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is Nat ?
Last update : 01/07/2001.
- 'Portman' is not her real last name : "I have used the
surname 'Portman' as my stage name, it was my grandmother's maiden name. It's very
important to me and my parents to keep my work separate from our lives."
- Natalie is a great student
:"If I brought home a 94 (a very good grade), it would be, "where are the other
six points?" I want to be perfect and when I am not, it's disappointing to me and to
my parents." She is currently studying the most beautiful language: French ;-) and
Japanese. Obviously, she speaks English but Hebrew too.
- Despite being a great student, according to her biology teacher,
Natalie would rather skip class that dissect an invertebrate. She was heard telling her
lab partner her excuse: "I'm going to Manhattan". Without a doubt, she is too
kind : she can't even lie properly ;-)
- Natalie on why she became a
vegetarian: "My dad took me to a medical conference where there was a demonstration
of animal testing, laser surgery on a chicken. I was so mad that a chicken had to die, I
never ate meat again. Then in Sixth Grade, we dissected a fish. I got so sick, I never ate
fish again." She's not however, a 'pure' vegetarian: "I eat dairy and egg
products, but I only use skim
milk products because I heard that, for whole milk, they give steroids to cows
to make the milk richer, and that makes their urinating painful. It's gotta be skim
-"I'm kind of conservative. I've never tried smoking, I don't
drink, I've never tried any drugs. I don't condemn people who do, I've just never wanted
to. I don't really like high school parties." "My closest friends are very
straight, compared to a lot of other kids. I've been working since I was 11, getting paid.
But on the other hand, there's a lot of things I haven't experienced that a lot of other
kids have." It's not entirely true, Natalie has a vice : "I'm, like, addicted to
- According to a university newspaper interview (Univercity),
she now uses e-mail to communicate with her parents while studying in university away from
-Natalie is about 1 meter 62 (5 feet, 4 inches) tall.
dog is named Noodles,
half poodle / half schnauzer.
- She enjoys musicals, jazz, tap-dancing, ice skating, ballet,
reading, writing and going out with friends.
- Natalie: "I have the greatest friends in the world. They're
fun, nice, and they have never acted weird about my being an actress."
- "My best friend, Rachel, is my soul mate. She's so amazing
and so cool. We're always saying the same thing at the same time. We read each other's
minds and feel each other's feelings. We can have deep, intellectual discussions and then,
the next second, be laughing about stupid things." She explains:"I am more a
teenager than anyone else I know. One minute I feel really adult and the next minute I
say: "Let's play hide-and-seek!"
- Her favorite artists are : Alanis Morissette, Bjork, PJ
Harvey, Juliana Hatfield, Portishead, Moby, Slick Rick, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, The
Bangles and the Jackson Five...
"I met Juliana
Hatfield at a Sam Goody record store because she was there for World AIDS Day.
I like her song Ugly. She was at the counter and I went up and I'm like, "oh
my god !". I'd love to meet Bjork. My dad took me to her concert. It gave me chills
to ear her singing. I want to be like her when I grow up because she's just like a
- "The word coconut makes me uncomfortable. There
are some beautiful words, though. For example, I just love the way clutter
- When she was younger, she used to describe her dad as someone
who helped women get pregnant :-)
- Natalie doesn't watch much television: "Because I don't
have the time. When I do, I love to watch Ellen, that's my favorite show, and Friends."
- "A few years
ago (she was 11), I was in a pizza parlour in Long Island after my gym class, and some lady came up to me and
asked me to model for Revlon. So I got a modeling agent, but then Revlon didnt do
the ad I told them that that was OK, I didnt want to be a model anyway: I wanted to
act. So the modeling people put me in touch with an acting agent, and it went from
didnt want to model because :"One year, a local dance supply company came to my
dance class looking for girls to be in its catalog. I did it and I hated it. It was so
boring! So not stimulating!" She nevertheless signed a contract in the fashion
industry three years later with the ISAAC line, whose slogan was: "Inside every woman
there's a star". During her photo shoots, Natalie was endlessly compared to Audrey Hepburn,
the Belgian-born American actress who captivated Hollywood from 1950 to 1970. Personally,
I share their point of view, not just at the physical level but because Audrey Hepburn
dedicated her last years to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund
(or UNICEF) as a special ambassador from 1988 to 1993. Hence, we know Natalie has
a great potential for generosity :) It's actually quite astonishing because Luc Besson
discovered Natalie the year Audrey passed on... I'm beginning to believe in
- "When I was
little, I always said I wanted to be an actress when I grow up, and I have been taking dance lessons since I
was four. I was the youngest person in this modern dance troupe in Washington, D.C. I was
always on stage and singing and dancing, at school, at camp, at home. I used to use mixers
as microphones and direct shows with my cousins. I was this really bossy five-year-old, and I
would be like: "You stand here, and you stand here, and you sing," or,
"I'll sing and you just lip it." I was a really bossy kid, you know."
- "I look a lot like my family and I have Mediterranean
features. Right now I'm tan, so I feel so Israeli. I like having something special about
me. I'm not that average blond-haired, blue-eyed American girl. My grandmother's really,
really beautiful. She's a really strong woman, she's been through a lot, and she's
maintained a real great spirit with her. I love looking at pictures of her when she first
came to Israel in the 1930s and the 40s. She was so glamorous, with her hair and her
- She admits: "I'm a Gemini, so I changed my mind every day." Here's
a little summary of the careers she is considering pursuing :
- "I have strong feelings about my people and my country.
I've even considered joining the Israeli Army, though, I'm kind of a pacifist."
- "I don't know if I could live with acting my whole life
because there are such huge periods between films. I see these 20-year-old actors who do
nothing but smoke cigarettes and go to clubs every night while they wait for their next
part, and I couldn't stand living that way. I have doubts whether I want to do this for
the rest of my life, but I do love it and don't know if I could give it up." "I
don't know if you get to use your brain that much. You do, for certain roles, but not for
most. Acting is more of a hobby for me, but it's dangerous work because it's addictive...
And it's fun!"
- "I like math, and am also seriously
considering medicine. My Father
is a doctor, an infertility specialist, and he loves what he does so much. There are so
many of these women who want to have babies so bad but they can't. He helps those women
get pregnant and then we've been at birthday parties for those kids. The women are so
- "I love math because there's always an answer to
everything. Algebra and geometry are so logical - once you understand the concept, you can
figure it out with logic and then you don't have to study" She explains: "I
don't love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is
beautiful.""It's never been an issue to me whether I go to college or not. I'm
not ready to stop learning. I don't feel I'm ready to enter the world... I'm going to make
choices based on things I want to do."
- En juillet 95 elle racontait également: "Je suis
interressée par le metier de vétérinaire. J'aime tellement les animaux."
- In July of 1995, she also says: "I'm interested in being a
vet. I love animals so much."
- But don't
worry, I'm just trying to make you sweat :) Natalie reassures us in a recent interview :
"I have a lot of admiration for Susan Sarandon. It's because of her that I continued because I
wanted to stop acting, there's such a dysfunctionality in the relationships in this
industry. So, to see this woman who sacrifices nothing to her career, yet is a loving
mother and wife, who is an active citizen, who is strong in her convictions, she is an
example. I really admire her and I had the chance to really talk with her. She is
definitively my model because she's the proof that we can succeed our life and to be an
actress." ...even if :"I follow the advice that Luc Besson gave me : "Don't
make more than one movie every two years". Effectively, it's important to have space.
When I see actresses of my age making six or seven movies by year, they don't have a
life." In any case, much thanks from the seventh art to Susan Sarandon and Luc Besson
( we can never thank him enough for discovering Nat :)
- She's had hair issues since she was seven years old, when
her hair turned into "big banana curls": "It takes me hours to blow-dry my
hair. My hair's not just curly : it's crazy curly. It's as if it hasn't decided what to
do. It's a mess. For school, I just pull it back into a ponytail."
- "I went out on the first audition for The Professional
and the casting director said: "No, you're too young, go home." So I went home,
and I didn't feel bad about it because I mean auditions are like that, if you're not
right, I mean, what can you do? So, I totally forgot about it and two weeks later they
called me back in and said that the director wanted it younger, and then I had to go back
again and read on camera. It was the "piggy scene", where I say, "I've seen
better days." And then I read for Luc, and I think it was one of the best auditions I
did in my life. He said, "See ya soon." So I went home and I was like, "I
got it !" I was really excited, I was jumping off the walls. Except for understudying
in an off-Broadway play (Ruthless), this was my first real job."
- Here's the
answer to the question we'd all ask to the great Luc Besson :) "Nearly 2000 girls auditioned from across
Europe and the United States when Natalie's photo caught my eye. She had that something
special I always look for in an actress. We did some takes in a New York hotel room with a
black and white camera. She was relaxed and confident. She was incredibly photogenic I was
immediately seduced. How could anyone, at 12 years of age, have a demeanor so honest, so
determined ? She was so impressive. I wanted to test her abilities by asking her to play
the most difficult scene in the movie, when Mathilda bursts into tears when Léon asks her
name. I said to myself: "This girl is incredibly gifted. I've only known her for ten
minutes and she's already aggressive." I knew it had to be her, but her parents were
very difficult to convince. In the script, she smoked and had a gun. But Natalie knew what
she wanted and finally convinced her mother to consent. Still, she never compromised her
convictions. She refused to let her character kill someone or appear nude. On the set, I
was very impressed by her professionalism. She was focused, but still relaxed, as if
acting were natural. She already knew how to play the game." And to conclude, what we
all wanted to hear ;-) " I'm convinced she's going to be a big star. And we'll meet
- Natalie :"I don't think you can learn to act. It's like
life, there's no technique to living." Still, there's something, perhaps a little
trick 'made by Natalie' that can change your life I'm sure ;-) "You know people are
really comfortable around you when they can pick their nose in front of you."
Besson on the negative reaction to the Director's Cut of LÉON (The
Professional) in pre-release in the United States: "The dinner scene is an
incredibly tender moment. Natalie was just 11 years old when that was filmed. Her mother didn't
want her to drink any Champagne but
she had a few sips in hiding. We started filming the scene and suddenly, she burst into uncontrollable laughter
! It was like crystal. They didn't approve... What a hypocrisy! Our society is overwhelmed
by love and sexuality. Progress and modernization perverts it. Nude women to sell that
no-name shampoo doesn't bother anyone but this scene... yes!"
- "I am very fortunate to have started my career with such
great directors. Often, actors will make their first film with director so and so, and
we're too excited to worry about what work they've done or if they even have any talent. I
was so grateful it was Luc Besson. He taught me everything I know about being a
- Natalie responds when asked if her parents are too strict or
controlling :"They've never gone overboard. My parents just want me to be happy. They
want to make sure stardom doesn't go to my head. I love them. I prefer to go on vacation
with them rather than with kids of my own age. Before every film, my parents meet the
producer to discuss each scene, which would annoy a lot of people. But they only do it to
protect me. They don't want anything to portray a sexual image of me that might make me
feel uncomfortable. I refused the role of Lolita for that reason. I want to walk down the
street without having men undress me in their minds." She adds:" [...] I find it
difficult to play roles that I haven't experienced in real life." Draw your own
- A few opinions and predictions about Natalie :
- Isaac Mizrahi,
designer : "I feel I'm witnessing the next Elizabeth Taylor in the making"
"There are not enough superlatives for this girl. She is such a gifted actress and
then, to top it off, what she looks like! I have this strong feeling that she is going to
be a legend. She's somebody you can speak your mind to, because she won't have a meltdown.
She has a kind of maturity many adult actors don't have."
- Ted Demme: "Natalie absolutely blew me out of
my seat in The Professional, and after one reading of the script for Beautiful
Girls, I knew she was the only actress who could play this character."
- Woody Allen: "She
immediately impressed me as an unusually natural and intelligent actress, she has a great
- "When I met her, you could
tell she was kind of a prodigy." says Michael Mann, director of Heat.
"In the movie, she has a very short amount of screen time to believably communicate a
child who is seriously dysfunctional
without any overt hysteria or exaggerated dialogue, and she delivers. Only someone with
serious talent can do that."
- On anorexia and bulimia in young actresses: "It's not a
problem for me. I couldnt be anorexic because I like food too much, and I
couldnt be bulimic because I hate throwing up too much. But I do have a lot of
friends who are on constant diets, and thats scary. Most people arent
naturally model-skinny and trying to be is just unhealthy. On the other hand, there are
some young actresses around now who are quite voluptuous, people like Kate Winslet and
Christina Ricci, who have beautiful figures. So theres hope."
- Jean Reno on The Professional (LÉON):
"The first private screening (just Luc Besson and Jean Reno watching) is, for me, the
fondest memory. The Professional was still in editing, a work-in-progress without the
sound and without the music. The movie was extremely tender and emotional but less an
American product. It was enormous, at the limit of bearable. It's like the ocean
pouring itself over you. At the end of the screening, Luc turned the lights on and looked
over at me. I was overwhelmed with emotion. He turned the lights off and left me alone for
a few minutes. It was a feeling much more profound than with Nikita (original
French version of La Femme Nikita) or Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue).
It's a like part of my history and there forever."
- When asked about the first time she and Jean Reno met :
"Luc invited us both to his suite at the Essex House, and Luc cooked for us. He made
us spaghetti." Just a little anecdote :o)
- "I think the way a character
looks is so important for a film, because it really tells you so much about who the
character is. In The Professional, I had a very sleek, French haircut, which was
appropriate for the mood of the film. Then, in Beautiful Girls, I was dressed
like a normal kid, an average suburban girl." "At school I'm really a
comfortable dresser, I just need to be in clothes I can get through class in." After
playing in The Professional, Natalie could be seen wearing the big brown boots
that Mathilda had in the film.
"I often wear my shoes from the movies, because they are the only things that don't
- "There are a lot of people I admire. I really admire
Elizabeth Glaser, the AIDS activist. And Itzhak Rabin, he was such a hero. I was born in
Israel and I go there lot, all my dad's family is there. I'm not religious at all, but
Israel is such a spiritual place. And people talk until they're blue in the face about
moral issues and what should happen in the country. I hope there will be peace there.
Israelis and Arabs are cousins, we have the same descendants. Yet there's this hatred.
It's just ridiculous that people kill other people in the name of religion. No religion
advocates killing." This goes to Natalie's religious convictions, probably due to her
education: "Ethically and politically, I come from a very liberal environment. It's
not a Puritan family but I was raised with the idea that I must respect my life. This
means I intend to live my life like a normal person and not like a celebrity."
- Unfortunately, many members of her family were killed by the
Nazis in the Second World War :"Most of them died in Auschwitz. My dads
parents, his little brother... his whole family except for him and two brothers.
Whats so tragic is that we had so very many people in the family that Ill
never get to meet. You cant imagine how sad that is."
- She turned down Robert Redford's The
Horse Whisperer to take the role in The Diary of Anne Frank. However, she
was replaced by Nathalie Paulding in the role on June 2nd, 1998 due to her obligations to
the famous Star Wars:
- The Diary of Anne Frank was the subject of an
Oscar-winning film by George Stevensand has been translated into 55 languages. It's one of
the most read books in the world, selling over 24 million copies. It was re-edited in 1995
with nearly 30% of added text, removed originally by Anne's father and the German editor.
These added passages were included in the play Natalie was in.
- Natalie has traveled to many places, including Japan (where she
is a big star
since her role in The Professional), Amsterdam (where she visited Anne Frank's
secret annex and bought her book), Australia and of course, Paris ;-)
- Natalie wasn't very intimidated about her role in Star Wars
: "Because I was born in Israel (my father is an Israeli) Star Wars
wasn't as iconic as it was in most American households, It's not as rooted in me
personally as it is with a lot of American teenagers. My friends made me realize what a
big deal it was". She reveals: "I'm more excited about my high school graduation
than about playing in the biggest movie of the decade." Apparently, being in a Star
Wars movie hasn't gone to her head...
- Memories of Star Wars Episode 1 :"There were a few
unbelievable moments. I remember a party in Tunisia where all the extras were invited.
There was this huge man, about 7 feet 2 inches tall who was dancing the macarena with a
dwarf ! I said to myself :"This can't be happening... I must be hallucinating !"
- The advantages
that film-making provides: "There are many. I appreciate the clothes they lend me. I
adore Prada, Armani, Helmut Lang. Otherwise I wouldn't buy them. Maybe later I'll spend
some money on a wardrobe but for now, I refuse to succumb to material objects. I was even
offered the entire Queen Amidala figurines and doll collection . I'll try to take better care of them than my
Barbies. When I was a kid, I took great pleasure in destroying them !"
- Natalie also loves odd bags: "I think purses are so
grown-up, so I have five or six little bags, I have my Sea World bag I used at camp, my
Sesame Street backpack for dance, and my penguin bag someone brought me from Japan. It's a
funny way to show your personality without being uncomfortable, I tend to go for plain
clothes and little crazy bags."
- Natalie on the Star Wars phenomenon :"It's hard
for me to identify with. First, because I hadn't seen any of the original trilogy before
getting the role of Queen Amidala! Second, I can't imagine waiting in line for days to see
a movie. But at the same time, I think it's great that people can be this impassioned by
some form of art."
- Natalie à
propos des costumes de Star Wars: "Une fois dans les costumes,
j'avais l'impression d'être différente. Tu te sents différente, donc tu joues
différemment. C'est bon pour les effets du film. Tant qu'ils ne me donnaient pas mal à
la tête, j'était pour."
- Natalie on Dirty Dancing II :"That was my Star
Wars. That was the movie I saw like a thousand times." Natalie on Patrick
Swayze: "I think I became an actress just so there would be a possibility I might
meet him one day, because he's just, like, so amazing!"
- Natalie has many older friends: "Well, I obviously do
because girls have been proven to mature at an earlier age than boys. That means that a 14
year old girl and an 18 year old guy are probably going to be at the same level of
maturity, of mental development. While I'm friends with people much older than me, they're
all quite intent on me maintaining my innocence. A friend told me that if anyone ever did
anything bad to me, I'd have 20 big brothers who would rush to my rescue!" Among these 'elderly persons', there's the famous Moby, the techno musician who remixed the
James Bond theme for Tomorrow Never Dies, and the first to admit in SKY
magazine to be a victim of Natalie's charm : "Well, this is going to sound like a
clichéd answer. We met when she came to a gig in Texas and we're really, really good
friends, which might be hard to imagine as I'm 34 and she's 19. We had a brief romantic
involvement but I'm on tour and she's at college so it didn't seem practical. In all
honesty she's one of the smartest people I know and I'm really fortunate to have her in my
life." Click here for the whole
interview in .jpg format.
- Natalie has been accepted to Harvard (Boston) and Yale: two of
the most prestigious universities in the United States. But school is not her only worry:
"I can't believe I'm going to have to learn to do my laundry and even iron when I go
off to college in September."
To find out more...
- To write to Natalie: "Natalie Portman, c/o Star Wars Fan
Club, P.O. Box 111000, Aurora, CO 80042, USA" or here: "Natalie Portman, c/o ICM
8942 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90211, USA". Another address from the September
issue of Teen magazine: Natalie Portman, c/o ID PR, 3859 Cardiff Ave. Culver
City, CA 90232, USA.
- For the Star Wars
marketing campaign, Natalie did a... Pepsi can ! But not only can you drink 'some Natalie' you can
also eat 'some Natalie' thanks to Kellogg's Choco. Soon we'll be able to feed ourselves entirely
with 'some Natalie' :o) Mmm... Natalie! Nope... not Donuts, but Flups. What ?! you don't know what Flups
- Not particularly interesting but nice to know: Natalie was born
on the same day (June 9) as Johny Depp (1963) and Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future,
-Natalie's performance in The Professional drew critical
acclaim and earned her a nomination for Best Female Dramatic Performance at the Young Star
Awards, guided by The Hollywood Reporter. She was also nominated in May of 1998 at the
FANY (FAns of NY Theatre) Awards for her role in the play The Diary of Anne Frank.
The Golden Globes 2000 had the honesty (we know how biased these can be) of
nominating Natalie Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion
Picture for Anywhere But Here.
- You can get (in
France only, sorry ;-) the Queen Amidala scratch ticket from the Star Wars Saga
lottery game where you can win 100 000F (=16000 $), personally I'm not a fan of the
scratch game but with Natalie Portman on it...
- For those that want a video library of all of Natalie's movies,
the best solution is of course on DVD. I would suggest : DVD Express.
You can find Heat (I got it for 14 $ !), Mars Attacks!, The
Professional (Not with director's cut :-( Beautiful Girls and Everyone
says I Love You.
- As for her personal information (her real name, her address, her
phone number...) found in her high school Yearbook and divulged on the net, I find that
really mean (to be polite) and disrespectful to Natalie, her family and her friends who
find themselves harassed because of it. So I've decided not to release any of these unimportantdetails on my site and I call upon other Natalie webmasters to do the same.