Natalie Portman on why she buys vintage & why she’s investing in women’s soccer

Natalie Portman covers this week’s issue of the Hollywood Reporter, as some kind of Cannes Film Festival preview. Portman is going to Cannes this year to promote Todd Haynes’ May December with Julianne Moore. I love Haynes’ films, so I’m excited for this. Portman talks about that film plus a lot of other stuff, like her new production company, her feelings on Luc Besson, and her investment in Angel City (a women’s soccer team in LA). Some highlights:

What attracted her to ‘May December’: “It’s definitely interesting to see crimes that are generally committed by men committed by a woman. It’s the exceptions to the rule that are most interesting, and what would make a woman do that? Whereas, with a man, everyone’s kind of like, “Oh, all men are like that.” It definitely has more of a specific psychology that’s more interesting.

Co-founding Angel City: “It’s a very weird story, but my son is really passionate about football, and when he was 7, it was the Women’s World Cup and he was as passionate as he had been about the previous Men’s World Cup. He was as passionate about the women as the men, and I was just watching him and I was like, “This is a revolution if young kids grow up idolizing female athletes the way they idolize male athletes.” And it’s so evident we have the stars. These women are absolute stars, and so why, when they play on their home teams in the league, does no one even know it exists? You have the most popular sport in the world, the best players in the world in the U.S., and it’s completely invisible.

The parallels between women in pro sports & women in entertainment: “People will use the evidence of the box office or game attendance or viewership and be like, “This is why you get paid less.” You’re like, “Well, did you advertise the same? Did you invest in it the same? Did you promote it the same? Did you give it the same slots?” For soccer, “Did you broadcast it in the same time slot?” With movies, “Did you put it out in the same number of theaters? Did you spend the same on advertising?” When you do invest the same, then you can actually be like, “OK, put it next to each other.” You actually have to give it the same chance. So it feels like a very, very familiar world.

Seeing the film industry evolve to make room for family priorities: “That’s something that I see a lot in France, and I think it’s why the entire new generation of French filmmakers is female, because it’s really possible. Not that every woman has kids or wants kids, but it makes it possible to be a director and to have children and be a good parent. You have a strong social system that has child care, and the workday hours are normal. We shot Jackie in France, and I did a French film called Planetarium as well. I was home every day for dinner at 6 p.m. — just completely life-changing. When you make a film or a series in the U.S., you’re just gone. You’re just gone, and it’s really hard on all parents.

How she talks about climate change with her family: “We talk about it a lot in our household in terms of how we live, what we choose to do. My veganism is in large part an environmental choice, along with animal welfare. I haven’t bought or used any leather or fur or animal products in 20 years. I use a car-share app that is all electric cars. I buy vintage clothes, and only if absolutely necessary, and of course repair damaged items, most recently a handbag, rather than buy a new one. When we travel, we try to organize our trips to places we can go by train; or if we have to fly, to stay long enough to justify the travel. The library plays a big role in the family consciousness as well — a place where we can get joy and greater selection by sharing and not owning. It’s a process, and clearly imperfect, but the consciousness is there.

How Time’s Up disbanded: “It was really, really heartbreaking that Time’s Up dissipated the way it did. I think a lot of people made mistakes, but mistakes are deadly for activism. You have to be so perfect in order to demand the change that you want to see, and I don’t know, maybe acknowledging all our imperfection as humans and saying that people can do something wrong and also be good at something else, having a little bit more shades of gray might actually let us get to more progress.

The allegations of sexual abuse by Luc Besson: “It’s devastating. Yeah, of course [I was surprised]. I had never … Yeah. I really didn’t know. I was a kid working. I was a kid. But I don’t want to say anything that would invalidate anyone’s experience.”

Her feelings on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “It’s terrible. I’ve never supported him, and it’s definitely not what my grandparents hoped for.

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

“Well, did you advertise the same? Did you invest in it the same? Did you promote it the same? Did you give it the same slots?” This, exactly this. I love the way she’s pushing back on the inequality that exists at every level of women’s professional sports. I also like what she says about environmentalism, about buying vintage and repairing what you have and traveling by train. More people should do all of that, especially in Hollywood.

Cover & IG courtesy of the Hollywood Reporter.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

16 Responses to “Natalie Portman on why she buys vintage & why she’s investing in women’s soccer”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Moderatelywealthy says:

    She is a good egg, very consistent in her activism.

  2. Anita says:

    She is for me one of the most beautiful women. I did not like, and still do not like, the way Natalie Portman belittled the role of her body double, ballet dancer and artist Sarah Lane, in her Oscar performance in Black Swan.
    But she stands by her convictions and I really like her responses here. Good for her and good luck to her and her family.

  3. Shawna says:

    Great interview!

    • Christine says:

      It really is. I clicked on it because I was bored, and my heart is now on fire. Wow, keep going, Natalie, we need your voice and activism.

  4. Josephine says:

    I like how she makes room — room to be doing more on the environmental stuff, room to acknowledge that her experience might have been different from the experience of other women working with Luc Besson. And she’s always been an advocate and very thoughtful about it, not preachy or holier-than-thou.

    • Lux says:

      Actually, I was just going to say that she sounds so much better here than she did in past years, which was definitely a bit “holier than thou.” I remember when people found her, as a director (“Paris, Je t’aime”/“Jane’s got a Gun” era), to be slightly insufferable when she over-intellectualized everything. And I’ll never forget that cringy email thread she released with the writer of “Everything is Illuminated.”

      But she comes across as serious and balanced here, and everything she says makes sense. I’ve always loved watching Natalie as an actress, mostly in dramas and psychological thrillers (skipped her comedy/Marvel roles), so I am happy that she continues to get work and use her voice for important causes.

  5. Flowerlake says:

    It’s interesting how the USA is so strong in women’s football, but not in men’s football.

    This while women’s football is just coming up in many countries with a long history of being successful in men’s football.

    I have one dumbass relative who throws fits when women’s football gets attention during those few weeks every four years of the world cup. This while men’s football is shown ALL THE FREAKING TIME.

    Goes to show how spoiled men are that they can’t even handle women getting 1-2% of total football broadcast time. The amount of times spoiled men whine when women just get a little attention tells you a lot.

    Luckily my other relatives think he’s an idiot about this too. He’s older than me, but I think of him as a spoiled brat sometimes.

    Funnily enough, some of my female relatives/friends who never cared about football watch the women’s football. So it definitely opens up a new audience.

    • Josephine says:

      It’s because boys are directed into many other sports when they are young — American football, baseball, and basketball, all of which have more established leagues and offer money for college. even lacrosse and hockey are more organized with more opportunities.

      I think one of the reasons that soccer has done well among women is because girls have way fewer opportunities and know that very, very few of them will get money for college sports anyway.

      • Demona says:

        My now 10yo son got into soccer/football when USA women won (2019?) and still prefers the womens World Cup bc USA mens team is “trash” but our women are #1! Meanwhile his uncle doesn’t understand why he’d watch womens soccer or basketball, or “A League of their Own” for the 10th time

  6. Lightpurple says:

    “Not that every woman has kids or wants kids, but it makes it possible to be a director and to have children and be a good parent.”

    Thank you, Natalie, for acknowledging that women have different needs, wants, & abilities and we need to recognize that and build each other up and support one another instead of insisting that there is only one way for women to be.

    She’s 100% right about the investment in women’s sports making a difference. These tremendous women athletes we see now are a result of Title IX, which brought girls up to those levels on the grade school and college levels; we need to push for that investment on the professional level. In addition to all the other women’s rights, the far right has been going after Title IX for years. Betsy DeVos tried hard to weaken it. And I’m convinced the kerfluffle the GOP is making over trans athletes is an attempt to back into dismantling Title IX, in addition to giving some real perverts grounds to “inspect” girls’ bodies. The women in the various sports can reach a resolution on that issue with the various governing bodies. They don’t need guys like Ben Shapiro, who uses the WNBA and women’s soccer as punchlines to bad jokes, making all the rules.

    Keep being an activist, Natalie. You have some good ideas as you express them well

  7. Ameerah M says:

    My respect for her grew exponentially when she spoke out against the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians. That took a lot of guts but was the right thing to do. And it shows that she has integrity.

  8. Megs283 says:

    Three cheers for the library!

  9. MK says:

    SOME MISTAKES?!?!! Time’s Up protected Andrew Cuomo. The legal fund silenced friends of mine. She can f*ck all the way off with that nonsense.

  10. Grant says:

    Love her. She’s divine in everything she touches, whether it’s a dense, Oscar-baity feature to a weird sci-fi romp or a Marvel movie. And she is so spot-on when talking about the lack of investment marketers, promoters, and business folks make in women’s sports. Shameful

  11. j.ferber says:

    Wow, she looks amazing on the cover. I’ve never seen her look better.

  12. JustMe says:

    I would not have known who that was without seeing the name…she looks different