It’s nice that Natalie Portman is back and doing a lot of interviews as part of the promo for Thor: Love and Thunder. Even though she’s always steadily worked, she was pretty quiet for a few years. I just saw the movie and enjoyed it. The direction and tone change for Thor 3 and 4 has made a world of difference and her character just vibes better, which is good after the behind-the-scenes drama. Anyway, in an interview with The Sunday Times, Natalie talked about her early sexualization in roles and reporting and how it influenced her later career choices.
Natalie Portman is looking back on the way she was sexualized as a young teenager after skyrocketing to fame in films like Léon: The Professional and Beautiful Girls.
“I think, in that time, it was very normal,” Portman tells the Sunday Times in a new interview “Some of it was the types of roles that were being written and some of it was the way journalists felt entitled to write about it.”
One article in particular sticks out for the Oscar winner, currently starring in Thor: Love and Thunder.
“I remember reading a review of myself when I was about 13 that mentioned my breast buds,” she says.
As a response to that treatment, Portman says she “put on all these defenses,” which included rejecting scripts that included sex scenes.
“It was like, I’m not going to be seen that way, because it felt like a vulnerable position and also a less respectable position, in some way, to be characterized like that,” she explains.
Whatever (male) journalist felt it necessary to mention 13-year-old Natalie’s “breast buds” in a movie review is an extremely disgusting person. To mention breasts at all is already skeevy, but when you have to add “buds” because you’re talking about a literal child is when you should call it a day and go seek help. Stop sexualizing children. I see what Natalie is saying. There has seemed to be a persistent, creepy, fascination with her, from the people who make movies and the people who write about them. Like, at times the gaze seems different and more predatory than it does with other actresses — perhaps because these creeps are still viewing her through the lens of those roles from when she was young? In any case, it makes sense that Natalie would gravitate toward roles without sex scenes and the like, so she wouldn’t feel objectified and preyed upon. She doesn’t say it specifically, but I wonder if that’s what first led her to the Marvel Universe. And it was probably refreshing to bulk up and feel powerful for this role. (Also, I just remembered I saw her once in college when we attended the same show at Brooklyn Academy of Music.)
Photos credit: Avalon.red and via Instagram
Yeah it’s disgusting and awful. Sadly not much has changed… isn’t there still countdowns for celeb girls turning 18? I came across subreddit for Millie Bobby Brown, Billie Eilish ect before they turned 18. It never ends
And Natalie famously had very involved, protective parents. Imagine all the child actors who haven’t had that. Millie Bobbie Brown still looks very young. She’s always wearing a ton of make up in public appearances these days, but without it she could pass for 13 or 14. Not that it’s okay for 18 year olds who look older, but I’m especially grossed out where she’s concerned.
She seems like a pretty great person, full stop. Haven’t always been a fan of her acting, but her personality and politics and POV is usually on point. Sorry that happened to her—it’s so gross. She should be allowed to select any part she f*cking well pleases and not be made to feel embarrassed or ashamed about it. This industry needs so many more reckonings I can’t even count.
It was pretty disgusting when she came onto the scene in the movie The Professional. Grown men were just so obviously lusting after this beautiful little girl. She was just a kid enjoying the fact that she was in this big movie and they refused to control themselves. They do this to all young actors in some form or fashion and it’s not called out enough for being disgusting.
And reporters weren’t the worst of her problems. I’ve always wondered what kind of parents/entourage/support system of a 12 year-old girl thought it was a good idea to make her debut with Luc Besson. A man , in his 30’s, who entered in a relationship with a 15 year-old, married her at 16, had a child with her months before her 17th birthday. Yeah, totally the guy you’d chose to direct a pre teen with the utmost consideration for her image.
But at least she got her big breakthrough.
Such a great point, manta! I wonder if Portman has come to terms with the fact a significant portion of her career has been playing little girls who are the objects of a grown man’s desire. And her parents approved that.
(And she shows up to premieres dressed in little girl dresses and a version of a teenaged Cher from Clueless outfit)
This point is where it is at. You cannot separate the art from the artist when the art is his actual crime put on display to support the idea that this is “normal” (it is not normal). What this did to NP’s psyche, or could have, is something her parents should shudder about while they spend her money.
No 31 y/o man “enters” into a relationship with a 15 y/o girl…or at least she doesn’t “enter” it- she was raped, impregnated & married off as a child.
I recently rewatched The Professional. And realizing she is wearing white loose tank tops with her body on display. While it’s gross of the reporter to point it out. Lets also note, these Directors know what they are doing. While it seems innocent on the surface. I realize they are sexualizing her to a certain audiene to sell tickets. It’s also why they put Shirley Temple in so many baby doll dresses. It was for the pedos to enjoy.
…and here I thought it was the fashion at the time. I had no idea it was for the pedo population/staff.
Agreed with all this except Natalie Portman’s debut as fodder for pedophiles didn’t seem innocent at all & she was pretty much served up. The director of The Professional is a pedophile who impregnated a child, so…
That line from Beautiful Girls where the grown man cries that he’s Pooh Bear & she’ll outgrow him: Yes, sickos, girls grown up to be women….hopefully in my world.
Appreciate this write up because I remember this era all too well 🙁
It’s horrific that she was the object of adult lust in 2 of her first movie roles. Beautiful Girls tried to make it seem innocent, but it was so inappropriate.
As a kid that was around her same age, at the time I was so envious of her acting opportunities, but I was also confused/creeped out by her roles. As I got older and looked back, I see that it was society that was wrong.
Just reading the words “breast buds” made me hurl in my mouth a little.. what is wrong with people.
Stomach turning. Nothing ever really changes they just learn to hide better.
Everything said above is correct.
Love the red suit & covet the pj’s.
How on earth did her family allow this to happen? It is beyond gross, and I’m sorry she was subjected to such perverse treatment.
I remember watching her in Beautiful Girls when I was also a teen (girl) and liked that movie and her and somehow related to the main older dude character. American Beauty was also one of my fave movies when it came out, as a teen, I guess I was curious about older men and my own sense of sexuality… NOW when I think back though, I don’t think I want to watch those movies ever again (even if the Kevin spacey grossness wasn’t a thing) I can’t imagine how it must have been for her at the time, having to appear professional and take all that grossness in stride. Love her and was so happy to see her back in Thor. Taika had to put a lot of bandaids on what they did in the earlier movies to make their relationship workable and I’m glad he put the effort in. The movie was really cool, I didn’t fall asleep in the 3rd act like I normally do when the boring CGI fights start.
Seeing that photo of her in a Cher like outfit from CLueless makes me want an adult follow up starring her and Tessa Thompson in the Dionne role. Make it a rocking female duo comedy: Clueless 2 Got a Clue lol