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.
  • Role Reprise: Natalie said she was "done" with the MCU after Thor: The Dark World. She ended up changing her mind a couple years later and reprising the role of Jane Foster for Avengers: Endgame (sort of), Thor: Love and Thunder, and What If...?.
  • 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. Since she started so young her parents wanted to protect her privacy as well as her dad’s medical practice/academic work. want 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. Ironically, the same film almost ruined her career as an actress at the same time it was making her well-known.
  • 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, My Blueberry Nights and Vox Lux.
    • 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.
  • Traumatic Haircut: In terms of being the page image. Averted otherwise.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Her Star-Making Role (see above) could've been much earlier. She was cast as Juliet in William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, except screen-tests apparently made it appear as though 21-year old DiCaprio was "molesting" the then 14-year old Portman (which is actually rather accurate to the original play: Juliet was thirteen).
    • Christina Ricci said once that a lot of the movies she made during the late 90s-early 00s were films Natalie Portman had turned down, although she didn't say which films exactly. The Ice Storm is one of them however.
    • She was very enthusiastic about returning to her role as Jane Foster for The Avengers, but she was very pregnant at the time. Becomes sadder in retrospect when she would not enjoy her reprise of Jane in Thor: The Dark World.
    • She turned down the role in Anywhere But Here initially because the script contained a sex scene for her character. Director Wayne Wong and Susan Sarandon (who played her mother) insisted on a rewrite. When Natalie saw the rewrite, she signed on.
    • She was cast as Lizzie Bennett in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but had to drop out and was replaced with Lily James. She remained on as producer.
    • She shot a nude scene for Closer where Jane strips off in front of Larry. She and Mike Nichols decided not to use it, feeling the scene was effective enough without nudity.
    • David Fincher strongly considered her for Lisbeth Solander in his remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Natalie turned it down due to exhaustion and it ended up becoming a Star-Making Role for Rooney Mara. Later in 2017, the reverse situation happened in Vox Lux, where Rooney Mara was originally cast in the leading role before it went to Natalie.
    • She turned down playing Gail Harris in All the Money in the World, which instead went to Michelle Williams. This also meant she avoided being caught up in the controversy when the film's original star Kevin Spacey was revealed as a sexual predator.
    • She was supposed to voice Nausicaa in the English dubbing of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, but the role eventually went to Alison Lohman.

 
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Video Example(s):

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Evey's torturing headshave (V for Vendetta)

Refusing to cooperate, Evey's torture begins with her sobbing while she is forcefully headshaved to a prisoner's buzz cut. (Fun fact, altrought Evey is clearly suffering, the actress who interpreted her, Natalie Portman wanted to shave her head)

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