As we talked about yesterday, Natalie Portman is the January cover girl for Vogue Magazine. I’m still not a huge fan of the cover shot (below) – she looks so weepy. But the rest of the shoot isn’t much better. Anyway, Vogue has finally released their complete photo shoot (the photographer is Peter Lindbergh) and cover interview (full piece at Vogue here). Here are some highlights:
On doing ballet as a kid: With posture as straight as if she never hunched to text, she sits on a banquette at the Café Sabarsky and recalls years of ballet as a child on Long Island—“Two hours a day after school, five hours on Saturdays. When I started acting, I knew I’d have to downgrade to twice a week and would no longer be in the best class, so I stopped. The dance training for Black Swan started a year before the film, with two hours a day. Six months later we ramped it up to five hours a day, and the last two months it was eight hours a day, because we added choreography and cross training, so I was also swimming a mile a day. The discipline was good for the part—it hurt a lot; your body is in constant pain.” Like most dancers, she survived on coffee and ibuprofen, and slept five hours a night.
On her eating habits: A vegetarian at home and a vegan when out, she orders a thoroughly eccentric meal: field greens followed by a soft pretzel with mustard, and an elderflower spritzer. “Is that it?” I ask. “I swear, I eat. I ate a bagel an hour ago. I consume my own weight in hummus every day. I cook a lot, and I even do vegan baking. I like pleasure, I like joy. I’d never get to the point where I would starve or injure myself like Nina does. I’m the opposite—when I’m hungry, I eat, and I always make sure I’m eating something delicious. I’m tough on myself in terms of the standards I want to live up to, but that’s also part of my pleasure: knowing you are being your fullest self. Being your fullest self is a lot of work.”
Portman is given to extremes: “It’s almost more important for me to be going at something full force than what the specific thing actually is.”
On sex scenes, etc: When Darren Aronofsky first met her to discuss Black Swan—at Howard Johnson’s in Times Square, of all places—it was ten years ago, Portman was a junior in college, and there was no script. “He explained it was about an artist who has a double and battles with her own ego, and said, ‘You will have a sex scene with yourself.’” She has two: the first when Nina follows her choreographer’s orders to pleasure herself, and the second with a rival dancer, played by Mila Kunis. The scene is jolting. “Lesbian scenes, sex scenes, they’re all over the place!” says Portman. “But because it’s me, people are shocked. I see the value of a good-girl persona—it’s so easy to subvert it!”
On LA versus NYC: “I’d always been really wary of L.A.; then I realized I liked it. But everyone important to me for my entire life is in New York,” she says—her parents, her best friend, Jeanine Lobell, and her boyfriend, Benjamin. An only child, she has, she says, “fake siblings—I always imagine that’s why I have so many friends. In New York, I have probably 50 people that I’m very close to—so there’s constant interaction, but I don’t really see anyone regularly because it’s 50 people, whereas in Los Angeles I have five friends, and I see them every day. It’s the first time I’ve had really close girlfriends. Kate and Laura Mulleavy have schedules that are similar to mine, so we can go for a hike at noon, or to the museum in the middle of the day.” Kate and Laura’s inspiration for the Rodarte tutus in the movie was the Degas bronze statue of the little dancer with the torn tulle skirt at the Norton Simon museum in Pasadena.
On developing comedies about women: Portman has started her own production company with a partner, Annette Savitch. Handsomecharlie Films is named after both Chaplin and a—departed—dog of hers. They’ve already produced a comedy called Hesher, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and are developing a girl pot comedy called Best Buds. “We’re very into female comedies; there just aren’t enough. We’re trying to go for that guy-movie tone, like Judd Apatow’s movies, or The Hangover but with women—who are generally not allowed to be beautiful and funny, and certainly not vulgar.”
Portman is in favor of vulgar. “There’s a difference between being in a bra and underpants as an object on a men’s-magazine cover and playing yourself—a woman with desires and needs who loves and laughs with her friends—in a bra and underpants. You become an object if you simply put it out there. Most movies are made by men, it’s totally natural that they’re going to present their worldview, so we’re trying to find more women who are writers and directors who are expressing their worldview. Did you see Tiny Furniture? Lena Dunham wrote, directed, and starred in it; she’s 23, and it is just amazing. She walks around in her underwear for the whole movie; it’s harsh. She’s the subject, she’s not the object, and it’s beautiful—that’s the kind of thing we need more of.”
On being an actor: “The biggest challenge for all actors,” says Portman, “is that you see yourself on a screen outside of your body and have to reenter your body to look at the world through your own eyes instead of at yourself. . . .I try not to read reviews or anything about me. It’s totally natural to be interested, but it’s completely damaging. Over the almost 20 years I’ve been working, I’ve been up, I’ve been down, I’ve been in, I’ve been out. Just getting to do the work is the privilege. I always feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. The one thing you have control over is having a great experience by doing your work fully.”
Portman’s most wobbly moment was at Harvard: “I gained my freshman fifteen or 20 and had superdepressed moments. That Cambridge winter is tough. It was important to know how to go through that and how to get myself out of it. You start learning how to ask your friends or professionals for help, or go to mentors.” At Harvard she confided in Jorie Graham, the Boylston professor of poetry. “She was the kind of woman I wanted to be—sexy and smart. It’s an amazing gift to get to hear someone talk in that way about poetry. Yeats, Eliot—the rhythms of the words stay in your body all day.”
Blah – the rest of the article is just all of Natalie’s friends and associates jazzing all over what an extraordinary talent she is. I think Natalie is beautiful, and I do think she’s talented – one of the most talented “under 30” actresses out there. But it depresses me to think that she thinks she has to “do it all”. She’s a tremendous dramatic actress – let’s not go overboard with the “I’m a talented comedienne, and a writer, and a director and a producer” as well. I applaud her for trying different things and stepping out of her comfort zone, but I get the feeling that Natalie is trying to do it all because she thinks she’s so magnificent and brilliant. It’s off-putting. To me, at least.
Photos courtesy of Vogue.
Written by Kaiser
Posted in Natalie Portman
- Who butchered the National Anthem? [D-Listed]
- Rob Lowe never ages [Lainey Gossip]
- What is Vanessa Hudgens wearing? [Go Fug Yourself]
- Summer guide to reality TV [Reality Tea]
- Game of Thrones recap [Pajiba]
- Tan Mom’s music video [Buzzfeed]
- Amanda Knox is broke [Starcasm]
- Backstage at the Billboard Awards [Popsugar]
- Miley is still stuck in the 90s [Popoholic]
- Blind Items revealed: Adam Levine [CDAN]
- Hugh Hefner bought Crystal Harris a house [Celebslam]
- What happened to Aimee Teegarden? [The Blemish]