This unique, cute, intelligent and talented star is most famous for her roles in Star Wars Movies. Natalie Portman was born on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel. The daughter of an infertility specialist and an artist, Natalie (who uses her grandmother's maiden name in order to protect her privacy) left Israel at the age of 3, and relocated with her family to Maryland, Connecticut, and finally Long Island, New York, where she still resides. Discovered by a modeling scout at a New York pizza parlor at the age of 11, Natalie was not motivated by modeling and wanted to find a more fulfilling job. Although she had no initial desire to become an actress, Natalie developed an interest in performing after attending the Stagedoor Manor Performing Camp for three summers. Her first acting experiences came from her summers at Stagedoor Manor, where she was cast in the theatre performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Cabaret, was the title character in Anne of Green Gables, and performed in Tapestry. Natalie's film career started with her role in the 1994 film, The Professional (a.k.a. Léon), as a hit-man's protégée. The following year, she appeared in the crime-drama Heat, alongside heavy hitters Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, and was noticed in the 1996 film, Beautiful Girls, stealing the screen from another beautiful actress, Uma Thurman. Her role in Beautiful Girls garnered rave reviews for Natalie, and that same year she could be seen in the Woody Allen star-studded musical, Everyone Says I Love You, as well as Mars Attacks!. After having turned down roles in movies such as Lolita, due to her feeling that young actors should not be exposed to sex at such a young age and the role of Juliet in William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, because of the age difference between her and Leonardo DiCaprio, Natalie refused the supporting role in The Horse Whisperer, opting instead to star as Anne Frank in the Broadway production of The Dairy of Anne Frank.
But the role that turned Natalie into more than a Broadway and film actress is that of Queen Padmé Amidala, in the first Star Wars prequel. Her three-film contract, which started with 1999's Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, has transformed her into an historic film character. Ironically, Natalie had never even seen the original three Star Wars movies before being cast by George Lucas. Natalie's graduation from Syosset High School took place the same summer the much-hyped prequel was released. Since her role in Phantom Menace, Natalie has co-starred with Susan Sarandon in Anywhere But Here, and starred in the lead role alongside Ashley Judd in the film adaptation of Where the Heart Is.
Trilingual (Natalie is fluent in Hebrew, English and Japanese) and having shared aspirations of becoming a doctor, Natalie is currently studying Psychology at Harvard University. Often referred to as "the new Audrey Hepburn," Natalie surely has a bright film career ahead of her... if she decides to remain an actress, that is. But having Star Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clones and the untitled Star Wars Episode III aren't bad places to start.
Natalie Portman showcases her linguistic skills!
Hollywood actress Natalie Portman showed a bit of her linguistic skills when she started speaking fluently in German on the sets of her new movie.
The 'Star Wars' actress surprised her co-workers when she revealed her word-perfect language skills on the Berlin set of forthcoming thriller, 'V For Vendetta'.
"Natalie chatted and ordered meals in German .The Germans on the crew really loved her," a source was quoted by Femalefirst as saying.
Multi-lingual Natalie, who graduated from America's prestigious Harvard University two years ago, also speaks fluent French, Hebrew and Japanese.
Natalie Portman: Dangerous liaisons
She speaks three languages, has a Harvard degree in psychology and once turned down the role of Lolita. So what made Natalie Portman decide to play the part of a foul-mouthed lap dancer?
Portman in Closer: 'People say this is my introduction to adult roles - it sounds so funny, as if I am a porn star or something'
A multiple pile-up of destructive love affairs, betrayal and heartbreak, Closer, adapted from Patrick Marber's hit 1990s play and directed by Mike Nichols, is all about sex. Four fatally solipsistic and implausibly good-looking characters (Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman) talk and think about almost nothing else. "One of the most beautiful things about this film is that people have such different reactions to it," says Portman. "Because there's only beginnings and ends of relationships, you have to fill in everything in between. Because the characters only discuss sex, you never see sex, that's all filled in by you."
Wearing jeans, a black polo-neck and a pair of tatty Converse, Portman bears little resemblance to the pink-bobbed, lip-glossed nymphet pouting from the promotional material. For a start, she is much smaller than the camera's obsessive gaze suggests. She is also impossibly fresh-faced and wholesome looking. It is hard to imagine her uttering some of the film's filthiest lines. And yet the part of Alice, a sweet-natured stripper from New York with "the face of an angel" and the chat-up lines of a whore, could have been written for her. A gamine ingenue to Roberts's sophisticated divorcee, she plays this streetwise waif with the same knowing naivety that made the 12-year-old Portman such a disturbingly seductive assassin's helpmate in her first film, Leon. Where she invested the young orphan with a precocious worldliness, she now brings a disconcerting innocence to a very grown-up film.
From the opening credits - in which a slow-motion shot follows Alice in a short skirt and cropped hair as she walks down a London street to the sound of a Damien Rice song - Portman looks a good bet for this year's Oscars. She already has a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress. "When they called me to tell me, I'm like, 'That's nice'," she says. Following her previous role as a kooky, mixed-up teenager in Zach Braff's indie debut Garden State, and a world away from the plaited Queen Amidala in Star Wars, Closer is being heralded as Portman's coming-out movie. You can almost hear the guilty sigh of male relief (the extremely cute and very underage Miss P once rated high in a lads' mag list of "girls you fancy but know you shouldn't"). "People say this is my introduction to adult roles - it sounds so funny, as if I am a porn star or something." Well yes, but she is playing a lap dancer.
The role isn't perhaps such an obvious next move for Portman, who turned down the lead in the 1997 remake of Lolita (she disapproved of the subject matter), Ang Lee's The Ice Storm (too much nudity), and The Horse Whisperer (preferring to play Anne Frank on Broadway). She is very serious about her work - in fact, she is a rather serious person altogether. Clearly, Closer is a serious piece of work - or she would never have agreed to cavort around in little more than a wig and a few artfully placed tassles. "It can be a very moral film in depicting these people in their full brutality, not softening it, not trying to make people more likable," she says.
These characters are monstrous studies in sybaritic excess. Cruel, capricious and incapable of fidelity, with the exception of Alice's youthful idealism, there's barely a redeeming quality between them. Does Portman (who is pleased she never saw the original play as it might have interfered with her own interpretation) think they are realistic? "So many journalists have written, 'I don't know people like this', 'Who are these people?' You can just see the level of denial. If people are honest they can relate to it, and it doesn't just become strange animals acting bizarrely in a zoo. We are all capable of these things."
OK, so I'm in denial. But what about the sex? At 23, Portman is much more comfortable with it all now. "After Leon came out - a film I'm so proud of - it was very strange being 12 years old and having grown men writing me letters. So I've really shied away from that stuff. Now I am more willing to put myself out there in different ways. I'm at a point where it's like, 'Who cares?' I'm a mature person. I can handle it." She finds "the whole stripping thing really, really interesting. You walk into a nice strip club, the ones where the women are treated well - obviously 'well' is debatable - and the women just seem so powerful. Women have full control; they can get whatever they want from these guys. But they realise it is a tacit contract: they are that way because men want them to be like that. Obviously, if the men wanted them on the floor scrubbing their shoes they'd probably be doing that too."
What about those well-publicised rumours of nude scenes (now cut)? "Mike and I made a sort of a contract - not a contract, a decision - that we would try everything, that we would shoot everything, because we have this long relationship, and then we'd make a decision together... I'm not against nudity in films, I just thought it was out of place. I think it would be strange or distracting to have a flash of breasts in the middle of this film, where clearly you don't see anything. I love that mystery. I think the film is better without it." I'm sure her male fans will agree.
Nichols is the only director who she would "trust that completely" not to exploit her. Filming in London took three months, but shooting a period of four years in such a short time, the British weather posed a problem: how to do seasons? But Nichols decided "you know what - it's always like this", so it is left to London to lend a bit of gritty reality to the film. Portman worked with him three years ago on his stage production of The Seagull, and sees a strong connection between Chekhov's heroine and Alice, "both female muses who only tragically take authorship for their lives at the end". Ironically, the actress herself has become something of a muse. Reviewing Closer in the New Yorker, film critic Anthony Lane observed: "Portman's beauty is now so extreme that its sole purpose is the feeding of obsession." That's nice, she says again, when I pass on the compliment.
Would she agree that nearly all her roles, in different ways, have been versions of the nubile naive that made her famous, that they are all child-women? "Absolutely. But we have to remember that almost all films are written and directed by men. Female characters are women imagined by men, so it's always this classic figure of a sexy woman with a childish innocence." So how much of this innocence is for real? "It's not that untrue. A big part is shaped by how you perceive other people wanting you to be. Sometimes I feel like a girl and other times I feel like an ancient woman."
To borrow Marber's memorable phrase, Portman's is not simply "the moronic beauty of youth". In Hollywood, she is famous for being brainy. This is a girl who, we are told, gave Roberts and Law copies of the French structuralist Roland Barthes as mementoes (perhaps she thought Owen wouldn't understand it?). She speaks three languages, and has just graduated from Harvard in psychology, which may account for her studiously analytical answers. In the past she has said she would like to be everything from an astronaut to a psychotherapist. Now she is more guarded: "When I do it, then I'll talk about it. I have interests in trying a million different things."
She has already covered most genres and worked with some of the world's most celebrated directors (including Woody Allen, Michael Mann and George Lucas). So what is there left for her to do? "I'd love to do a film that is really for children - not with guns and fighting, like Star Wars." And not, presumably, with any lap dancing. She would "absolutely love" to work in the West End. But obviously it would have to be the right piece "because so many Hollywood actors come and do the stupidest things".
Her next project, however, has taken her back to Israel, which she considers to be her true home (her father is Israeli and her family moved to the US when she was three). Plans to make The Smoking Room with Slacker director Richard Linklater have been "put off indefinitely", and work is just beginning on a film with Israeli director Amos Gitai. Appropriately, she is to play a Jewish-American girl, and has been busy steeping herself in her native country's history and culture, not only as research but also to explore her own heritage: she has been studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has just finished a novel by David Grossman and is working her way through Yitzhak Rabin's memoirs. While everything in Israel is political, she says, the film is not explicitly so. She speaks passionately about the conflict, but for her, "living in Israel is really beautiful. One of the most shocking things is how peaceful it feels."
And one of the nicest things, she says, is that she has no idea what's going on in Hollywood - she hasn't seen the other films and doesn't know who else is in contention for Oscars. Really? "I think it is a really beautiful thing that we have recognition within our industry - but it's not that important."
A beautiful thing indeed.
· Closer is released on January 14.
Portman admits it was wrong for her to kiss at Jewish temple
Natalie Portman says filming a kissing scene beside Jerusalem's Western Wall for her upcoming movie Free Zone was a mistake.
"I really don't want to offend anyone's beliefs or impose anything on anyone and it was mistaken to do it," Portman told Access Hollywood in an interview broadcast Monday.
The 23-year-old Israeli-born actress and her crew were confronted by ultra-Orthodox Jewish worshippers last week while filming the scene with Israeli actor Aki Avni. The incident underlined the sensitivity of the site, a remnant of the biblical Jewish temples, the holiest place where Jews can pray.
The site is controlled by strictly observant Jews. Male and female worshippers are separated by a barrier perpendicular to the wall, following Orthodox Jewish rules forbidding casual contact between the sexes.
"As soon as it offended people, we moved," Portman said. "We had a very hectic work schedule, so we weren't thinking. We shouldn't have done it."
Portman's Kiss Raises Ruckus in Jerusalem
Natalie Portman, who caused a stir in the sexually suggestive film "Closer," has horrified folks in her homeland with a mere kiss. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish worshippers in Israel objected to the starlet's embracing and kissing scene with her "Free Zone" co-star near Jerusalem's Western Wall on Tuesday, Feb. 22, reports the AP.
The project centers on two women (Portman and Carmen Maura) who embark on a road trip after they are brought together by circumstance. The holy site separates male and female worshippers with a barrier since Orthodox Jewish rules forbid casual contact between the sexes. When worshippers witnessed the amorous display by Portman and the Israeli Aki Avni, they stormed the couple and shouted "Immoral, immoral." Police had to step in and ask the actors to leave.
State law prohibits romantic interaction or acting near the wall. "That code was not followed," says rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch.
The Jerusalem-born Portman can speak fluent Hebrew and has been studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in the past few months.
Portman is Oscar-nominated for her supporting role in "Closer." Her other film credits include "The Professionals," "Beautiful Girls," "Mars Attacks!," "Anywhere But Here," "Where the Heart Is," "Cold Mountain," "Garden State" and the "Star Wars" prequels, with the final one opening nationwide in May.
Natalie Portman to Present at the Oscars
Academy Award®–nominated actress Natalie Portman has been tapped to present at the 77th Academy Awards®, telecast producer Gil Cates announced today. This will be her first appearance as a presenter on the show.
Portman received her first Academy Award nomination this year for her performance in Closer. She is currently on location filming Free Zone and will begin production on V For Vendetta later this year. Portman will be seen next in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Her other film credits include Garden State, Cold Mountain, the previous two "Star Wars" prequels, and Where the Heart Is.
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2004 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland®. The Oscars® will be televised live by the ABC Television Network at 5 p.m. PST / 8 p.m. EST, beginning with a half-hour arrivals segment.
Natalie Portman: ''Closer'' Than Ever
"Closer" is a different kind of film for Natalie Portman: Longtime fans may be more than a little shocked to see the fresh-faced Queen Amidala of "Star Wars" fame playing a pink-wig-bedecked stripper. Portman has notoriously rejected roles she considered too racy, including "The Ice Storm," "The Horse Whisperer" and, most famously, "Lolita." But as she says in this interview, "Closer" — which also stars Jude Law, Julia Roberts and Clive Owen — was far more taxing for her emotionally than physically. The film revolves around the complications arising from an unlikely love quadrangle, and it was a new challenge for the 23-year-old Harvard graduate (real name: Natalie Hershlag), as she told MTV News' Shari Scorca.
MTV: Why did you take this role?
Natalie Portman: Any [part that I read for] that scares me, that I think "Wow, I don't know if I can do this" — that's something I wanna try. A challenge like that keeps you stimulated and interested and obsessed with your work to a degree that you can really get deep into it.
MTV: Was it hard to play a stripper?
Portman: No. People keep focusing on that, and I find the emotional stuff much harder than the physical stuff. That scene was difficult in terms of what's happening between the characters, much more so than the physical aspect of it.
MTV: Did you get self-conscious about your body?
Portman: I was definitely ... you know, I just wanted to make sure that my body was plausible in a strip club, because I had this image that everyone at a strip club had huge breasts and is seven feet tall, but I went and I saw that they had all shapes and sizes. I guess people have different tastes, so as soon as I realized that, I was fine.
MTV: What's it like playing a role with Jude Law?
Portman: Jude is physically beautiful, but his insides match or exceed his outside. He's such a good person and such a smart person and such a fun person and such a good dad. He's just a great, great human being and I think that that's part of his sex appeal, 'cause it really radiates through him.
MTV: This is a very adult film. What should a young woman take from this film?
Portman: I think the greatest thing about this movie is that it doesn't tell you what to think. It just shows you human behavior in sort of a funny and shocking way. And then you take away from it what you bring to it, you know? Everyone has such different, strong reactions [to the film], and it's pretty amazing.
MTV: Can you tell us about your next "Star Wars" role?
Portman: Um, I don't think I can ... I don't think there's anything I could say that people probably don't know already, but we worked really hard and it was a really fun shoot and it's dark and there's great fight sequences and I think it'll be a good film.
Natalie Portman and Zach Braff star in ''Garden State''
It's an odd route from prime-time TV star to indie-flick darling, but Zach Braff has managed to make the trip look positively breezy. The "Scrubs" star enthralled audiences at this year's Sundance Film Festival with "Garden State," his personal, poignant and often hilarious directorial debut.
Braff cast himself as Andrew Largeman, a struggling actor who returns to his New Jersey home for his mother's funeral, and spends the rest of the weekend realizing he has no idea what he's doing with his life. Largeman navigates this emotional minefield while also dealing with his emotionally distant father, and falling in love with Sam (Natalie Portman), a pathological liar with a charm all her own.
Zach, who wrote and directed the film, tapped into several of his own experiences growing up in New Jersey to create the intensely personal story, an approach that helped to snare Portman, who was looking to balance out her blockbuster "Star Wars" work with smaller fare.
MTV News' Vanessa White Wolf sat down with Zach and Natalie to talk about the "quarter-life crisis," how a mix CD helped the movie get made and how Natalie made Method Man nervous.
MTV: I heard that you made a mix CD that you sent out with the script.
Zach Braff: Yeah, I was trying to get the screenplay made, and it was all my favorite music ... the songs that were scoring my life at the time. Even people that would pass on the script would be like, "By the way, I love that mix!" I still run into executives after I've sold the movie that are like, "That mix you gave me is still in my car," which was great for me, because I got to see that there are other people out there that really love this kind of music.
MTV: This really is the perfect college, post-college movie, because it really captures that weirdness of going home, and that weirdness of spending the weekend at home.
Braff: Yeah, when you get out of college. My whole adolescence was geared up to turning 21, being able to drink legally. And you're like, "Yay! But now what?" You get out of college and you have all these ideas, aspirations, and it's really intimidating. You don't know what you're going to do, and that caused me a lot of anxiety and a feeling of lostness, and not knowing where home was anymore. It's a movie about what they're calling the quarter-life crisis.
Natalie Portman: I shot this film during my senior spring at college, so I was in that transition where I thought, "Oh, I'm a grown-up, what am I going to do, what's my meaning, what's my personality?" I've spent the past 20 years trying to be like everyone else and all of a sudden I don't want to be like everyone else. I want to know why I'm different than everyone else, and what sets me apart and what my purpose for being here and being on Earth.
It's overwhelming sometimes, all the choices we have. We live in the most affluent country in the world, and not everyone shares in it obviously, but a lot of young people are pretty comfortable and it's hard to know what you need to do when you can do a lot of things. And you sort of see that emptiness with all these characters in the movie, all the people he meets at home who are prescription-drug addicts or super-rich kids who sit in their pool all day and chase girls.
MTV: We actually did an interview just a couple months ago with Method Man, and he was talking about his experience working on the movie, and he was like "I had to talk about girls' boobs! With Natalie Portman! And it was so fun!"
Braff: I guess he is a big "Star Wars" fan. I'm not sure. It was funny seeing one of the most famous rappers in the world being a little bit shy around Natalie. He had to use some naughty words around her. I think he was a little bashful, but she was cool; she was laughing.
Portman: I was so excited to work with Method Man. I was like expecting there to be a cloud of smoke outside his trailer. Unfortunately, he was so professional and cool, and came so prepared ... I thought I'd leave with all these funny stories, but he was there, and he's so funny in the movie, he's so great. I bet I was more nervous to work with him than he was to work with me.
MTV: So some people have looked at Natalie in this movie and said, "Oh, it's Marty from 'Beautiful Girls,' only 10 years older."
Braff: Yeah, I think what people are relating to is the way Natalie was so uninhibited when she was a kid, and this is really the first adult role she's had where she's back to being so free. I think she had just graduated school, and was just ready to try something new. And thank God she was willing to do a movie this small. There's no action figures for her, but she just came to play.
Portman: I think they’re pretty different characters, actually, because Marty seems like the perfect woman already, and she’s 13 or whatever, and Sam is like the imperfect perfect woman.
I always made fun of Zach, because I think that when guys write things, they write their dream girl. They do things because that’s what the dream girl would do, not because that’s what the character would do. But Zach was wonderful, because most guys would write their dream girls as the blond chick in her underwear who loves sports, and can eat fries and stay 10 pounds and all these ridiculous guy things. And he wrote a girl who’s really bizarre and sort of crazy, and has her own really weird things. And she’s like a big liar and all this weird stuff, but yet she’s a really wonderful person.
Natalie Portman grows up
NATALIE Portman says she cringes when she sees herself half-naked and playing a stripper in Closer.
"It's hard to watch myself up there," she says. "I definitely wish there was a little more shadow on my butt."
But while it may be difficult for Portman, 23, her performance in the dark relationship drama, Closer,is being heralded as her arrival as an adult actress.
Portman and Closer co-star Clive Owen won Supporting Actor Golden Globe awards last week.
Closer is the story of four people whose emotional and sexual lives become intertwined. Portman plays Alice, a young American stripper working in London.
She becomes the lover of a struggling writer, Dan (Jude Law), followed by a doctor, Larry (Owen). Both men are also rivals for the affections of Anna (Julia Roberts), a photographer.
In recalling the day she and director Mike Nichols discussed the nude scene in Closer, Portman says, "When you trust someone as implicitly as I trust Mike, you are ready to do anything, even if that means exposing yourself emotionally and physically."
They agreed Nichols could film the scene several ways. He would choose his preferred option, show it to Portman and see if she agreed. Portman chose a less revealing scene.
"I didn't want to be walking down some street months or years later and catch some guy looking at me knowing he'd probably seen my breasts," she jokes.
"I wanted to make sure that it was plausible that a body like mine would be in a strip club which, when I visited, I saw that they weren't all big-chested 6ft women. There were many variations. As long as it was realistic, it was all good."
Closer spans four years in the lives of its main characters.
The film only shows incidents of high passion including initial meetings, sex, affairs and crippling insults hurled at one another during breakups and fights. In one particularly memorable scene, one of the characters admits to an affair and then goads their partner by describing in intricate detail how wonderful the sex was.
"During the rehearsal period we had, Julia, Jude, Clive and I really got to know each other and become friends," Portman says.
"Then we had to be so awful to each other in certain scenes. That was very hard for me at times."
Portman, Law and Owen are seated at a press conference promoting the film. Roberts was pregnant with twins at the time and was following doctor's orders that she stay off work. None of the actors are finding it easy to describe the film and invariably don't take too kindly to questions asking them to draw parallels between the unlikeable characters and their own lives.
After all, the characters in Closer all do things that no one would like to confess to.
A question about whether Dan, Alice, Larry and Anna are believable brings a loaded response from Owen. "What do you think?" Owen asks. "In your emotional history, you've never experienced any of those scenes in the movie?" The journalist doesn't answer.
A similar question directed to Law produces a similar response. When a journalist chastises the trio for seemingly not answering the questions, Portman jokingly states "there's a lot of tension in this room". As in the film the bleak nature has rubbed off on everybody.
Owen, whose character is particularly nasty, says while there is nothing easy about the subject matter, the dialogue is gripping.
"It's very unusual to hear fantastic dialogue or to hear intelligent people interacting," the British father-of-two says. "It's an adult movie. It's about adults relating. It's about adults having sex. It's for grown-ups. I think all of that is very exciting."
Owen, who is about to appear in Sin City with Bruce Willis and Derailed with Jennifer Aniston, refuses to be drawn on being touted as the next James Bond.
"The Bond rumors have been circulating for a while," he says. "But that's all they are."
Law admits to being weary after a busy 2004 promoting four films Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow, Alfie, I Heart Huckabees and Closer. "I am looking forward to a break from junkets," he sighs.
"I would act for free, but I get paid to do this."
Natalie Portman in "Garden State"
At 23, it would be fair to say that Natalie Portman is a veteran. The Israeli-born actress, who leapt further into our pop cultural consciousness with George Lucas' Star Wars prequel trilogy, is a veteran of Hollywood with almost 16 films to her credit, but also of the press junket roundabout that is part and parcel of her profession. Always ferociously protective when it comes to her private life, despite rumours of her dating actor Gael Garcia Bernal, Portman is clearly passionate about her work and life as one of Hollywood's leading young actresses. Her latest film, the often quirky comedy/drama Garden State, casts Portman as Sam, an acknowledged pathological liar with a warm heart and an irresistibly free-spirited personality, whose relationship with the more morose and introspective Large, paves the way for the latter's development. Sam expresses her uniqueness in a variety of ways in the film, while Portman says she allows her family and relationships to allow her particular uniqueness to manifest itself.
"I think that the most special thing, the thing that makes me happiest and where I feel most myself, is when I'm with my friends, family and people I love and who love me. So I guess when I'm feeling sort of bland, I think of all those relationships, which is how we largely define ourselves. We're uniquely at the centre of all these different relationships and everyone is uniquely at the centre of their own web of relationships," Portman explains. It is these relationships, Portman adds, that keeps her whirlwind Hollywood life grounded. "I mean, there's nothing larger in life than what happens between two people and luckily, as you get older, there are more and more people with whom you have these unique relationships. So it's always very informative about who you are and who they are and understanding everyone better."
Portman has consistently proven that she is far more than a pretty face in the crowd here. Appearing in a myriad of eclectic films of varying scale and scope, Portman completed studying psychology at Harvard, which she sees invaluable in the constant pursuit of her acting career. "One of the greatest things was you learn about yourself and other people at such a crucial point when you study psychology in college, because 18 to 21 is pretty major formative years for self development and relationship development. Hopefully it hasn't messed too much with me, but been more positive, and I always use it in acting stuff because there are so many trends of how people behave, that helps you understand people in a more complex way."
In a film and stage career defined by its sheer diversity, Portman agrees that doing more character-based films such as Garden State is a release having done the larger-than-life Star Wars films. "It definitely brings you down to the essential elements, as there aren't explosions, battles or special effects but really about the characters, story and relationships. So, it definitely makes it more concentrated, where all the energy's concentrated in this one thing instead of dispersed over a larger scene," Portman explains. "The cool thing also with Garden State, was that we didn't have the time and budget to do lighting setups for two hours, so we just had to keep barrelling forward, going and going and just shooting non-stop so I also think that sense of urgency and energy of that really carried over into the film."
Portman says that she doesn't think she shares much with Sam in Garden State, but then reflectively concedes that she has "a sort of silly, kooky side to myself and you always take a part of yourself for the character, but obviously I mean, it's a character. She's a girl working a boring job in New Jersey, coming up against a disease that she's had since she was little and the disappointment of that and what it did to her hopes and she's obviously had a very different life experience than I do."
Portman also concedes that the likes of the Star Wars films have enabled her to participate in these smaller films. "It's a wonderful opportunity that I've had to be in those films because it does get people more familiar with you and hopefully I would make them see other things that you're working on." Portman says that she finished principal photography on Episode III last year, but is heading to London soon for reshoots. As to what she will actually be reshooting, Portman offers a slight laugh. "I haven't been told anything so for all I know, it could be like walking, an insert shot of my hands, or a whole new storyline, so I will be as surprised as you are."
Star Wars has been a part of Portman's life over the past seven years, and is philosophical when asked if, in some way, she will be relieved when the final component of the trilogy is laid to rest. "I think there's always an excitement to start a new phase and always a little bit of sadness of leaving the last phase. Obviously, having made three Star Wars films has been 10 years of my life from when I signed on to when it finally will come out, and being 23, that's really significant obviously. I've met some amazing people and it's been a really unique experience, so obviously, I look back on it and it was part of forming who I am now and so I am happy to start something new."
One of those is the new Mike Nichols film, Closer, which also stars Clive Owen, Jude Law and Julia Roberts. Portman says "we just play four individuals who have very complex relationships." Working with Nichols for the first time since he directed her in The Seagull in Central Park , Portman has retained a close relationship with this most acclaimed of directors. "It's just so amazing to work with someone who's one of my best friends. If I have a problem with a boyfriend or a friend or life or decisions or what movie to do, or where to go on vacation, he's the one I go running to. He's my best friend, my mentor, and like the father I can talk to about boys because he's not actually my father. Working with someone I know that well was really freeing too because I just trusted him so much and I just know that he has me in his best interests and I have him in mine."
As distinguished as Portman is a film actress, she is just as regarded as an accomplished stage performer, having conquered Broadway in a 1998 revival of The Diary of Anne Frank. Portman hopes to return to the stage in the near future. "I'd love to do something contemporary by a new, current writer, which would be really exciting. I've had the incredible opportunity to play these really challenging parts, but I'd love to do something challenging and contemporary because all the stuff I've done is period on stage." As for the rumour that she may be the next Lois Lane, Portman offers very little. "I personally haven't heard anything about it. I know there are rumors about it online because reporters keep asking about it but I don't really know, nor have I read it or anything."
Yet it seems that there is far more in Portman's vast acting repertoire to emerge, beyond a galaxy far, far, away.
Portman for boarding school drama
Natalie Portman is likely to front a TV series set in an American boarding school.
The Attack of the Clones star is being targeted by some New York friends to front their series about a boarding school plagued by "drugs, elitism and pretentiousness".
The show will be written by Taylor Materne, Hobson Brown and Jatdine Linare and they hope that Portman will participate, reports PageSix.com.
Materne says: "We are not trashing specific boarding schools. We are just giving an honest portrayal."
Natalie Portman had to work extra hard at college
Natalie Portman claims she had to work extra hard at college – to prove to her peers she deserved a place on the course.
The 23-year-old actress, who attended America’s prestigious Harvard University, admits she was worried her classmates would think she only got in because she was famous.
She explained to Britain’s Telegraph Magazine: “We all live in a culture of celebrity, but my college peers were unimpressed. If anything, I felt I had to prove myself.
If I said something stupid in class, they’d look at each other like, ‘I know why she got in.’
But that’s a good challenge.”
Natalie Portman Hounded By Press Over Her Breasts
PORTMAN DEVASTATED BY BREAST INFATUATION
NATALIE PORTMAN's quest to mature like a normal girl after her movie debut in LEON was shattered by the media's obsession with her growing breasts.
The actress, then 12, was desperate to discover her sexual identity away from the limelight, but was left sickened by male fans' deviant fascination with the development of her bust - a craze that men's magazines around the world zoned in on.
And Portman recalls with disgust the occasion she read an article which studied pictures of the two bumps penetrating her T-shirt.
She says, "I wanted to stay away from doing overtly sexual roles because I didn't want my public image to interfere with my personal development.
"After Leon, it was such an experience. I realised that people could take it and make it their own thing. All of a sudden I was reading reviews that were talking about the development of my breasts under my T-shirt, and that was so upsetting to me as a 12-year-old to read about.
"You know, men writing about me in that way."
Natalie Portman 'more like chocolate bar than a sex object'
Natalie Portman says she is more like a chocolate bar than a sex object.
The beautiful star confessed she had a lot of unwanted attention from middle-aged men after starring in 'Leon' aged 12 - but says since 'Star Wars' she has gratified fans of a different kind.
The now 23-year-old explained: "It can be pretty unsettling to realise you are considered a sex object at the age of 12 after 'Leon'.
"It's nice now to have 10-year-old fans and not just old men - who are all smiles when they meet 'Star Wars'' Queen Amidala - as if they have just been given a Snickers bar."
The Golden Globes winner added: "It makes me happy to have the same effect on people as a bar of chocolate."
Meanwhile, Natalie is reportedly planning to snub the Oscars - because she's too nervous.
The actress, who is up for Best Supporting Actress in new movie 'Closer', has told friends she is too intimidated by next month's glamorous ceremony to turn up.
A source revealed: "She doesn't like the glitz and glamour. She almost didn't make it to last weekend's Golden Globes because she was panicking about what she was wearing. The Oscars is ten times worse."
Meanwhile, the former child star has hinted she may quit Hollywood.
The stunning 23-year-old actress, who has a degree from America's prestigious Harvard University, says although she loves making movies at the moment, she won't be acting for the rest of her life.
The screen beauty - who starred in the cult film 'Leon' at the tender age of 13 - revealed: "I've never been a person who says this is the only thing I'll ever do.
Acting is interesting to me right now, but I know how much I change."
Natalie Portman In Awe Of Third World Women
PORTMAN PRAISES WOMEN IN DEVELOPING NATIONS.
Campaigning movie star NATALIE PORTMAN is in awe of illiterate women in developing nations who can still run a successful business while looking after 10 children.
The beautiful STAR WARS actress works for micro-finance organisation FINCA, which gives loans to females in third-world countries, and she's visited Uganda and Guatemala as part of her duties.
She says, "There are women my age with 10 kids on a dollar a day, with inadequate food and water and medicine, and everyone is dying of AIDS and malaria.
"Many of these women are illiterate and have to sign their loan cheques with a fingerprint and yet they are running successful businesses, paying their loans back on time and sending their kids to university from the money they make from their businesses. It's humbling."
Natalie Portman apologizes for 'feeling black'
Natalie Portman has been forced to apologise after she was branded "insensitive" for apparently saying she knows what it feels like to be black.
The actress sparked controversy when Allure magazine published an interview she had given them, including the quote: "I'm not black, but I know what it feels like."
However, the 'Star Wars' beauty has now written a letter of apology, claiming she didn't mean to cause any offence.
She is quoted by Britain's IMDB website as saying: "I sincerely, and with my deepest regrets for offending any readers, apologise and apologise and apologise. This has hurt me deeply, and I will do my best to be more thoughtful and articulate in the future."
Natalie - who was born in Jerusalem, Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew - also claimed her words were taken out of context.
She said: "If I had spoken more articulately, I might have conveyed what I truly feel: I could never know what it is like to be a black American.
The 'it' I was referring to when I said, 'I know what it feels like, ' was not intended to signify that I know 'how black people feel' but rather that I know what Dubois' ('Souls of Black Folk' author W.E.B Dubois) concept of double- consciousness feels like.
"Had my quote included what I actually said preceding that statement, perhaps my meaning would have been clearer."
Natalie Portman Dating Killers Son?
Hollywood beauty NATALIE PORTMAN is reportedly romancing the son of two infamous American murderers.
The 23-year-old LEON star has been spotted out on dates with university graduate CHESA BOUDIN, the son of radical Weather Underground members KATHY BOUDIN and DAVID GILBERT, who were jailed for murder after the notorious Brinks robbery in Nyack, New York, in 1981.
Two police officers and one Brinks employee were killed in the hold-up.
Kathy was released from prison last year (03) on parole, while David remains incarcerated.
But Portman is so attracted to Boudin, she's refusing to let his family history prevent her from sparking up a relationship with him, according to Britain's THE SUN newspaper.
Natalie Portman's Full Frontal Nude Ban
NICHOLS REMOVES PORTMAN'S NUDE SCENES
Actress NATALIE PORTMAN ordered director MIKE NICHOLS to remove her full frontal nude scenes from her latest movie CLOSER - despite playing a stripper in the film.
Nichols is very protective of the 23-year-old beauty and agreed the topless footage was acceptable, but decided raunchy shots of her fully nude were gratuitous and should be deleted from the drama.
Portman explains, "He wants to see my bare ass much less than (even) my father would.
"He's as or more protective of me than my parents are. So doing sexual, physical stuff for him felt very uncomfortable."