If you see BLACK SWAN chances are you’ll be a fan of director Darren Aronofsky or the movie’s lead Natalie Portman. We thought it was timely to pull together some interesting facts about Portman for the readers of AccessReel.com
Natalie Portman was born Natalie Hershlag in Israel. She is 30 years old and has been acting in movies for the past 17 years. She is best known for her pivotal role in the second Star Wars trilogy (I, II & III). We might think of her as Princess Amidala, but her resume includes films like THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL, THE DARJEELING LIMITED, CLOSER, GARDEN STATE, and GOYA’S GHOSTS to name but five. This year audiences will see Portman in a Rom Com (NO STRINGS ATTACHED) and a superhero movie (THOR), but her back catalogue consists predominately of smaller interesting films that have cult audiences.
Portman was scouted as a child model at age 10, but rejected modelling in favour of acting. Her looks and maturity led her to be cast in roles as characters who were more mature than their actual age. Her feature debut at age 13, was Luc Besson’s THE PROFESSIONAL where she played a girl learning the tricks of the trade from an assassin. Her character of Mathilda was a cultural “big sister” to KICKASS’s Hitgirl. She trained for the theatre when she wasn’t in movies and took the lead role in a 1997 Broadway adaptation of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK.
Education was important to Portman. She skipped the premiere of the PHANTOM MENACE to sit for her final high school exam. In 2000-2003 she studied for a bachelor degree in psychology at Harvard. During this time she pulled back from acting. When asked if college would harm her career she is quoted as saying, “I’d rather be smart than a movie star.”
Portman is a supporter of animal rights causes. She was a vegetarian from childhood and became a vegan in 2009. She has her own vegan shoe line with all the proceeds going to a variety of animal charities. She has also done work for anti-poverty causes.
Her role in BLACK SWAN is important for Portman professionally and personally. She did six months of dance training for five hours a day and lost 10 kilos to look the part of a professional ballet dancer. The intensity of her performance lead to her winning a Best Actress Golden Globe. She met her partner Benjamin Milliepied while working on the film. Milliepied was served as the film’s choreographer. The couple are expecting their first child.