Natalie Portman: It’s a relief to be out of the ‘you’re supposed to be adorable’ phase

Liam Hemsworth arrives at AOL Build for press day

I was going to start out by saying that I’ve softened on Natalie Portman recently because I felt like I was the only one who enjoyed her performance in Jackie, like that was a new thing. But Jackie came out in 2016! I thought it came out last year. As it turns out, I’ve been okay with Portman for three years or so. Amazing. Anyway, I loved her in Jackie. She didn’t look anything like Jackie Kennedy nor did she really sound like Jackie and I also think the film was riddled with historical inaccuracies. But! Natalie was really good in it and she earned her Oscar nomination for it. Her current film is Lucy in the Sky, where she plays a character loosely based on Lisa Nowak, the knife-wielding, diaper-wearing astronaut who tried to kidnap her “love rival.” So far, the reviews are not great, but you never know – the Academy loves Natalie. Anyway, Portman covers Elle’s Women In Hollywood issue (there are multiple covers) and here are some highlights from her interview:

She’s no longer the Manic Pixie Dream Girl: “It’s definitely a relief to be out of the phase where you’re supposed to be adorable. It certainly is stifling to be the one who’s enacting someone else’s idea of how a young woman should behave. I’ve seen a real change [in the industry] since I was 20. But not a total change; you still see those roles of just being a dream girl or whatever some person wants you to enact.”

The roles she’s drawn to: “I’m into women who are interesting to watch because they’re as confusing, and confused, as we are. That’s my favorite character to play: the one who messes up, but you understand what’s going on to make her do that.”

Playing her role in Lucy in the Sky: “When you show a woman being a complete human being, with the bad as well as the good, that’s feminist. It’s a humanist way of seeing people.”

She used to feel isolated in Hollywood, but Time’s Up changed that: “When I went to the Oscars in 2009, I was just standing there, and felt totally scared and intimidated and lonely by the whole experience. And then going to the Golden Globes in 2018, it felt like going to a party with friends. We were all like, ‘Oh, this is what it feels like; this is why it’s fun for other people.’ ”

Creating a network of women allies: “If we don’t talk to each other, we can’t share, we can’t get information, we can’t get angry and organize together. It’s actually really important to talk. Something we’ve been talking about is sharing salary details with each other, because right now it’s such a taboo. It’s actually a real way that we can help each other, to be like, ‘Hey, this is what I get paid. This is how I negotiated this.’”

[From Elle]

“Something we’ve been talking about is sharing salary details with each other, because right now it’s such a taboo. It’s actually a real way that we can help each other, to be like, ‘Hey, this is what I get paid. This is how I negotiated this.’” This is excellent. This is a great byproduct of everything that happened post-Harvey Weinstein. There were so many shifts and changes, but I sometimes worried that a lot of that sh-t would revert back to being terrible for women. But they’re building something that will last: a network of women talking to other women and helping each other navigate the industry which (frankly) was not built for them.

As for her comment about manic pixie dream girls… I mean… no one forced her to take those roles! But her point is solid – it’s a man’s idea of what a “cute girl” or “ideal girl” is.

Love Natalie’s “curly hair, don’t care” vibe here:

Variety's 2019 Power Of Women: Los Angeles Presented By Lifetime

Photos courtesy of WENN, cover courtesy of Elle.

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8 Responses to “Natalie Portman: It’s a relief to be out of the ‘you’re supposed to be adorable’ phase”

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  1. Tiffany says:

    There is always a place in my heart for Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. Every time I see that it is on, I stop what I am doing to watch it.

    I just really like that movie.

  2. Hannah says:

    I think in the late 90s, early 00’s especially there were an influx of those roles by “celebrated filmmakers”.

    And when you’re petite, young looking, and considered to be an “elite” actress, those are the roles everyone in the industry will steer you towards. I can understand some annoyance in retrospect.

  3. Lizzie says:

    she was so good in annihilation too

    • Lulu says:

      A very underrated and frankly terrifying film. I loved the themes of how trauma changes us, such a good watch.

  4. Eliza says:

    In the last picture after looks like Queen Letizia of Spain.

  5. bettyrose says:

    Had a similar convo with someone just this weekend. I was saying that people don’t seem to think I’m younger (or much younger) than my actual age any more, after being mistaken for a teen/young adult well into my twenties/early thirties. Someone said “Well, the forties are really when women start noticing they don’t get as much attention.” and I was like “F that!” I loved when no one could guess my age, just because I liked feeling “mysterious,” but good riddance to the constant harassment. Much better to be noticed for when I do something worthy of note.

    IDK if I’ve ever understood the MPDG issue, though. I get that it’s just a female character that exists to impact the life of a male character and then fade into obscurity, but a lot of the examples of the MPDG were female characters who were also living their own truth. Did I completely see that through my own lens of wanting it to be that?

  6. Valiantly Varnished says:

    No one forces her to take those roles…what other roles were there to play?? People are under this misconception that there is a lot of CHOICE in Hollywood for young actresses. The truth is there isn’t. There are usually 4-5 good roles a YEAR that every actress within a certain age group is up for. And those roles are usually written by…men. It’s only recently that it’s SLOWLY begun to change. But it certainly wasn’t the case when Natalie was in her 20’s. Or when I was in mine and was acting. Natalie is a year younger than me and I was acting right around the time she became a name in the industry. Even in theater there aren’t a lot of great roles that don’t involve you being a man’s version of what a young woman is.

  7. Ally says:

    And let’s be honest, when she tried to organize her own movie, everyone dunked on her here.