the actress who preferred to "be smart" to a star

Los Angeles (USA), Jun 8 (EFE) .- She has been a teenage star ("The professional. Léon"), cult actress ("Black Swan") and star of millionaire franchises (Star Wars, Marvel) . Natalie Portman enjoys one of the most eclectic careers in Hollywood in her 40s, an industry in which she knew how to navigate so as not to fall on the list of broken toys of the 90s.

In her favor, she says that she started in the cinema when she was 13 years old, after being discovered by an agent in a pizzeria. But that early debut could have been her biggest hurdle in an industry that, even today, hypersexualizes teenage girls and doesn't know what roles to offer when they mature.

"I began to choose scenes that were less sexy because I was worried about the way they perceived me and how safe I felt," she recalled this Christmas in an interview with comedian Dax Shepard.

After starring in "The Professional (Léon)" (1994), "Heat" (1995) and "Beautiful Girls" (1996), the latter in the role of a teenage girl who has a relationship with an older man, Portman was fully aware branded as a Hollywood "lolita". Another teenager turned into a fetish for producers and casting directors, mostly men.

They may be on completely different shots now, but for a moment Portman walked a path similar to that of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, whose careers are now undergoing a review process.

"At that age, you have your own sexuality, you have your own desire, you want to explore things. But you don't feel safe when there are older men who are interested and you say to yourself: 'No, no, no, no,'" she explained Portman.

Starting in 1996 and with the support of her parents, who supervised (and cut out) the scenes in which her daughter appeared, the actress turned down roles such as Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo and Juliet", due to her age difference with Leonardo DiCaprio , or the modern version of "Lolita", which finally starred Jeremy Irons and Dominique Swain.

His refusal to film nudes that were not strictly necessary for the plot led to several conflicts with the studios, but on the other hand the public and critics were surrendered to one of the greatest promises in Hollywood at the time when the careers also took off by Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and DiCaprio.

Setting limits and earning the fame of "tough" sometimes does not go well in the world of cinema, but Portman knew how to manage his career in such a way that at the age of 16 he had already signed for one of the great franchises, "Star Wars", as part of the fixed cast in the new trilogy of the galactic phenomenon.

"I would rather be smart than a movie star"

At the age of 18, when he released "The Phantom Menace" (1999), Portman enrolled at Harvard University to study psychology.

"I don't care if college ruins my career. I'd rather be smart than a movie star," he then told reporters.

The actress came from an academic family where education and culture were valued, "becoming a teacher, doctor and lawyer". In fact, his parents closely watched Portman's path in Los Angeles and insisted that he devote more time to training.

During his college years he continued to record the remaining Star Wars installments in the summers and stepped onto the Broadway stage with Meryl Streep in Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull."

Her big comeback came with Mike Nichols' "Closer" (2004), which earned her a Golden Globe, Oscar nomination and confirmed her new status as an adult actress.

During this stage he combined failures such as "Los fantasmas de Goya" (2006), filming for which he visited Spain, along with phenomena such as "V for Vendetta" (2005), for which he appeared completely bald in promotional events. after filming the famous scene where he shaves his head.

"We only had one attempt to shoot that scene, but we tried other times with other members of the crew who volunteered," said the actress.


In 2010, two years after making her directorial debut with the short "Eve," came Portman's big role: "Black Swan." He won the Oscar, the Golden Globe, the BAFTA and the Screen Actors Guild Award. He was 30 years old and had won practically everything. But she would receive another nomination at 35 for portraying Jacqueline Kennedy in "Jackie."

Portman has managed to move again and has signed up to the highest grossing saga of the decade, Marvel, with the "Thor" films, whose third installment will be released in 2022.

As if his resume were meager, he has a cameo in "Avengers: Endgame," the highest-grossing film in history. An enviable trajectory for a career that has spanned three of its four decades of life.

Javier Romualdo


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