Date of Birth
9 June 1981, Jerusalem, Israel
5′ 3″ (1.60 m)
Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem, the only child of a doctor father (from Israel) and an artist mother (from Cincinnati, Ohio), who also acts as Natalie’s agent. She left Israel for Washington, D.C., when she was still very young. After a few more moves, her family finally settled in New York, where she still lives to this day. She graduated with honors, and her academic achievements allowed her to attend Harvard.
She was discovered by an agent in a pizza parlor at the age of 11. She was pushed towards a career in modeling but she decided that she would rather pursue a career in acting. She was featured in many live performances, but she made her powerful film debut in the movie Leon: The Professional (1994) (aka “Léon”). Following this role Natalie won roles in such films as Heat (1995), Beautiful Girls (1996), and Mars Attacks! (1996).
It wasn’t until 1999 that Natalie received worldwide fame as Queen Amidala in the highly anticipated US$431 million-grossing prequel Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999). She then she starred in two critically acclaimed comedy dramas, Anywhere But Here (1999) andWhere the Heart Is (2000), followed by Closer (2004/I), for which she received an Oscar nomination.
IMDb Mini Biography By: TrendEkiD@aol.com
Turned down a role in The Horse Whisperer (1998) to act in “The Diary of Anne Frank” on Broadway.
Graduated from Syosset High School, Syosset, New York. [29 June 1999]
Has been a vegetarian since the age of 8.
Has taken dance lessons since the age of 4.
Says that math was her favorite subject in school “because there’s always an answer.”
Stated in a TV interview that with the exception of the Star Wars prequels, she will not act for the next four years in order to concentrate on studying at Harvard University. 
Can speak two languages, Hebrew and English (her native languages), fluently. Also knows some conversational French, German, and Japanese and Spanish.
Originally turned down the role of Ann August in the film Anywhere But Here (1999) because of the love scene between herself and Corbin Allredthat required nudity. Susan Sarandon, who had co-star approval, said she couldn’t continue the movie without Portman, so the script was re-written without the scene and she accepted the role.
Was a member of the environmental song and dance troupe The World Patrol Kids under her real name, Natalie Hershlag.
She is an only child.
She went to Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Camp in 1994 and 1995 where she was Anne in “Anne of Green Gables” in 1994 and “Tapestry” in 1995.
She was discovered in a pizza parlor and was originally turned down for the role of Mathilda in Leon: The Professional (1994) because she was too young.
Before she was cast in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), she had never seen the original Star Wars trilogy. She admitted toJames Lipton on “Inside the Actor’s Studio” in 2004 that before being cast she didn’t know the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek.
Moved to the US when she was 3 years old.
Said would never be in a horror movie or any other “Jennifer Love Hewitt type” film
Has said in interviews that when she gets older, she would like to be a doctor like her father.
Was reportedly caught using a fake ID trying to sneak into Boston club called the Roxy. The performer Moby insisted that she was invited by him and refused to perform unless she was admitted. She was admitted, and security watched her as she stood in the back, watched the show, and didn’t drink. She later stated in an online interview that the story about sneaking into the Roxy club in Boston was not true and that she and her friends went home after they were denied entrance.
Takes pride in the fact that she is a role model for girls and choses roles that are positive so that they will have a positive role model to look up to.
Her father is a fertility specialist.
Auditioned for Little Women (1994).
Became interested in acting after spending three summers at the prestigious (and expensive) Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Camp.
Is very close to her parents and says, “The best part about being friends with your parents is that no matter what you do, they always love you.”
Grew up in Syosset, Long Island, New York, where she still resides.
Dated Lukas Haas. [July 2001]
Was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine in 2002.
Natalie was born on her mother’s 29th birthday.
One of Teen People Magazine’s 25 Hottest Stars under 25 
Went to Usdan Camp for the arts as a child.
The makeup brand Stila has a lip gloss named after her.
As of November 2010, she has appeared on “Late Show with David Letterman” (1993) 15 times.
Voted the 15th Sexiest Female Movie Star in the Australian Empire Magazine September 2002.
Graduated from Harvard College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2003 with a Artium Baccalaureus degree in Psychology.
Has a passion for travel. In late 2003 and early 2004 she travelled alone to Morocco and Guatemala.
Favorite actor is Ben Kingsley.
Is trained in ballet, jazz, and tap dancing.
She has worked with a several of her co-stars twice: Ashley Judd in Heat (1995) and Where the Heart Is (2000); Lukas Haas in Mars Attacks!(1996) and Everyone Says I Love You (1996); ‘Julia Roberts’ in Everyone Says I Love You (1996) and Closer (2004/I); Jude Law in Cold Mountain(2003) and Closer (2004/I); Philip Seymour Hoffman in the play The Seagull and Cold Mountain (2003); John Carroll Lynch in Beautiful Girls(1996) and Anywhere But Here (1999). She has also worked for director Mike Nichols on two occasions: for the play The Seagull and Closer(2004/I).
As a young girl, she was an understudy for the lead character in the off-Broadway show, “Ruthless,” alongside Britney Spears. They still keep in touch, and recently threw a party together in New York City.
Fashion designer Zac Posen refers to her as his “muse.”
Both she and Sofia Coppola have played the daughter of a character played by Al Pacino, and also both appeared in a film featuring Pacino andRobert De Niro. Sofia Coppola was in all three Godfather films (though she had only an uncredited part in the 2nd), and Portman was in Heat(1995). Portman and Coppola appeared together in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999).
Her comedic influences are Lily Tomlin and Diane Keaton. She said in an interview, “I love Lily Tomlin and I love Diane Keaton. They’re sort of my heroes. Diane Keaton can do anything. She’s just the best there is.”
Has a song named after her by the band TeamSleep.
She spoofed her role in Star Wars before becoming involved in the series. In Mars Attacks! (1996), she gives a medal to Lukas Haas in a scene resembling the award ceremony at the end of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977). The medals were given out by Princess Leia, the daughter of Portman’s future character, Queen Amidala. In addition, the recipients of those medals, Haas and Harrison Ford, appeared together in Witness (1985).
Was considered for a role in Elizabethtown (2005).
Has a CD named after her by Chicago-based DJ Intel One. The CD was done for charity, given away, and titled “Love: A Tribute to Natalie Portman.” It featured songs by Shelley Duvall, Common, The Roots, and others.
She has worked with two Draculas as well as two Frankenstein monsters. In Leon: The Professional (1994), she worked with Gary Oldman, who played Dracula for Francis Ford Coppola. In Heat (1995), she appeared with Robert De Niro, who played The Creature for Kenneth Branagh. In Star Wars, she works with Christopher Lee, who played both roles for Hammer studios.
Had to miss the premiere of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) so she could study for her high school final exams.
Has a song named after her by the band Ozma.
Bears a striking resemblance to Keira Knightley. Knightley played Sabé, the Queen’s decoy, in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace(1999). When in makeup, not even the mothers of the actresses could tell them apart.
She hesitantly shot an explicit nude scene for Closer (2004/I), in the scene where Alice (Portman) strips for Larry (Clive Owen). Ultimately, Portman and director Mike Nichols agreed not to use it, as the scene was effective enough without it.
Shaved her head for V for Vendetta (2006).
Worked with a vocal coach to learn how to speak with a British accent for V for Vendetta (2006).
Still takes ballet classes.
Learned how to play the piano and conduct for Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (2007).
Named #42 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2005 list.
Named #49 in FHM’s “100 Sexiest Women in the World 2005″ special supplement. (2005)
Says her performances in Everyone Says I Love You (1996) is her worst. Her failure, she believes, is her inability to improvise.
Several months after shaving her head, she was traveling through Ireland and stopped for directions at a bed and breakfast. The owners refused to allow her even onto their porch. They did, however, give her directions.
Voted Peta’s Sexiest Female Vegetarian in 2002.
A radio station once had a contest to find out where she went to school; Backstreet Boys tickets were the prizes.
Her mother is American (the daughter of one Russian parent, one Austrian) and her father is Israeli (son of a Polish father).
In 1999, magazines reported that Portman started a new trend – wearing logo T-shirts – when they snapped photos of her at her 18th birthday wearing a snug Nesquik shirt. (However, logo T-shirts had already been popular since at least the 1970s) She had borrowed the shirt from her best friend’s eight-year-old brother; he was appalled.
In 2005, she spent a few months in Madrid partying with Javier Bardem and friends. She was mostly unrecognizable to fans because of her Mohawk.
Occasionally shelters dogs.
Once during an interview, she offered a metaphor for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the David Hare play “Via Dolorosa.” It’s about a man who jumps out of a burning building and lands on a passerby, breaking the passerby’s leg. The passerby says, “You broke my leg,” and the man breaks his other leg to shut him up.
Said that it was while working on The Seagull (2002) (V) that she became aware that acting is much more about the process than the product. Most helpful was when she would peek over Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s shoulder at the notebook he kept, in which he wrote questions and then answers about his character’s feelings.
She became the first client of Artists Management Group to land representation at the powerhouse Creative Artists Agency. CAA refused to work with clients of its former founder Michael Ovitz‘s AMG; as soon as the one-time super-agent sold out his interest in the management firm, CAA went straight after Portman.
Was surprised and amused to discover that her apartment in the heart of Kings Cross, London, was across the street from a brothel.
Took diving courses in Eilat, Israel. Diving is one of her favorite hobbies.
As the first day of Cold Mountain (2003) filming fell on Halloween, Portman came to set dressed as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”, only to realize she was the only one who’d dressed up.
Her years at Harvard resulted in the phenomenon of The Natalies, in which every underclasswoman with that first name received numerous e-mails and phone messages from fans.
When she arrived at a London airport to do re-shoots for the third Star Wars prequel, a customs official–going by her size–asked Natalie if she was traveling with a guardian.
Is a close friend and well-known customer of Zac Posen, a friend of Jeanine Lobell and her husband Anthony Edwards, as well as Jonathan Safran Foer. Portman has also been friends with Isaac Mizrahi since she was 14, and friends with Mike Nichols and his wife Diane Sawyersince she was 15.
Attended a soccer game in Madrid with Stellan Skarsgård. Afterwards, the team gave her her own jersey.
While in northern Iraq in 2004, the 1st Battalion 5th Infantry hung a giant poster of her in their command hanger after discovering that most of the men in the unit were big fans.
Her parents met at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
Her father Avner was born on September 12, 1951 and her mother Shelley was born on June 9, 1952.
Has a slight indentation on her head that was visible during the time she her head shaved. The indentation was the result of being delivered by vacuum extraction.
Named #61 in FHM magazine’s “100 Sexiest Women in the World 2006″ supplement. (2006).
Director Milos Forman sought her out for an audition after seeing her on the cover of Vogue. He said that she looked like a Goya painting.
She currently lives in Long Island, New York, and also shares a home in London, England. She has lived in Long Island, New York since she was a child. 
Footage of she and Leonardo DiCaprio as Juliet and Romeo in Baz Luhrmann‘s Romeo + Juliet (1996) was actually shot before executives had her replaced with Claire Danes due to the age difference between Natalie and Leonardo.
Unwinds by singing karaoke at Winnie’s, a NYC bar in Chinatown.
While in Morocco, she lived in a tent and traveled by camel. She visits Morocco regularly.
There is a band named after her: Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head.
Named #2 on Empire Magazine’s 100 Sexiest Movie Stars (2007) and was ranked #2 on Entertainment Weekly’s ’30 Under 30′ the actress list (2008).
During the royal premiere of the Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), she met ‘Prince Charles’. The prince asked her whether she had also been in the original Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), which had been released four years before her birth.
Member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008.
Measurements: 34A-25-35 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine).
Sold her 2,088-square-foot house in Sea Cliff, New York for $1.750 million. She had purchased it in 2002 for $1.375 million. 
Sold her two-bedroom loft in Manhattan’s West Village for $6.55 million. She purchased the property in 2005 for $5.7 million. 
Was originally a vegetarian, but later became a vegan in 2009.
Was in a relationship with Devendra Banhart (March-September 2008).
Was in a relationship with Gael García Bernal (March 2003-May 2004). They rekindled their romance for a short time in early 2007.
Is one of eight actresses to have won the Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Critics’ Choice Award, Golden Globe Award and SAG Award for the same performance. The others in chronological order are Julia Roberts for Erin Brockovich (2000), Renée Zellweger for Cold Mountain (2003),Reese Witherspoon for Walk the Line (2005), Helen Mirren for The Queen (2006), Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls (2006), Kate Winslet for The Reader (2008) and Mo’Nique for Precious (2009).
She has said one of the most difficult challenges of filming Black Swan (2010) was her speaking voice. She stated throughout her career, so far, director Mike Nichols has given her consistent criticism on how childish her voice normally sounds and encouraged her to work with vocal coaches to make it sound deeper and more adult. The role of Nina required her to regress backwards to make her voice more child-like. She felt it was taking her back to a point she worked hard to leave behind.
Was briefly referenced in The Social Network (2010). Portman was approached by writer Aaron Sorkin when writing the screenplay to the film to get insider information on Harvard University at that time because she was a fellow student of Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin, and also Divya Narendra and Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.
In the spring of 2004 she completed one semester of graduate courses at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Jerusalem, Israel.
She entered a project into the Intel Science Talent Search in the late 1990′s while at Syosset High School. Her project, titled “A Simple Method to Demonstrate the Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Sugar,” took her to the semi-finals of the Intel contest. She graduated Valedictorian of Syosset High School in 1999 and went on to study Psychology and Neuroscience at Harvard University, graduating in 2003.
In 2006, she appeared as a guest lecturer at Columbia University in a political science course titled “Terrorism & Counterterrorism.” She led the class in a discussion about politically infused violence referencing her most recent film at the time, V for Vendetta (2006). Her appearance was part of an MTV short-series, “Stand Ins,” where college professors were replaced with a celebrity instructor for one day.
She often broke down and cried offstage while part of the Broadway adaptation of “The Diary of Anne Frank” in 1997, where she portrayed Anne Frank, because of her personal connections to the events. Her grandparents lost most of their family members in the Holocaust including her paternal great grandparents who were killed at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.
Was a resident of Lowell House during her first year at Harvard University.
Did not have a Bat Mitzvah due to her parents being more secular than religious Jews. She attended a Conservative Jewish day school through seventh grade more to preserve her sense of Israel and her Hebrew than a religious motivation.
Is a dual citizen of the United States and Israel.
Was voted “Most Likely to be on Jeopardy” in the senior superlatives at Syosset High School.
In January 2011, she became the new face of Dior in the Miss Dior Cherie ad campaign. On February 27, 2011, a video of top Dior designer,John Galliano, going on an anti-Semitic rant in Paris surfaced online. Portman released a statement condemning Galliano’s actions, specifying she was “shocked and disgusted,” and as a proud Jewish woman refused to associate herself with him from that point on. Since the Miss Dior Cherie ad campaign was set to officially launch two days after the video surfaced, Dior was forced to take legal action to work out a settlement in order to keep Portman as a spokesperson. Galliano was fired on March 1, 2011 and the ad campaign launched as originally planned.
Paid for all of her own ballet training to prepare for the role of Nina in Black Swan (2010).
Has naturally curly, dark brown hair.
Where the Heart Is (2000) contains her first on-screen love scene.
On Lolita (1997): “I don’t think there needs to be a movie out where a child has sex with an adult.”
On Lolita (1997): I think there’s enough exploitation out there that it’s not nescessary to do more.
Young actors often don’t think of the consequences of doing nudity or sex scenes. They want the role so badly that they agree to be exploited, and then end up embarassing family, friends, and even strangers.
On acting: “I started to do this at age 11. At age 20, I might say, this is enough.”
On violence in the media: “We live in a violent world, but since the success of films like Pulp Fiction (1994), it seems every movie has some violence in it, and it’s now being used as a form of comedy: audiences are now being encouraged to laugh when people get their heads blown off. I just don’t like hearing people laugh at violence.”
I also feel I’m a positive role model by not putting my education on hold.
I want to use college to explore what other careers I might be interested in.
On acting: “I’m taking it day by day. Right now I like acting, but if something else sparks my interest in college, I’ll do that. It’s so limiting to say, this is it for the rest of my life. There are so many things that interest me: I love math, science, literature, languages.”
On Lolita (1997): “Let me tell you, this movie’s going to be sleaze.”
I’m going to college. I don’t care if it ruined my career. I’d rather be smart than a movie star.
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.
When I’m working they pretty much treat me like an adult, but then when there’s a break everyone else goes to their trailers and drinks beer and I like, go to school.
There’s so much else to do in the world. To just be interested in doing films would limit my life.
I think school is so much harder than real life. People are so much more accepting when they are adults.
Danny [Aiello] told me, ‘Don’t do television.’
Cute is when a person’s personality shines through their looks. Like in the way they walk, every time you see them you just want to run up and hug them.
“I’ve never tried smoking. I don’t drink. I’ve never tried drugs.” (Australian Dolly August 2000)
“Politics is easy to segue into from acting. I’m very interested in it, though I would never run for office. But after this, anything I do is going to seem very bizarre to me.” (Interview October 1999)
“No, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I love acting, but I don’t know if there’s something out there that I love more. That’s what college is going to be about for me – checking things out.” (Interview October 1999)
When asked by Seventeen magazine what advice she had for teenagers going off to college she said, “I would say practicing laundry it’s so hard.” (November 1999)
“There is a lot lacking on the intellectual side and on the values side when being an actor.” (Seventeen, November 1999)
Told the November 1999 issue of Mademoiselle magazine that she wished she knew David Letterman because, “He seems to be so smart, but you never get to hang out with him after the show.”
When asked by German Cosmopolitan (3/00) if she would like having herself as a daughter she replied, “Well of course. I am a good person, nice, smart, witty, trustworthy, know nice people, don’t do drugs and earn a lot of money.” On what she likes about her parents: “They have made it quite clear that they believe I can be great. Had my parents expected less of me,I would not be the person I am now. And I am very happy with myself.” (German Cosmopolitan March 2000)
“I’m not planning to be an actress as an adult, I’m planning other things for my future.” Source: Venice Magazine July 1995
I don’t think I’d be able to deal with just acting, because I don’t know if you get to use your brain that much. You do, for certain roles, but not most. Acting is more of a hobby for me.
There’s a big intellectual aspect that’s kind of lacking, ” she says of acting in films. “Right now I supplement that through being in school. I’m not sure I’d be happy if I was just acting. I haven’t explored a lot of other avenues. Hopefully I’ll figure it out by the end of school, so I know what I want to do with my life.
When asked about her prom dress: “A designer is going to give me something to wear. It’s the most amazing perk I have.”
I didn’t have this undying need to be an actress. I didn’t have that fire in me ever — at any point. And still, I don’t think I have that within me.
I don’t really know if acting would have ultimately become my passion as an adult, or if there’s something else I would have found had I not been in the pizza shop. That’s what college is helping me investigate.
I’m ready to ditch the movies and keep at the books. There are so many other things, and it would feel limiting to say, ‘Acting is it for me.’… I love psychology. That’s what I’m studying right now. It would probably be difficult, because of my current occupation, to become a clinical psychologist, but I could certainly do research. And I’d like to have a family someday, too.
It’s horrible to be a sex object at any age, but at least when you’re an adult you can make the decision if you want to degrade yourself.
“I don’t go wagging my boobs around in people’s faces” – Rolling Stone (USA) June, 2002
I couldn’t be anorexic because I like food too much, and I couldn’t be bulimic because I hate throwing up too much.
“I’ve wanted to be an astronaut, a doctor, a vet – these are things I’ve said in interviews. Before that, I wanted to be a mermaid and a fairy”.
“I was in a relationship recently with someone who yelled at me for being too much in my head, you know? He said I was thinking too much about everything”.
“I usually run three or four times a week now. Pretty boring, but it’s so worth it. It’s done wonders for my mood”.
I basically have a little boy’s body. They tell me, ‘OK, this is where we’re going to push up your cleavage,’ and I’m like, ‘What cleavage?’
On traveling through Morocco with a guide and sleeping in tents: “They knew that I am Israeli, and yet they still opened the doors of their houses for me, offering me tea. They all were nice and hospitable.”
As I look back on it, I’m glad that I had this false image. I was who everyone else – my parents, my friends, society – wanted me to be. I was a pleaser, someone who wanted to make everyone happy, to not let anyone down. Now, I’m not like that.
My contemporaries in Israel have a love for life that’s amazing. There, there is not the luxurious and rich existence of material goods of Hollywood films, every day they struggle to survive, but they still have an enthusiasm difficult to find elsewhere.
My grandfather was a Polish Jew and a socialist, and as a youngster he helped to organize special camps to teach agriculture to all the young men that were moving to Israel, where in 1930, they created the first kibbutz.
At college I began to do research for a professor and so I became part of the organization promoted by the Queen of Jordon: the Foundation for International Community Assistance. That offers microcredits, offering small loans of money to women who want to start their own businesses. The interest is very low and the results are extraordinary.
I’m pretty much a boring Goody Two-shoes. I’ve definitely gotten drunk before, I don’t think it’s possible to go through college without getting drunk, but I don’t really like it at all. I actually tried my first cigarette last year at school. I just figured, if many people are smoking, there must be something to it, and before I pooh- pooh it I should at least know what it’s about. I took one puff and I was like, OK, I was right. There’s nothing to it. They’re just wrong, it’s disgusting.
I’ve been doing like one movie a year so I haven’t made that many movies. A lot of girls my age have done 40 already, so I guess I’m a little behind.
I get like 400 Holocaust scripts. That’s what you get for being the openly Jewish actress!
I wanted to be able to form my own sexual identity. If other people have you in their mind as some sort of sex object, you have two choices: either live up to it and become super-sexual or rebel against it and be super-asexual.
I’m the anti-Method actor. As soon as we finish a scene, I need to go back to being myself, because it freaks me out. But it was hard not to take this home with me. I would feel cheated on when I went home. There were weekend nights I would lie in bed instead of going out with my friends.
I had a bad early experience when Leon: The Professional (1994) (aka The Professional) came out. I’m really proud of the film, but it was strange for me to be looked at as a sexual object when I was 12.
I think it is a really beautiful thing that we have recognition within our industry – but it’s not that important.
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.
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.
“I see that my girlfriends, already at 23, are thinking, ‘What career can I choose that will also suit having children?’ And it is limiting. Whereas my male friends aren’t thinking that way.” – Premiere magazine
“Some people will think I’m a neo-Nazi or that I have cancer or I’m a lesbian. After all the crazy hairstyles I had to endure for the films, it’s quite liberating to have no hair – especially in this heat.” – about going bald
On filming Star Wars: “You learn after your first blue-screen movie, and more after your second, the extent to which you have to prepare. You have to come up with the scenery, the characters, the whole world, as well as what’s going on with you. You’re often talking to a tape mark instead of a character, and you have to project what they might be thinking, what’s going on, how they’re treating you.”
On filming Free Zone (2005) in Jerusalem: “I was sleeping five hours a night and we were running from location to location and making up the story as we went along. There’s a scene where my arms are uncovered and I’m very close to the guy. People got upset and we moved to another place. It was just crazy because they were calling us Nazis, and I think that’s a little much”.
I was the precocious one when I was younger, and now I’m the girlish one, which ultimately means I’ve stayed the same. Which is not a good sign.
People think the film industry is going to corrupt me. I wasn’t really home when my friends were trying pot for the first time. I was always around adults who wouldn’t curse or smoke or do anything like that around me.
The people whose secrets I most want to know are people who actually have families and marriages as well as careers – people like Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore. I think that if I were like mid-30s and didn’t have kids yet I would probably start adopting or something. Aargh, I don’t even have a boyfriend, and I’m talking about kids!
On starring in Closer (2004/I): “It’s not exploitative, but it is about sex. No kids allowed. It’s definitely a different thing for me, but I feel like I’m old enough to handle it now. I sort of understand more how to deal with it publicly, and it doesn’t shatter me. I don’t have to go to school the next day and have people be like, ‘Oh I saw you in that movie; you were very dirty’”.
I think, especially in those first few years of college, my body started changing a lot. I got hips. Your metabolism changes; you’re not exercising as much. I ran track for a couple of years in high school, and I was also dancing. I was always doing something. At Harvard, you don’t really join the team unless you’re a star.
“They are all so very different, Episode III is very dark and much more demanding, we all know that Anakin becomes Darth Vader but to actually see this transition is very painful. So when you have such a dark story to work with it demands you as an actor to work harder. So even though I haven’t seen the film yet I would suppose that the last one is my favorite”. (On which of the three Star Wars prequels is her favorite)
I began Star Wars when I was 14 and I’m going to be 24 when this final movie comes out, so these movies were 10 years of my life and now I’m just trying to do something different.
I agree with Walter Murch’s theory that digital will never have the emotional or visual power of regular film, because audiences respond to absences. Regular film has a split second of blank screen between each shot, which the audience’s brain has to automatically fill in. Digital doesn’t have that, so it doesn’t engage the audience in the same ways. In all modernist literature, the most present thing is what’s absent. Like the opening of The Sound and the Fury, where they’re looking between the fence. Or in Closer the most important parts, the relationships, are missing and have to be filled in by the audience. Absences are crucial.
I was especially fascinated by memory studies. There was one that requested people’s good and bad memories, and then checked them for content. But non- pathological people, people who maintain a happy, healthy brain, couldn’t provide negative memories. They’d say, ‘But I learned this from the experience;’ they’d turn their negative memories into positive ones.
I get a copy of every action figure from Star Wars. I send them to charity. Some of the really cool ones I keep. Like there’s a snow globe thing with one of the spacecrafts in it, which is also a music box, which I really love.
(Asked if winning the Globe was a shock) God, yes! I was so sure I wasn’t going to win it, I went up to Meryl Streep (nominated for The Manchurian Candidate (2004)) before the show and said, “You’re going down”. We’d done a play together, so I knew her pretty well, but to me, it was a big joke, like, I’m going to win against Meryl-yeah, right. When they called my name, all I could think was, oh no, Meryl’s going to be mad at me!
(on the necklace she gave Julia Roberts) Oh, I made the mistake of telling one person I did that – now everyone loves this story! It was just a joke, because there were lots of dirty words in the script, and every time Julia had to say a bad word she got all blushy.
The moment you buy into the idea you’re above anyone else is the moment you need to be slapped in the face.
I actually am starting to feel I should start a revolution against heels, even though that wouldn’t be a dramatic revolution. Everyone around me says, ‘You have to wear heels.’ It’s based on some silly concept that longer legs are more beautiful.
“In seventh grade I cried every single day when I came back from shooting The Professional. My friends were not my friends. They were saying, ‘She thinks she’s so hot now,’ things like that, and it was the most painful thing I’ve ever gone through. Clearly, I haven’t had that difficult a life.” – Jane Magazine 1999
Ashley (Judd) and I went to this place called the Broken Spoke. You walk in and everyone’s wearing cowboy hats and men come up to you and ask you to dance. We danced the two-step together, and all these men were coming up, saying, “It’s not right to see two ladies dancing. Let us cut in!
There were stories in the house of what had happened to them (her grandparents during the Holocaust), and it wasn’t that much talked about. I had to go on a website to read my grandfather’s descriptions of what happened to the family.
[On Tom Tykwer, and working with him during his personal crisis] “The very first time we met we were able to tell each other so much about our personal experiences and what we were going through at the moment- my own experience was a similarly difficult and pivotal one for me, though obviously a bit more adolescent than Tom’s. It was part of what made the film seem like a joint search for something, a joint expedition”.
[on shooting the strip-club scene fully nude] “You can’t do this stuff half-assed, pun intended.”
[asked how she would like to be remembered] “I don’t like that question. That question only provides irony if you prematurely die.”
[Morocco] “When I finished V for Vendetta (2006), I went for a few days as sort of a birthday present for myself. I went out into the desert and an amazing storm was taking place, which is so unusual in the desert. I ended up in a tent with the six strangers whom I had just met, and had traveled with earlier on camel back. There we were, watching this amazing lightening in the middle of the desert. The tent was shaking and it was a really exciting experience.”
I aspire to make more comedies because we never see enough good ones.
When I was nine and attending a Jewish school, we had different kosher lunches served. We weren’t kosher at home. My mom used to make me chicken salad sandwiches and I would have to lie to everyone, saying it was tuna. “It doesn’t smell like tuna,” they’d say.
[On preparing for her role as Queen Amidala] “George worked with me a lot, on changing my voice and my movement and the way I carried myself. We worked on this accent that … kinda goes to old, older generations of actresses who used kind of an unidentifiable accent. ‘Is it American or is it British?’ and I watched Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn. If you look at them, their voices and the stature is so regal, even in their everyday characters. And that’s kinda why I used it to model after”.
[On regretting doing nudity]: I’m really sorry I didn’t listen to my intuition. From now on, I’m going to trust my gut more. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is say no.
Last year I did something that I wasn’t comfortable with, and I’m really sorry I didn’t listen to my intuition. There was a scene in a movie that felt inappropriate for me, but I didn’t want to make waves… From now on, I’m going to trust my gut more. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is say ‘no.’ – Referring to a torture scene she filmed for Goya’s Ghosts, to Parade
[On the dangers of too-early celebrity] I’ve been lucky enough that most of my big falls have been missed by the tabloids. And I think the other people have not been so lucky. It’s a tricky thing, and not necessarily a positive thing,that young people are working and seeking this kind of attention. Getting this sort of attention changes them.
Overall, to get a real deep, nuanced understanding of human behaviour, art is the best way.
[on her mixed feelings about nudity] I’m really not prudish about doing nudity. I think it’s beautiful in films, and sex is such a big part of life, and nudity is obviously our natural state. That’s not my issue. My issue is that I feel it takes something away from what you’re doing. And also that it can be used afterwards for different purposes. Misappropriated.
[On Hillary Rodham Clinton] A lot of the stuff people say about her, I hear it and my stomach falls because it’s so sexist. You ask people why they don’t like her and it’s because her husband cheated on her! That was obviously not her choice. She’s so much more polished and experienced than anyone else. Last night, a friend, a social worker in L.A. who works with underprivileged kids, was saying how these girls who have never been interested in politics before are so excited that a woman might be president. I mean, look how many women are in government…Hillary’s one of, what, [a handful of] female senators? I also like Obama. I even like McCain. I disagree with his war stance — which is a really big deal — but I think he’s a very moral person. I met him and Hillary on the same day, actually, when I went to Washington with Finca [a nonprofit that gives loans to businesswomen in developing countries]. Hillary was by far the smartest person I met that day. Just totally focused, and knew more about the issues than anyone else, and was so able to go from one thing to the other.
You look at Meryl Streep, who is so phenomenally, freakishly gorgeous, and in some ways it’s just bizarre that she was never a sex symbol. But it was always about her – and now it doesn’t matter that she’s getting older, because we just want to continue watching her be an interesting person. (On Meryl Streep )
I’ve always tried to stay away from playing Jews … I get, like, 20 Holocaust scripts a month, but I hate the genre.
[on Scarlett Johansson] Seriously, I would really want to grab Scarlett’s breasts. She’s got beautiful ones.
There’s so much else to do in the world. To just be interested in doing films would limit my life.
Young actors often don’t think of the consequences of doing nudity or sex scenes. They want the role so badly that they agree to be exploited, and then end up embarrassing family, friends, and even strangers.
[on filming sex scenes in movies] – It’s hard to have a sex scene, period. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend, a male, a female. You’re with 100-something crew members, lighting you, repositioning you, there’s no comfort whatsoever.
[on her role in "Black Swan"] – There were some nights that I thought I literally was going to die. It was the first time I understood how you could get so wrapped up in a role that it could sort of take you down.
[on doing kissing scenes and kissing Ashton Kutcher in "No Strings Attached"] – It’s awkward! It’s always awkward. It’s just weird to kiss someone that you wouldn’t choose to kiss in your personal life. … You get over it. You laugh through it and act like an immature kindergartner, which is what I did much of the time.
[on romantic comedies] – I’ve always wanted to do [a romantic comedy]. But the girls are always in fashion, and it’s always about their clothes,” she explained. They always want to get married at the end. There’s some kind of makeover scene. That stuff offends me.
I want to thank everyone who has ever hired me; Luc Besson who gave me my first job when I was 11-years old, Mike Nichols who has been my hero and my champion for the past decade, and now Darren Aronofsky. You are a fearless leader and visionary. I am blessed to have gotten to work with you every day for the period of time that I did.
[on her pregnancy and engagement] I have always kept my private life private, but I will say that I am indescribably happy and feel very grateful to have this experience.
The part I don’t like is when what you put out there as part of a story, as art, can be expropriated into something disgusting and objectifying and salacious in another context. Which it all inevitably is in today’s media. I’m just aware of that because, yes I’m interested in being in a really provocative film, and no I’m not interested in being on a porn site.
[on losing weight for her Black Swan (2010) physique]: I’m a very short person and you’re supposed to look very long, and you look longer when you don’t have the bulk on you – which is, like, sick. The whole thing. I’m aware that it’s sick.
[on doing her own dancing for Black Swan (2010)]: I do have a double for the complicated turning stuff, but anything I could do myself saved the budget hundreds of thousands of dollars in special effects.
[on the Black Swan (2010) dance controversy]: I know what went on and we had an amazing experience making the movie and I don’t want to tarnish it by entering into nastiness. It’s such a positive thing what we get to do. We get to create things and I feel so lucky to be a part of that. I’m really proud of everyone’s work on the movie and of my experience and I’ll have that forever. It’s nice for me to always know about that no matter what kind of nastiness or gossip is going around.
[on Sarah Lane dance controversy] I did my work and I’m in the majority of the film. I did have a dance double for the most difficult sequences. It was just unfortunate, the entire situation. She’s a wonderful dancer and hopefully people will get to see her in her company. I’m sorry that she felt unacknowledged.
Where Are They Now
(September 2004) Studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
(July 2005) Humanitarian work with FINCA International/Filming V for Vendetta (2006).
(July 2006) She visited Buenos Aires, Argentina for 2 days.
(April 2010) Filming Thor (2011) in New Mexico.
(February 2011) Los Angeles, CA, USA: Attended the 83rd annual Academy Awards with fiancé, Benjamin Millepied, and her parents, Avner and Shelley.